Neverwinter Nights: Enhanced Edition is the latest re-release of BioWare’s earlier Dungeons and Dragons based PC-RPGs from Beamdog and Skybound publishing now available on the Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, and Playstation 4.
Unlike the “Infinity Engine” that was used to develop Baldur’s Gate, Planescape: Torment, and the like, Neverwinter Nights was the first game to use BioWare’s “Aurora Engine” which made the jump from 2-D sprites to 3-D polygons and would later power such critically acclaimed games such as Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic and The Witcher. The original release was also known for having online multiplayer and including the Aurora toolset so people could create their own adventures and run through them with their friends.
I recently got to play the Playstation 4 release of Neverwinter Nights: Enhanced Edition, and I have to say that while it is great to be able to play such an influential classic RPG on the PS4, the actual release seemed a bit underwhelming. Of all the recent Enhanced Edition games put out by Beamdog, Neverwinter Nights is the one that lost the most in the transition to consoles from PC by far. I found the menu navigation to be a bit clunky during character generation, and once you actually get into the game the menus continue to be a chore as you have to click through 5 different prompts to save your game progress.
The graphics also help show why this is called an “Enhanced Edition” rather than a full remaster. Neverwinter Nights was release back in 2002, and the characters and models are quite indicative of that. It felt a bit jarring to be playing a new(ish) game on the PS4 with PS2-caliber graphics. Text also appeared blurry at times on my TV so that didn’t help the experience either.
Like the other Beamdog Enhanced Editions, Neverwinter Nights does include a wealth of content. It includes the original Neverwinter Nights campaign, the Shadows of Udrentide and Hordes of the Underdark expansions, and 10 “premium modules”, so seeing everything that Neverwinter Nights: Enhanced Edition includes can keep someone occupied for a long time. Unfortunately, this release notably excludes the Aurora Toolset included in the PC releases that allows for user-generated content and adventures, so console players will have to settle for a truly enormous amount of adventuring rather than the infinite possibilities on PC.
I really wanted to like this as much as the other Dungeons and Dragons based Enhanced Editions, but I feel like this one does not hold up as well compared to Baldur’s Gate and Planescape: Torment. While I found the pixel graphics of those releases a bit charming and nostalgic, since Neverwinter Nights hails from the early days of 3-D polygons, it looks a bit blocky and the draw distance in outdoor areas leaves much to be desired. I feel like Neverwinter Nights would be much better served by a full-on remaster; the Enhanced Edition did not quite feel enhanced enough for me.
Neverwinter Nights: Enhanced Edition is available now for PC, Xbox One, PS4, and Switch. This review is based on a PS4 copy provided for that purpose. Purchases are available here.