Many console players have never even experienced the thrills of embarking on a journey to the scale of a true MMO. Neverwinter hopes to remedy that in being the first true console MMO game. When you first step into the world and begin to learn the various aspects of gameplay it really doesn't sink in how actually in-depth this game can get. It's really around that point when you hit the double digit levels where you see just how far skill trees, paragon points and basically every aspect aside from gameplay goes into widespread systems.
Though I'll dig into all this a bit more after I got over the basis of what its like to explore and play. Neverwinter is a very guided game which works well for console and even has a Fable trail going on which lets you know where to head. The system in place for guiding you is usually quite precise and works efficiently for everyone in the group, but it does at times let you down. The whole gameplay which I thought might open up at one point continues to be a very linear style of play akin to the comparison of Fable once more.
This works fine and really won't bother too many people since it's so guided, I just expected for an MMO that it might open up a bit in the higher areas. There's quite a bunch of areas presented to you which go by fairly quickly as complete the quests and level a couple times before moving on. Any person at anytime can hop into these and quest with friends though it really doesn't scale at all in terms of enemy level or XP which means you'll probably do quests multiple times to play with friends. I honestly wouldn't even suggest attempting to play this by yourself as it's just not as fun.
Every area was also divided into multiple sectors as you progressed usually cut-off with fires to mark the next area of play. Some of these areas also would feature some sort of dungeon adventure of crypt for teams to conquer. This is usually marked at a higher level than the current area and it's advised to play with five players if you can, which you'll most likely need.
After completing all the main story quests within one area you'll eventually be sent back to the Enclave in order to be guided further. This is basically just recycled all the way through and one particular issue I had with quests was that if progress well without levelling it'll actually lock progress until you level up. A major annoyance once reaching higher levels as grinding XP through kills is not my idea of a good time.
Aside from the whole main narrative level of play is a bunch of side quests for you to take part in. These include learning the main Enclave area and what exactly you can within it. There's the option to grab daily quests which give bonuses for essentially going back and replaying things like dungeons. There's also a PVP area where players attack one another in a battle scenario though this seems to be largely meant for more range characters.
The loot is also fairly good when being in the whole PVP combat so it may be something you'll want to check out, though honestly you can just continue your experience without it and not care at all. If you decide to learn of prayer it can be of great benefit as you can pray at a fire every hour for bonus items. These usually include the Astral diamonds which are premium currency in the game to buy things with. I'll elaborate more on the whole free to play and paying aspects in a different paragraph below if you have more questions on this.
Players also have the option to collect a companion of their choice from which I chose a dog sadly which is somewhat useless at a certain point as people companions offer better benefits. You level these companions over time to a specific level then you'll need to go through a more rigorous process like paying real money to move forward in that regard. At level twenty there's the option to get a mount such as a horse which will greatly speed up movement costing five in-game gold which really isn't a big deal.
Aside from that there's many markets to buy things from including seal markets which various area enemies grant and an auction area along with a bank. That's all the main area really offers, but I should dive into professions here as well. You get a wide variety of selections in terms of which profession or if you want all of the options to progress. These are in the background like tasks you have highered individuals do for you. It really depends on how much time you want to spend on being able to create items and such.
As you continue to level in the game skills are unlocked which grow forward on your tree. At certain points you'll be asked to make a decision on further progress and this will in terms branch your character out in even further directions. Most of these cannot be undone so make sure your choices are done wisely. There's also paragon points which grant certain bonuses during combat and you level this area as well when levelling up. That about covers the basis of the games, now it's time to discuss the whole character element of play.
From the start you custom create your character across many differing aspects to make them how you like. Neverwinter provides a variety of races, characters and backgrounds to choose from. Once progressing you can even edit your own back story or pick a new title after destroying so many of an enemy and finally have your own name from the start. I chose Sky Darkhert III, a sassy red headed elf female. It's just done to whatever you want to make it as you progress, like dungeons and dragons I suppose it's that whole be your own character thing. Inventory is handled well within the game as you get a starter bag and occasionally pick up further space where it gets filled with crap on your adventures.
At the start you grab everything you can, but eventually you just pass on anything not easy to quick stack/sell. Neverwinter has a neat bidding system for parties. It works with Need, Greed and Pass as everyone bids on items that are sent towards the group as whole. It can be a fun mini game for everyone to complain about or compete with, it's just a good side thing to think about. Finally you have your riches and profession items which are also in the pack, we'll go over the whole astral and free to play aspects right below.
Neverwinter is massive and free game for everyone on the console to download. So there's really to complaints in that regard as you can get a full experience without paying a penny. Though I buy something usually if I really enjoy a free to play game which is how their whole model works.
It's supposed to be micro transactions which are small amounts of pay in order to get something. Except with Neverwinter everything is charged on a macro scale where prices are just ridiculous and they charge way too much. It doesn't even lock you down or anything without paying, but I'd maybe like a tiger mount.
I'm just not paying a bunch of money for it, it shouldn't cost more than $5 and they're looking for around $20 for it. That's crazy, there's also these astral diamonds which you can get. Except they're very rare and I've mostly gotten them only through praying. I'm not going to see any real zen gains for a very damn long time. So in that regard, I'd say keep a free play in mind when going through this. Those costs are just milking it a tad too much.
Adapting a keyboard to console is very hard to do and they nailed it. It's a simple setup where each button is hot keyed to a part of the controller and then holding "LB" you can switch between the sets of options to a secondary area.
The first always at front section is mostly combat whereas the second section is more social and character options. Should also mention you can do all sorts of emotions which were hilarious while waiting to queue up for a dungeon. Other players in the game also seem much more friendly than other titles and generally team up together which is not something you see on consoles very often.
I'd have a complaint that I can't change the view of the game as I find it a bit too far back from my character as I like a closer perspective. Though what they have going works just solid. There were also frequent frame drops to zero as the game would chug at times, or really quite often which was rough when playing.
Neverwinter is a great free to play game not thinking about the overly costly transactions which you don't even need to play it all. I think they've finally found the right spot for more MMOs to head over to the console space and hopefully this proves that they can work.
It's quite linear at times though the depth of gameplay certainly makes up for that. I do wish it would balance differently for those that are different levels and want to play together, but it does work well. It's a free game and definitely a fantastic addition to anyone's console. Since launch it has continued to grow in many ways, with content that is always being added to it in order to expand the scope of the core experience.
Neverwinter Review on Xbox One