Hey dungeon masters, Skylent Shore here from FreeMMOStation to do a review on Cryptic Studio’s new game, Neverwinter. A game filled with fate and chaos, heroes and villains, swords and magic, and most certainly dungeons and dragons!
Jumping into the game you will see that Neverwinter has an interesting intro cinematic which players will use as a launching point for their adventure. It also sets the mood that can be explained as somewhere between comical and action horror. I would claim that the game is a comic action, high fantasy massively multiplayer title though, it shares much in common with games like Diablo or Dungeon Siege.
The character creator at first glance has a very standard design and I would call it uninspired. However, please know that the character creator is actually somewhat deep with a plethora of sliders. Not many whole customization options as far as features go. Some of the hairstyles and presets are less than imaginative but with all the different races, I feel players will be able to easily make an original looking avatar.
There are six classes which respectively play a unique role in anyone’s party, be it PvP or PvE. Other than appearance and class, players can roll on attribute points before launching themselves into the world. You can also select which additional points you want to slot into attributes based on class. It is intuitive and easy to see which attribute points will be most important to the player and which ones will be near worthless. Races also have special abilities and traits between them though the impact of these decisions probably will not be wholly understood by new players. Names can also have spaces and names can be duplicated on servers, which is really exciting to me since it will reduce the chances of players using immersion breaking misspellings or awkward alternate names like Excaliburrrrrrrr.
The start of the game is really very similar to Dungeons & Dragons Online with a shipwreck and then the player must go and find equipment again. It is here where we begin our climb from rags to riches. Classes, while each having unique gameplay styles and abilities, also have special skills which can help open secret areas in dungeons or unlock special chests. something which is another feature similar to Dungeons and Dragons Online. You can also buy kits instead so that allows solo players to also experience these areas.
Combat is a mix between standstill and full movement like World of Warcraft. I enjoy this style of combat because it feels less floaty and more impactful than WoW but also has the drawback of stickiness with character movement. Admittedly, it is a good spectacle to watch and does not look bad at all. Players have just a few spells to use at any given time but they can choose from a pool before battles via their talents or normal class abilities. The game also utilizes consumables and respawn points, drawing parallels to other dungeon crawlers.
I believe that the massively multiplayer part of this game is done well with a hub city to draw players together and tons of quests and dungeons to run in. I really enjoy the fact that emotes are in the game, seriously, it is a make or break for certain social interactions! Also a great social additive to the game is the fact that players can create custom quests for others to run! Probably one of the biggest features this game offers is the ability to use the Foundry, which lets players make custom quest experiences.
The crafting in the game seems really unique. As an example, they have a “Leadership” profession which allows players to hire mercs and create supply chests!
In fact, the entire game seems like to have a slight twist on familiar mechanics as to breathe life into the genre. This MMO dungeon crawler is different enough to intrigue me and familiar enough to hopefully have a good community rise up as the game grows.
For my personal opinion, I like the semi-standstill combat which at first I was really turned off but when I started to watch PvP videos, I realized how good it feels to remove floatiness while still keeping movement a part of the combat. While the quest voice acting and cinematics aren’t top notch, for the budget of the game, I prefer this over miles of quest text. Also, I enjoy how it is spaced out through adventures which also happens with the voice, as you exit the voice will still play so you can move forward to your destination while still being able to enjoy and learn about the quest. The guide light which flickers on the ground is really friendly to new players but as you move through the game the light will fade to allow the player to have to figure out where to go next sometimes, which makes the quests easy to get into and then fun to finally resolve.
On the note of resolution, boss fights can be scary. While playing solo, it is very fun to strategize how to pull a room and what actions to take in order to succeed and this goes especially for boss encounters. I will admit that so far the AI seemed off and especially the aggro system appeared very unreliable at the moment and plain broken in the starter area. The game also did not run as good as I would have liked for it with this art style and graphical appeal but both of these problems can be solved as the game gets more polish.
The controls for the game are simple though a lack of camera control in respect to depth really annoys me as a PC gamer, I feel this game is perfectly set up to move on to consoles. In fact, PS4 seems to be getting a lot of free to play games and I feel the control scheme and overall game play style of Neverwinter would work really well with a console.
Either way, as a F2P title, the game can only get better from here on out with new updates and awesome cosmetics for players to adorn. It is my hope that dungeon challenges and PvP will be the focus as to foster a sense of community and keep this game alive. As long as people come to Neverwinter seeking new challenges, then I will be there too to greet both ally and adversary alike.
2 Stars out of 3 for original gameplay in an old world.