Reviewed: October 28, 2007
Released: October 9, 2007
Neverwinter Nights 2: Mask of the Betrayer continues the story of Neverwinter Nights 2 and your fight as a dungeon exploring “enter your character class”. Atari and Obsidian brings the next expansion to the ever popular series of role-playing games for fans to get even more of good old Dungeons and Dragons.
Mask of the Betrayer continues right at the end of the Neverwinter Nights 2 story but you do not need to have played the previous games to jump right into this one. Trust me I have not played any others prior to this and found the game down right fun and highly addictive.
Being a fan of the old Dungeons and Dragons played on paper and with real dice I found jumping into the universe of the computer role playing game quite easy and quite satisfying. The game takes all the fun and adds a bit of suspense and unknown while getting rid of all the boring parts such as dice rolling and notes for everything you need to write down.
Start by creating your character or just use a previous one from the core game Neverwinter Nights 2, you don’t even have to roll dice. The game let’s you change the strengths and such to your liking and according to what type of character class you will play. They also have a very convenient suggestion helper for the initial set up of your character as well as when you level up so you can just quickly jump through and use the computers suggestions for beginners.
Once your character is set and ready to go they have thought of everything here for starting your adventure, you join another character who you control either fully or let the AI help you and she even has equipment to start you off right. The storyline is pretty good and you will get continued updates and not miss a thing with the journal.
Starting your adventures after the Neverwinter Nights 2 game you find yourself on the cold stone floor of some cavern. A friend, Safiya, is there to help you but you need to be concerned about the way you treat her in dialogue. Just like in real life your conversations and how you talk affects the outcome of any conversation and the game includes dialogue styles for each conversation. You can follow the diplomatic route and be nice or gruff and enter fights quickly.
With your fellow adventurers when dealing with them if you are nice and helpful they will be more receptive and helpful back to you. In Mask of the Betrayer they have added not only a lot of this type of gameplay but plenty of others to keep you busy. You follow your newfound friend through several adventures and finally to a turning point I the game.
After defeating Okku, a spirit bear, you find out that you have become a spirit eater and must consume souls on a regular basis in order to quell the hunger that has infested you. During the rest of the game you need to eat souls before the bar goes low or you will not survive.
Throughout the rest of Mask of the Betrayer you find out who brought you so far from Neverwinter and why. You gain more party members who you can either control directly or let the AI control why you control one of the other players. It is very common to be able to jump from one character to another while in fights to best use certain abilities and spells that the AI does not do as well.
The adventuring in Mask of the Betrayer is great and you have not only plenty of loot to find and use but the well placed markets to trade, buy and sell the things you need. There are also plenty of very tough foes to defeat as well as some good interaction with others during your time here.
Mask of the Betrayer comes complete with plenty to do and many of the decisions you make in the dialogue and what you do affect the rest of the game. You can outright kill Okku or use dialogue to gain his trust and have him join your party as a member but if he does another character will not join your party later on. Decisions throughout your adventuring always affect what comes later and this adds so much replay to the game.
Textures and scenery are pretty much the same in Mask of the Betrayer as Neverwinter Nights 2 with plenty of good looking outdoor views but a lot of your adventuring will take place on another plane. This plane that you reach through portals is a black and white world that mimics the real world you will be traveling through and leaves this portion of the game pretty drab but interesting at the same time.
The graphics at max make the game almost unplayable on my computer which is well over the recommended requirements with an AMD Athlon 64 X2 6000+ processor, 4 GB RAM and two ATI X1950 Pro video cards in Crossfire. I can play it at maximum graphics settings but the game slows down a lot and is just not fun, battles are frustrating as you wait for things to happen.
Overall the graphics are very good with some really good effects, bloom and textures but there is not anything that stands out as fantastic. The higher level spells look much better than the lower ones and some of the monsters look much better than others which seems a bit odd. There are also some issues with the camera as it sometimes moves on its own while your traveling but it is something that you learn to deal with.
The sound is very good with a nice theme music playing and changing with the current events of the game. There are some very good voice acting talents that create and make the fantasy world so much better. They have done an excellent job with the dialogue and your conversations are not something you want to skip through as so often happens in other games.
The sound effects for spells and other things also sound very good and are quite realistic. One nice touch that continues from the core game is the dialogue available through player and party interaction. They have given each character a nice background and you talk with each one at any time to discuss their background and what brought you all together. You can also gain loyalty to each party member by this and create a better and stronger party for your adventures.
There is no reason not to continue to come back or to take a long time adventuring in Mask of the Betrayer. By creating the different characters and trying out the various classes you can see how well you can build your party to try your hand at a different party makeup. The various portions of the game with weapons and spells creation also add a ton of additional fun and playability to the already full plate.
The game also includes a toolset for editing and creating your own adventures as well as others doing the same thing. Very soon you will be able to download and play the created dungeons and other fun things you can alter in the game.
Neverwinter Nights 2: Mask of the Betrayer is a nice overall well built game expansion. They have added plenty of content to the original game and using the entirely new story created a unique and fun adventure. The game plays well but you should have at least a decent computer to play the game on medium settings.