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Mask of the Betrayer reviews
Review - posted by Vault Dweller on Mon 15 October 2007, 17:37:04Tags: Neverwinter Nights 2; Obsidian Entertainment
Let's start with the GameSpot review. GameSpot liked "deep role-playing experience and intriguing story with plenty of replay", but disliked "frustrating" spirit-eating mechanics. The score is 8/10:
Not every new feature in Mask of the Betrayer is a home run. The game's most controversial addition is undoubtedly the spirit hunger that consumes your character. This hunger acts like a drug addiction, and it can be completely frustrating at first because the mechanics are confusing.What's confusing about them? You must consume spirits to stay alive. You can embrace the addiction or you can fight it. It really doesn't get any more simple than that. God forbid that a game has a feature that makes you think for a second.
It's too bad that developer Obsidian doesn't let players opt out of this mechanic entirely.I agree. People play RPGs to kill monsters and level up to kill even more monsters. Anything that interferes with this totally next-generation feature should be optional, even if it's an important part of the main quest.
This hunger system is probably a boon to hardcore role-playing fans who enjoy making tough decisions, but those who enjoyed NWN2 as a fun romp are apt to be frustrated.Let's hope Obsidian learns its lesson and produces only dumbed down games in the future. FUN ROMP FTW!
Anyway, here is the GameSpy review. GameSpy's infamous Allen Rausch enjoyed the story, quest, and characters, but had some issues with combat and the spirit meter thingy. He generously gave MotB 3.5 out of 5.
On a purely mechanical level, the spirit meter ends up being more annoyance than fun. First, unintended loops in the mechanics make it much easier to control the meter by doing things that would be classified as "good." That puts evil characters at a tremendous disadvantage as they are forced to choose between playing their alignment and staying alive. Not only does that unfairly advantage one set of player choices, from a role-playing/story standpoint it's actually the reverse of what the mechanic was supposed to accomplish.I haven't finished the game, so I can't comment on that.
Mask of the Betrayer's campaign is at its best when presenting the player with non-combat options.Completely agree with that.
While they don't rise to the level of the quirky companions in Planescape: Torment, the Red Wizard, crusading angel, murdered soul, son of a hag with a Casanova complex and rainbow-colored bear with anger-management issues are three or four cuts above the standard fantasy campaign sidekicks. Some of the non-combat quests and set pieces are also standouts. There's a very clever mirror puzzle inside a Thayan wizard's academy, a game of "mastermind" played in a dream with an inveterate gambler and a truly brilliant series of dialogues in which the player looks for a loophole in a contract for a man's soul signed with a devil.The dialogues are great indeed and the amount of different stat/skill checks alone is enough to make you want to replay the game with different characters.