I feel sorry for the critic who blasted Neverwinter Nights in your review. I guess some games only appeal to certain people, but most everyone I know that has been involved with dungeons and dragons are looking forward to this game's possibilities. The game doesn't end with the single player game either, as its main attraction is the number of games, (some good, some bad) that other adventure designers come up with using the toolset.
To comment from a few things I saw in the article:
---The game almost didn't go through after the fighting between Bioware and Interplay. Yet the designers put together their dream although it was understandably delayed by such corporate moves.
---At 128 RAM I'm surprised you can play a modern game that isn't laggy or slowed. In my experience with friends, the response to the system is rather fast. The only time I've seen someone slowed in the game is in multiplayer where their internet connection slows them down.
---The author definately is more into the game Dungeon Siege than NWN. Not that it is a bad thing...to each their own. But Atari did not "borrow" the pause feature...it's been in all the former D&D video games that have came out in recent years. Also, D&D may have had effects spread over to other games, but those games took the spells from D&D. You see the original spells that spawned numerous copies.
---Choosing "recommended" gives you a standard staring point. A point of pride of the new 3rd edition rules though is that there is nothing standard. Variety is alive and well in D&D rules, and as such there is no such thing as hitting a button and getting the "best" choices available. Each character and player may have different styles, and each class is built so that you might have completely different strengths and weaknesses compared to a person with the same class and even race. Classes can be made as individual and unique as you can imagine, but for those new to the rules the game tries to help give a standard package to help expedite getting into the game and playing. Everything about character design is available to make more varied characters than many similar games. (Certainly more so than classic Diablo, where the original only allowed three classes and each character was still a mirror of any others of their class).
---The game is complex, but the design and ability to put plans into action is quite simple. Fighters can't use wands, and wizards cant pick up and handle a broadsword...that is no different from other games of this genre. Sweeping a mouse over an opponent gives you the chance to see that he is friendly and ready to talk...or hostile in which you can immediately attack. 36 programmable hot buttons also make for ease in performing a variety of actions fast.
---The game has moved every bit as fast paced as Diablo II when I have played it. I also know that you do not necessarily control ONE character, and that lack of an army doesn't diminish from your strategy. You can control familiars and set up henchmen to make complex battle plans work. The multiplayer aspect is also there. Strategy is formed between players cooperatively, and often one can be amazed at how a group of dungeon delvers can find a way out of a tricky situation.
---Attacks of Opportunity were not added in by Atari: They are part of the 3rd Edition D&D system. They can be used every bit as much by players using strategy as well as the computer. When I play, I force the computer to allow my own team attacks of opportunity...the door swings both ways. As far as mages and archers goes, they aren't supposed to be standing in the front line where they would provoke such attacks. Any mage or archer controls the game, but probably only as long as they are protected by a fighter type. Many casters get pets to protect them. If enemy fighters get close...and your mage is standing still casting a spell, or archer is fumbling with a bow...they are bound to get hit more. This is realistic in most games of the fantasy genre.
---The magic in the game is based on the popular methods used by D&D for about 50 years now. Caster types are a lot more vulnerable when low level, especially once they have cast all their spells. Once they get higher in level though, they are far more fearsome than any full plate warrior.
---Again, one of the attractions of the game is for amateur designers to build their own adventures. This is made easier with a tile system. Such a system still has its attractive limits...but even a couple months after release more designers are building their own tileset layouts and introduing them to the general public.
---You don't need cheat codes. Playing the game I have had little trouble with traps, they are more of a nuisance that if anything slows but does not destroy an adventuring party. The game even provides an NPC helper, should you wish to use him, who will help discover and disarm these traps for you. The traps that haven't slowed me down have been a nice side hazard to many encounters, raising the danger even more than one would first guess, but not elevating the game out of the reach of those who have trouble dealing with traps.
---The main focus of NWN is NOT single player. The main focus is providing an online computer gaming system that can be manipulated by its fans into computer versions of the popular table D&D games. The single player game is entertaining. The real jewel is making your own games or playing those made by others. (Though there are a few modules out there that probably shouldn't have been released to the public without a warning.) I have a number of friends that are making their own campaigns and game worlds based on the flexible world-building tools.
---Diablo I and II were entertaining, but in my eyes they don't hold a candle to NWN. And while the critic may be taken with Dungeon Siege, I wasn't as interested in that game either as I am with NWN. As far as MMORPG's go, I left DAoC to play NWN, and I am liking a game that I can play online as much as I want without a monthly service charge.