Neverwinter Nights: Hordes of the Underdark
Bioware has been on fire over the last couple of years. Neverwinter Nights topped the charts al I over the world, followed by a tasty expansion pack, another blockbuster with Star Wars: Knights Of The Old Republic and now a second expansion for NWN: Hordes Of The Underdark. Just don't get me started on the gorgeous-looking Jade Empire, because I'm still sulking and shuffling my feet about the fact that it's only coming out on the Xbox.
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Nevertheless, Hordes Of The Underdark will be enough to placate many of Bioware's PC fans. It contains a 20-hour-plus single-player campaign, six new prestige classes (dragon disciple, dwarven defender, pale master, champion of Torm, weapon master and shifter), along with the ability to customise characters and weapons.
The main difference between this expansion and NWN: Shadows Of Undrentide is that you start as a level 15 character and can progress to the new level cap of 40, gaining a new 'Epic' status along the way. This means you get access to many of the most impressive-looking spells and skills right at the start, so you need a hefty machine to render the impressive fireworks displays that you'll be bombarded with as you cast your devastating incantations.
Getting all the good stuff straight away certainly makes the game feel more exciting, especially as you can adequately challenge the more interesting enemies and even have a hope in hell of taking down a dragon. The campaign itself has a bit more pace than the last expansion too - boasting some attractive cut scenes - and involves you travelling deep into Undermountain to battle some pesky Drow elves who are causing trouble up top.
This time you can take two henchmen with you, which gives the whole affair more of a party feel - but it's still not a patch on the party dynamics in Baldur's Gate II. Although they're rather static in their animation and still have a tendency to get stuck behind things, the henchmen here are more chatty and keep on giving you their opinions on what's happening, like it or not.
The option of having two henchmen just about makes up for the single-player campaign not being supported in multiplayer, likely to be a disappointment for some.
However, the focus on the single-player experience, along with Bioware's top-notch level design has created an expansion pack with great detail and atmosphere that's arguably even more immediately immersive than the original game.
Download Neverwinter Nights: Hordes of the Underdark
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP