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Yet another CRPG genre editorial at GameSpot
Editorial - posted by Saint_Proverbius on Tue 2 August 2005, 07:34:07Tags: Neverwinter Nights
Yup, there's another editorial about how the CRPG genre is kind of going piffle. Here's a little bit on one of my favorite subjects:
I'm not going to claim that Neverwinter Nights is unpopular or anything--with the burgeoning modding community that surrounds it and its strong performance at retail, it would be silly to do so. As for me, however, I never found NWN to be the second coming that many claimed it would be, especially since BioWare was attempting to follow up on a string of truly stellar Dungeons & Dragons RPGs that it and Black Isle had created, such as Baldur's Gate II, Planescape: Torment, and Icewind Dale II. It had a pretty stunning legacy of gaming goodness behind it, and in the end, the shadows of that legacy were too long for Neverwinter Nights to escape. It committed some nasty sins in the pursuit of easy modification (replacing the insane detail of the 2D backgrounds of the earlier games with 3D models and somewhat generic tilesets) and online multiplayer (which apparently forced the developers to constrict the single-player game so that you could control only a single character at a time). While Neverwinter Nights is obviously a wonderful platform for third-party mods, if you're into that sort of thing, speaking as someone who primarily looks to RPGs as single-player experiences, NWN was a short, disappointing game that always felt more bland and sterile than its predecessors.
I wonder if he would have said this shortly after Neverwinter Nights came out. I even wonder if GameSpot would have published it if he did. It's all good and well to point out the game was pretty lackluster years after it's released, but I'd say one problem with the genre is bigger sites tend to over-hype mediocre games because of who the developers are, slap CRPG OF THE YEAR awards all over them, and then years later confess they weren't really that good in the areas that actually matter to many people.