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NightStone First Impressions

Garrett, 2002-04-24

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Aside the grand RPGs like Morrowind, Arx Fatalis, Might & Magic 9, Dungeon Siege, Neverwinter Nights, Icewind Dale 2, Divine Divinity, Gothic 2 (ok, I'll stop for now :), which will sweeten 2002 for us, there are more games, which are worth a look. One of them is NightStone, an isometric RPG from Spanish developer New Horizon Studios, released through Virgin Interactive. Now Virgin has done even less PR for the game than 3DO did for MMIX, and that's to say something, but nevertheless the game was released in Europe last week. I have played the game for about 3 hours now and would like to share my impressions with you, since, as mentioned before, very little is known about NightStone...

First of all, NightStone looks like a Diablo-Clone at first, and it also plays like one. The introductory movie, which explains the story of the Stones reveals, that the NightStone is a source of dark power and we must find and destroy it, before the evil does and dominates the world with it. So the story is not a big surprise really.

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The next step after the intro is to customize the three premade heroes, a barbarian, an amazon and a sorceress and then, you are confronted with the world map, and may be surprised as I was:

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The three heroes are placed in one corner of the map each and can access the adjacent terrain only and thus have to work their way to each other, mission by mission, before being able to travel as a party. Each terrain has its objective, which has to be fulfilled, before you can exit and advance to the next terrains. The first terrains are not too large, but still it is a big downside, that you cannot save during a terrain, only on the world map. The first barbarian quest for example, is to find a parchment in a mine, which is not too difficult. Should combat be too difficult, you can always switch the difficulty setting, which offers three modes.

The game itself does not look very spectacular, almost like Diablo 2, offering 3 resolutions, 640x480, 800x600 and 1024x768, where 800x600 is the best choice, because the 640x480 offers a too limited view on the gaming world and 1024x768 depicts the heroes and the automap way too small.

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Also on the main page is the automap or rather of a radar merely, showing the close environment only, and the monsters and their range-of-view, which is a new feature to RPGs, as far as I know: You can stand next to a monster, but if you are outside its range-of-view, it only notices you if you start attacking it.

Combat is just clicking on the opponent, just like in Diablo or Dungeon Siege - even magic is handled that way! And magic is done via scrolls or staffs. So nothing spectacular here either. There's also some conversation, just like in Diablo - haven't had a real multiple choce answer yet, again, just like in Diablo.

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I haven't advanced to a party like play so far in the main campaign, only in a premade map, and also not have taken a look at Multiplayer or the Editor, but so far, NightStone is nothing really spectacular, above all if there's Dungeon Siege out now, which simply looks WAY better than NightStone.

But NightStone has its moments, if only very limited so far, so if you can't get enough of the Diablo feeling and look, if you like the Action-gameplay and if you have finished Dungeon Siege already, NightStone may be worth a look for you.

Average Reader Ratings: 2.86 (7 votes)
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