Saving throw VS expansion. Review

Duke Ferris
Neverwinter Nights: Shadows of Undrentide Info


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Release Date

  • 01/01/1970
  • Out Now


  • PC


Saving throw VS expansion.

When Neverwinter Nights first appeared on

the scene a year ago, we were all wildly impressed, but we didn’t know the half

of it. Every wannabe wizard and warrior picked up their virtual staves and longswords

and solved the mystery of Neverwinter’s terrible plague.


when they were done, it turned out there was more. Much, much more. Bioware’s

Aurora toolset was included with the game, giving our inner dungeon masters

unprecedented power. Hundreds of free player-created modules have been made

available since then, and even better, scads of unique, online multiplayer worlds

have surfaced, ready for any adventurer.

Of course, these offerings are technically not endorsed by Bioware and thus

are of widely varying quality, which left me eager to find out what Bioware

could do when unleashed on their own toolset. The resulting expansion Shadows

of Undrentide
reminds me why I like these guys so much, but also repeats

the single-player focus of the original game with little acknowledgment of the

enormous growth since its release.

Shadows of Undrentide is unlike most other expansion packs because

it is not a continuation of the story and you cannot advance your original character

any further. It simply features a new single-player campaign, new spells, new

feats, new monsters, new terrain and some new specialized character classes.

The campaign starts you off in the small town of Hilltop, where you and some

other students are apprenticed to the dwarf Master Drogan. Suddenly, the house

is attacked by kobolds. They backstab Drogan with a special poisoned knife and

steal four mysterious artifacts, which are more important than you could have

imagined. So off you go to recover the artifacts and explore the world.

You can take one of your fellow students with you as a “henchman,” just as in the first game but with a couple differences. First, each henchman has two customizable career paths. You can instruct Xanos, for example, to gain levels of either the sorcerer or barbarian class in any combination you please. You can also control your henchman’s inventory and equipment, which you could not do before.


have a few new options open to you as well. There are five new “prestige” classes:

Shadowdancer, Blackguard, Harper Scout, Arcane Archer and Assassin. They are

not available to you at first, requiring you to have certain abilities before

you can select them. Since the new campaign really should be played with a first

level character, it’s nice to have a few new paths that you could not take in

the original game.

The campaign itself is not quite as long as the first, but should still see

your new character through level 20, the highest you can achieve. Like before,

interesting moral choices abound and will have an effect on your alignment as

you progress. Shadows of Undrentide has a heavier emphasis on puzzle

solving than before; there are often many ways to get through a situation. All

in all, it’s a very well done campaign.

But as good as the campaign is, I wish they had also ironed out a few nagging

gameplay issues that remain in NWN. For example, whenever a sorcerer,

wizard or druid polymorphs into an animal, monster or other being, they usually

have to redo their spellbook when they transform back. It can get frustrating.

I’m sure the folks behind Undrentide consider that sort of thing to be

the responsibility of the patch team, but I wish they had worked together.

Shadows of Undrentide runs on the same Aurora engine as NWN,

so the graphics are pretty much identical. That’s a good thing, though, as the

game still holds up despite being a year old. Bioware doesn’t skimp on the delivery

at all, featuring solid voice-acting and effects, though the redundant battle

music gets a little grating.

Everything else that comes with Undrentide is just fodder for all the


Dungeon Masters
out there, and that is probably the best reason to get the

game. Three new environmental tilesets are here: snow, desert and ancient tomb.

That and about 17 new monsters, a bunch of new items, item models and other

stuff guarantee that the nerdy D&D community will be making lots of stuff for

you to play with and more servers for you to play on that will require you to

have the expansion.

But in the long run, I would have loved to see even more tools and monsters

rather than just the ones they made for the single-player campaign. The true

life of this franchise lies in its fantastic multiplayer potential – this expansion

should have addressed that in greater, more specific detail. Give a man a fish,

even a really nice delicious fish, and he eats for a day. But give a bunch of

geeks a huge set of D&D tools, and they’ll stay up all night wired on Mountain

Dew to create an infinite number of worlds.


Good campaign
Clever puzzles
New classes
More stuff
Not enough new stuff for multiplayer community
No real bug fixes