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Neverwinter Nights 2 (NWN2) is a computer role-playing game set in the fantasy world of the Forgotten Realms, one of the popular campaign settings of Dungeons and Dragons. It takes the player from the tiniest of villages into a sweeping tale of danger and war, chronicling their rise from a peasant to a full-fledged hero of the Realms, defending it against one of the greatest threats of the age. Build a character that suits your style of play - good or evil, chaotic or lawful, with any number of skills, feats and professions available at the click of a button. Whether lobbing fireballs and researching forgotten spells as a powerful Wizard, hacking a trail through legions of orcs as a Fighter armed only with a battle axe and your courage, or taking on the role of a Rogue that can slip into the shadows at a moment's notice, the choice is yours. Choose your alignment, your allies, your companions, and how you want your character to develop... design the character you want, role-play the way you want, and carry the battle to the enemy.
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However, all is not well. I have found SOZ to be less stable than the original game or the 1st expansion, averaging a crash or two a night. Additionally, the less linear plot is less engaging than past games, and doesn't really make the player feel very important to the world. Also, the trade sub-game feels tacked on, with little feedback on how the player is doing, and somewhat sparse rewards.
If you loved the first two adventures, you'll probably like this one, but it's not quite up to par.
My personal rating is 5 star for an NWN2 expansion. Building four party members your way is great. The overland map is fun in single player but bores the LAN party non-leader characters to death. Good time to grab a snack. For the first time you can walk into a total world of hurt unexpectedly your party is not even close to capable of handling. Give it a shot but be ready to bolt before everyone dies. Live to fight another day against nemesis opponents who have bested you once and all you need is an edge to face them again. You will like the new death and dying system on this expansion.
For the first time, Atari has utilized the conversation capabilities of the game for multiplayer. Overall this is the best LAN game RPG. If you just want to game with a few friends and not the world of AH's with level 80 mega characters, this is the best.
If you gave up on NWN2 before this expansion, I recommend you at least hit this in single player. SoZ is the realization of a vision for RPG on the PC.
In current terminology, this game is less about a scripted overall story and more about "emergent gameplay" like the GTA series. For that reason, the characters are not as engaging as previous NW2 games. Given that you can create multiple characters in your party, not just the main character that also felt more like a real D&D game.
The cap is 30 levels. My recommendation is to play NW2 first, then storms of Zehir and then Mask of the Betrayer. Not only is this advised based on difficulty level, but also because Mask of the Betrayer doesn't let you keep your weapons, money or stuff in your inventory. Granted then it's not playing in the time line appropriately, but you get the best bang for the buck on your character.
The best race so far is the Yuan-ti, because of magic resistance. So you might be even better off to create/export a character in Zehir and then play in the above suggested order.
The trade part is fun and one of the elements is the characters are trying to revive the sword coast economy. I did like the part about having to find resources to upgrade. It seemed like the have resources sent to your keep didn't work.
It's nice change of pace from the other games, more another aspect of D&D. One of my favorite aspects was the overland map that made wandering monsters a real important part of the game, not like a prescripted thing.