Computer Games, Games

Neverwinter Nights 2

Well my first reaction is one of deja vu, particularly at the 100Mb of patches that were downloaded within a couple of days of the release. Then there is the click issue whereby instead of attacking someone you find out that you’ve actually told your character to run right past them. There is once again the panicked keyboard mashing as a door or chest flags red just as you’ve clicked on open. Doorways prove to be the most dangerous obstacles you can put in a dungeon and pathing still seems questionable.

The game is right at the edge of what my PC will comfortably run but the graphics (while better than NWN1) do not seem to be in the same league as something like Oblivion so I assume that the game engine is a lot more demanding. I have to say that settlements seem more populated and it is good to be able to have a big party again after the slightly claustrophobic experience of NWN1.

The key thing though is story and in the first chapter alone I have already had a big hiccup. The story starts off pretty well but there are a number of false starts. For example your companions are replaced between the tutorial section and the first chapter. The story trail also failed for me slightly as I was repeatedly defeated in the undead section which seemed to be the logical progression. Instead I had to gain another level through the atmosphere destroying repetition of an earlier sector and skip the undead in favour of attacking bandits who were more susceptible to rogue sneak attacking. It all felt like I was playing the mechanics of the game rather than the game itself.

There was a shockingly bland side trip level and some pretty transparent NPC saving which indicates some design issues but you know overall, I would rather have it than have nothing.

I’m now onto Chapter 2 and hopefully things will settle down, the party is established. The Neverwinter setting is more compact and the storylines seem a bit more focussed.

Computer Games, Games

Medieval Total War 2

So I got through the tutorials last night and today resumed control on the Kingdom of England after many months away or playing the Welsh in the Viking Invasion.

My first impressions were made up of two elements. Firstly there is the usually shoddy Creative Assembly QA. Trying to set the game’s resolution to my LCD screen’s resolution crashed the game. Not mind you before a pop-up appears warning me that a graphics problem has occurred. The second is that soldiers seem a lot faster than before. Total War Rome felt a lot faster than the original Medieval but this is faster again. I’m not sure if this is simply to do with the feeling of gameplay. There was a lot of marching and counter-marching before.

The AI also feels a lot smarter. In my first battle a group of spearmen pounced on a group of my knights that I had carelessly parked on the outskirts of a village in the assumption that the spearmen would not want to be drawn away from the main body of their troops. That said though pathing through gateways is still bloody awful and sieges still end with an ungodly scrum in the centre of town. That made more sense in Total War Rome but it is a bit of a joke during the Medieval period and seems to reduce sieges to some strange parody of Saturday night drinking and fighting in the town centre.

One definite improvement is the graphic feedback and individualisation of the warriors within the units. Battles are a lot more fun to watch and the introduction of injuries gives the whole thing a bit more drama.

Overall though this is feeling like a incremental improvement at a cost of a lot of machine resources.