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RPGDot 2002 Awards
Best Atmosphere in an RPG

The RPGDot Team, 2002-01-06

In the last weeks of December 2002, you had the opportunity to vote for the best RPGs released in 2002. Nobody knows better what these are then you the player and as such The RPGDot 2002 Awards will look good on any game receiving one.
We thank all those who entered their votes and helped us in making it possible to select the best games.

Best Atmosphere in an RPG

Every good RPG has an atmosphere in which the player feels comfortable and in which the player almost can feel that he or she is part of the experience. A game can have stunning graphics or awesome sound, but without a decent atmosphere it won't last very long. And here are the games which are known to give this experience.

The winner: Elder Scrolls 3 - Morrowind
Most of the atmosphere in Morrowind comes from the dense background story, presented in hundreds of books. The battle of a dying empire, the struggle of the Dunmers, the clash of Gods - the more you know about it, the more you get sucked in. And then there is this huge world - the races you encounter, the mysteries that have to be solved. For example, you find some dwarfen ruins all over the island, and what happened to the dwarfes remains a complete mystery until you are seeking healing from Corpus desease. Then you find someone who considers himself to be the last of the dwarfes, and he gives you some hints what has happened to his race.

This carefully woven history, embedded in a believable world with day and night, weather, vegetation zones and more - they all build the atmosphere that makes Morrowind so special. While there are some weak points like the rather generic NPC dialogues (with honourable exceptions), the whole package presented in the game is something that justifies the voting of our readers.


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Runner Up: Arx Fatalis
Arx Fatalis' atmosphere is best compared to a unique mixture of Ultima Underworld and the Thief series. No matter in what place of the game you are dwelling, you always have the feeling you are right in the middle of things.

I especially would like to stress out the crypt, which is the most remarkeable dungeon I have ever experienced in any game so far! It really scared the **** out of me, hearing those zombies crying out for me and suddenly see them appearing out of the fog. Also, let me say aword about the human city, which is a lot livelier and better populated than the sterile worlds of Morrowind for example - Kudos Arkane!

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Second Runner Up: Neverwinter Nights
Graphics, gameplay, sound, and music blended well to create Neverwinter Nights. While other games this year did just as good, if not better, a job... Neverwinter Nights was a strong contender. Again, since the atmosphere is linked to the single player campaign, and not the user modules (some of which have fantastic atmosphere) NWN loses an edge against games that were designed without user expansions in mind.

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The Numbers
To make it complete we now give you the top 10 as voted by our visitors:

Elder Scrolls 3 - Morrowind
Arx Fatalis
Neverwinter Nights
Divine Divinity
Icewind Dale 2
Dungeon Siege
Freedom Force
Baldur's Gate - Dark Alliance
Dark Age of Camelot - Shroudes Isles
Might & Magic 9

And 5% of those who participated were unable to select one of the games.

We, the RPGDot team also voted to create our own top 5:

Elder Scrolls 3 - Morrowind
Arx fatalis
Dungeon Siege
4. Neverwinter Nights 4,6%
4. Final Fantasy 11 4,6%

We really couldn't make up our minds on this one. We have 3 games ranking first here.

Note that percentages are rounded to the nearest number.

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