Neverwinter Review

Neverwinter (2013)

Developed by: Cryptic Studios
Published by: Perfect World Entertainment

Do you ever get tired of the standard tab-click-spam mmo's? Are you into Dungeons and Dragons? Are you shaking your had "no" because you have friends staring over your shoulder? It's okay, I won't judge you. For everyone else, there's Neverwinter. This fantasy mmo is set in Faerûn, mythical land from the Forgotten Realms set of Dungeons and Dragons. Neverwinter combines classic nerd gaming and atmosphere with ham-fisted action combat in a manner that sets itself apart from other mmo's like a Shamrock Shake sets itself apart from a regular vanilla milkshake: different and a bit niche. Just like a milkshake, anyone can pick it up and take a sip (it's a free-to-play mmo), but not everyone will like it. As a matter of fact, it just might make some downright sick. Because people who don't like D&D to begin with are like those with a lactose intol -- you know what, let's just move this along...

When you begin in Neverwinter, you are able to choose from 9 different races ranging from the standard human to the demonic tiefling to the sinister drow. Each class has its own benefits, but unlike the tabletop game, there are no penalties for choosing a race. There are a 6 different classes to choose from, each with their own primary and secondary attributes on which to focus. When you roll your character's stats, they are randomized, but for the min//maxers, you can reroll as many times as you want until you reach your desired scores. You are also able to choose your own background and which deity you wish to follow. In keeping with the spirit of the classic role-playing game, you are able to create your own back story.

Visually, Neverwinter looks pretty nice. Dungeons are dark and creepy. The countrysides...well, to be honest, visually, the game looks exactly how one would picture the Forgotten Realms after reading some of the books. Never read one? Go do it. They're pretty good, actually.

Combat in Neverwinter is real-time action, as opposed to the turn-based style of the tabletop game. It feels like Cryptic Studios did a fantastic solid to fans by trying to meet us halfway and give combat a more D&D feel. Skills do not use magic points like most (every?) other mmo, but instead are separated into three categories: At-Will (you can spam), Encounter (they have short cooldowns) and Daily (you accumulate action points during combat to unleash a powerful attack). Ultimately, this keeps the action flowing and gives the game a more palatable feel, as opposed to just being like every other mmo on the market.

Another cool aspect to the game is the Foundry. Through this system, you are able to create your own adventures and post them for others to play through as well. You can even get game quest credit for finishing eligible Foundry quests.

That being said, things aren't all sunny in the Forgotten Realms. Unfortunately for those with PvP in mind, there aren't many options available to indulge. This does effectively put a damper on those of a more Chaotic Evil alignment, but perhaps something will change in the future. Until then, Neverwinter is still a solid game with much to offer. Check it out on Steam or through Arc Games.





Overall Rating: Down To The Bone

The Mist Review

The Mist (2007)
Starring: Thomas Jane, Marcia Gay Harden, Laurie Holden
Directed by: Frank Darabont

Do you like storms? I do. Love 'em. The residents of Bridgton, Maine, on the other hand, may feel differently. In The Mist, a freak severe thunderstorm causes residents of this New England town to seek supplies at the local grocery store. While there, a thick ominous mist blankets the city like a giant otherworldly bong hit. Very soon into the phenomena, the townspeople realize there's more to this mist than meets the eye. Creatures, monsters hiding in the mist force the residents to take shelter within the store. Tensions grow as neighbors and friends turn on each other as survival seems less and less likely.

Let me just say, this is one of my top favorite Stephen King movies of all time. The cast is very strong and the general story is pretty good. The majority of the movie takes place inside of a grocery store with the occasional soloists venturing out into the unknown. At points, there are groups that make their way out as well, but I can't really go into that without spoiling some really good scenes in the movie. Ultimately, though, the general location of the film does well to add to the tension of so many people being stuck in a confined space, stuck between belief and bewilderment.

As it is, it's no secret that I'm not a huge fan of CGI, but for what the story calls for, the visuals were superb and satisfying. The creatures that appear in this film are, to say the least, some of the best CGI creations of that era. As the movie progresses, they range from tiny and terrifying to monstrous and daunting. There are acid-webbed spiders, horrible mutant stinging flies and then some. Where they exactly came from is up to interpretation. Are you with the crazy Christian lady or could it be something else? Something even more mysterious?

If there were anything bad I could say about this film, it would have to be...erm...well, it definitely lives up to its reported ultra-shocking ending (of course that link is chock full of spoilers; click at your own risk). Seriously, I've seen extreme horror movies that didn't leave me feeling so hopeless inside. Want to know why? Go watch the movie. This one is worth it for any and all horror or Stephen King fans. But if you're especially twisted like myself, this movie could be something even more special...

Happy Anniversary, Jessica, my love!!



Special Effects

Overall Rating: Bleeding Out