People always tend to exaggerate that the MMO genre is dead, and every year, we’ll see a game that tries to capitalize on this false notion by using an established franchise or lore and a couple catches. Examples include The Elder Scrolls Online, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Star Trek Online, and countless others. However, a common trait of these titles is the dip in popularity and slow uptick back, due to the slow ironing out of kinks. And while these games may never achieve the World of Warcraft popularity they saw back in 2010, it’s always nice to see success stories that come out of nowhere. And with the recent Dungeon & Dragons based Neverwinter recently reaching over 3 million downloads on Xbox One and adequate critical success, I played the newly released Playstation 4 version (with the added Onyx pack) to see it achieves the same strides elsewhere.
One of the more important factors of an MMO is it’s reward system. Do to many quests without proper payback, and you’ll feel burned out and not want to return. It’s pretty in depth, but with a paywall at hand, it can be a bit grindy. I would recommend spending the $20 for the Onyx pack if you’re interested in the game beyond a couple of hours.
The objectives on the other hand, are much less restricted. They contain a sense of passion, and the bosses are truly a treat to behold. (You just need the right amount of players) There are also some timed one-offs, which feel natural and necessary with the effort you’ll be pouring in to the more normal quests. Overall, it’s a nice mix.
Story & Design:
MMO’s fit more weight onto specific gameplay aspects that wouldn’t matter too much in another genre, and two further examples of this are story and controls (especially on console) Neverwinter does this well, but I feel that casual MMO players need more practice than most. This is because a lot of it feels like a standard deviation from the RPG’s we see today, but it’s nothing too egregious.
A common fate with MMO’s is that the story can feel stretched out, and Neverwinter fumbles with solving this issue. The gameplay simply feels like a pad on instead of a narrative necessity, and I think a good 80–90% will be skipping dialogue left and right. There are a couple moments here and there, but nothing truly conclusive.
Presentation/ Visuals & Audio:
MMO’s have never excelled in reaching a faster graphical quality than other games on the market, and in Neverwinter it definitely shows. Sloppy textures don’t quite match with the creative designs of characters, environments, and enemies, leaving a fleeting glimpse of what could have been a much better budget. Thankfully, the mass amounts of content saves this slight travesty.
Going deeper into the content, you’ll find that Neverwinter contains all of the DLC that was included with it’s original PC release. This adds a significant amount of content to an otherwise great game, and better yet none of it feels forced or cheap. Many times, I couldn’t tell the difference between what was post-release and what wasn’t.
Neverwinter is one of the better MMO’s to release this generation, and especially on console. It’s competence is far and wide, and the developers have clearly put in enough effort to give this game a long life-cycle. There will probably be a dip as usual, but with how great it is, I’m expecting much less so.
Neverwinter gets a 8/10 (Very Good)
We’d like to thank Perfect World for giving us a code!
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