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Neverwinter Nights 2With the move to Intel Macs, Apple set the stage for increased gaming opportunities and went so far as to promise OS X users more titles to choose from since they are “working closely” with the premier development houses to ensure OS X is considered a first-run target operating system. While some gaming companies have chosen the Cider/Cedega Win32 API “wrapper” route, others turn to companies like Aspyr to help them port games directly to the Mac platform, which is what Atari has done with the release of Neverwinter Nights 2 for OS X (official Atari NWN2 site).

The Story So Far…

You start off the game as a simple peasant ready to take part in the harvest festival. This backdrop serves as an effective training tool to help new players become adjusted to the intricacies of the user interface and some of the subtleties of the Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 rules which the game is based on. Unlike the original Neverwinter Nights where your companions were all AI-driven, you also learn how to control individual members of your party.NWN2 Screenshot If the thought of keeping track of every movement of three additional characters is a bit daunting for you, then you may let the game’s excellent AI do its best to keep everyone alive in the heat of battle, though you may find that the spells and potions you’ve collected along the way are gone since your companions will use every item at their disposal if you let them.

After working with the townsfolk to save West Harbor you venture out, ultimately visiting Neverwinter itself. This is where the adventure kicks into high gear. Thieves & thugs lurk in every corner, wizards launch surprise attacks and the city guards cannot all be trusted. Deciding whom to trust is no small task, especially with the secrets that you carry with you…

The Forgotten Realms Never Looked So Beautiful

Having played D&D as a lad with good ol’ pencil & paper, eventually moving to text-based adventure games and then classics such as Baldur’s Gate and Icewind Dale, the original Neverwinter Nights was a bit of disappointment. Prior to that title, your imagination was given fodder to wander and fill in details that the games left out. NWN 1 seemed to deliberately get in your way, literally begging you to basque in the 3D world they created. Thankfully, it did set the stage for add-on adventures and this successor.

The graphics are just amazing in NWN 2, even with the tweaked-down settings on my MacBook Pro (Fall 2007 edition). NPC creatures and characters are animated and engaging, fields are flowing and buildings are rendered with great detail inside and out. Spell effects – one of the hallmarks of modern fantasy RPG’s – come alive on the screen, and the cut-scenes have even caused family members to come over and watch.

Party Rules

As previously mentioned, you are able to control the individual actions of your party members during combat (if so desired) and tune their characters as they achieve higher skill levels during the game. You can get a great feel for what it’s like being a spell-caster, healer, fighter or rogue (or more) this way and come up with some unique character configurations.

You can share items you loot with any of the NPC’s in your party provided they have the skills to use them. Be careful how you distribute thing and don’t be too surprised if your magic-aware thief makes a last-ditch effort to survive by using wide-area damage wand you gave her. It is a good idea, though, to keep your party well-stocked with healing, disease-curing and restorations potions/spells; you never know when they may be necessary.



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