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Romancing Neverwinter Nights 2

November 16, 2008

I tried taking up Kill Ten Rats’ challenge, but I still don’t have anything worthwhile to post. My girlfriend El has been playing Neverwinter Nights 2, an old-ish PC RPG by Atari and I asked her to write something about it. It’s not older than 2003, but at least it’s a start, eh? – Shiro

Hi everyone. This is the person that has been referred to as “the girlfriend” in a previous entry and, as I’m sure you’ve figured out by now, I’m one of the contributors to this blog. Apparently being “the girlfriend” has its perks despite my non-male, non-fitness junkie status. I’m not as well-played nor up-to-date when it comes to the world of gaming as my boyfriend is, but I do love my video games. So when I mentioned that I don’t know any “new” games that people might find to be interesting, the boyfriend told me to just write about any old game that I love just to kick things off. So here we are with Neverwinter Nights 2.

I bought the installer around a year ago, but had to wait until I had enough money to replace my old PC that couldn’t play 3D games anymore before I could play it. I’ve been playing it the past few months; there’s a lot to do and experiment with in the game, and it takes up a lot of time. Given that there are so many aspects of the game that one can discuss, I’ll stick to a brief introduction to my character and a short discussion of some of the “relationships” that a player character forms in-game through the Influence system. Quite fitting for an introductory post by the girlfriend on her boyfriend’s blog, methinks.

Aenys being her usual arrogant self in her throne room.

Aenys being her usual arrogant self in her throne room.

So anyway, here’s my current character, a female human named Aenys Farlong. She’s a cross-class rogue-ranger, specializing in dual-wield. As much as I love using bow-wielding classes in any game that I play, I prefer to have Aenys lead the rest of the party into battle, and having a long-range specialist rushing into a throng of mace-wielding lizardmen with isn’t really a smart thing to do. Aenys is a Chaotic Evil character, so that basically means that she wreaks havoc and mayhem wherever she goes.

The interesting thing about NWN2 is how your relationships (measured by degrees of “Influence”) with party members are actually affected by what your character does. My first character, who was of the Neutral Good alignment and often performed good deeds, got a lot of praise from the “good” characters like Casavir the paladin and Elanee the druid. Aenys, on the other hand, is evil (and chaotic at that), so she gets along pretty well with Bishop the bad-ass ranger and Neeshka the tiefling rogue. Casavir actually confesses to having romantic feelings if the player character is female and if she has a high enough influence rating with him. I heard that Elanee does something similar when the player character is male (I’ve never played as a male character in NWN2, but will probably try it sometime). Bishop and Neeshka were intended to be alternate romantic interests for players, but that had to be cut due to time constraints. It’s kind of sad, considering that Bishop and Neeshka are ultimately more interesting than Casavir and Elanee. I don’t know, maybe I just don’t like goody-two-shoes who do nothing but spout crap about morals and duty and honor and whatnot. Thankfully there are still hints of their romantic feelings for the player character…at least in Bishop’s case. Not too sure about Neeshka, since, like I said, I’ve never played a male character in this game.

Apparently, a number of NWN2 fans liked the thought of having Bishop as a romantic interest so much that they made their own campaign/mod called Bishop’s Romance, which adds some text dialogue and “flirt” options for Bishop, and some voiced-over cutscenes too.

The entire “Influence” system in NWN2 became all the more interesting toward the end of the game, where party members whom your character has low Influence with will betray you in the last battle, while those who have high influence remain loyal and stick with you to the bitter end. Though the Influence system provided depth to the game and made the relationships with party members more meaningful, the lack of romance options and the relatively short conversations made me feel that something was lacking in the game.

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