With the upgraded hardware in the Xbox One and PS4, it seems many developers are looking for ways to bring their successful PC games to the current-gen consoles. One of those games is Neverwinter, an MMORPG that has found strong success and support on PC over the last couple years. Neverwinter launched last week on Xbox One, and despite a few small issues, it’s a quality game for Xbox One owners.
Neverwinter is the first true MMO for Xbox One, and it delivers well on that premise. Surprisingly, the game plays well with a controller, even though it originated on PC, where it makes use of an entire keyboard. The team at Cryptic Studios did a good job fitting the button sequence into a controller, making the learning curve for the controls was very short. It definitely helps that the game starts players off with only a few possible button combinations (used for attacks, potions, magic, etc.), and adds more as players progress through the game.
The graphics in Neverwinter are on par with the PC version, but they’re definitely nothing special. They look a little dated, but it doesn’t negatively impact the gameplay. It seems the team at Cryptic was more concerned about the quality of the quests than about the definition of a character’s jawline, which was definitely the right choice for Neverwinter.
Where Neverwinter does struggle is in the framerate department. The game experiences the occasional hiccup and lag, which can hinder a player’s experience, sometimes to the point of a character dying without them having any way to stop it. This should have been avoided at launch, especially considering players can’t change their graphical settings on the Xbox One like they can on PC.
That being said, this framerate issue seems to occur most often when players are in a group, and regardless of who is leading the group and how many members are together. While the lag spikes and framerate issues aren’t frequent enough to stop players from enjoying the game, they are definitely annoying. Thankfully, Cryptic is aware of the issue and is working to correct this soon.
For those who haven’t spent a long time playing MMOs, Neverwinter‘s linear mission setup is very helpful while players progress through the game and level up characters. And although there are also side quests, players may find themselves longing for more adventure. That adventure comes at level 26 when players can begin the Tyranny of Dragons Campaign, which opens new encounters, dungeons, and skirmishes beyond the regular game storyline. The Tyranny of Dragons is where Neverwinter really comes alive, as players work together with friends in epic battles against dragons and other massive foes. If players can hold on until they reach level 26, they will be greatly rewarded for their dedication and patience.
It’s important to remember that Neverwinter on Xbox One is completely free to download and play, so the whole game, including Tyranny of Dragons, can be completed without ever spending a penny. In fact, players do not need to purchase any materials or items through microtransactions in order to do well in the game.
In terms of characters, Neverwinter gives players plenty of options and customization. In addition to selecting a race and role, players can customize their characters’ physical appearance and personal history. Each race and role comes with its own pros and cons, and players can select their character based on how they like to play. Unlike other games, each character’s abilities in Neverwinter impact the way players experience the game.
Players are able create two characters for free in Neverwinter, but in order to open more slots, players will need to use Zen, the in-game currency that can only be acquired from the Xbox Store. Zen can also be used to purchase other in-game items like companions, mounts, bags and treasure chests. However, purchasing items with Zen is not required to complete the game, though players may have to grind for these items if they choose not to purchase Zen. Those who do purchase Zen will discover a simple and smooth process.
While Neverwinter‘s loot system isn’t super liberal with how many powerful weapons, armor, and materials it gives out, it provides enough to keep players stocked for each quest and boss. In fact, players will often have an abundance of loot, and can sell the excess for gold, which they can then use to obtain other items they need for their adventures. In addition to the loot system, Neverwinter gets the upgrade trees right, allowing players the opportunity to upgrade an already personalized character according to their play style.
Questing with friends is an enjoyable experience, as Neverwinter offers the traditional MMORPG options, including instances and dungeon adventures. Technically, these can be done by a single player, just like the normal quests, but it’s highly discouraged. The developer built these instances, dungeons and skirmishes to challenge even five-player teams, which is the cap for such missions. These quests pay well in terms of loot, and make for an enjoyable escape from the regular storyline.
The Neverwinter PvP arena is one aspect of the game that may leave many players underwhelmed. Those who are hoping for epic battles of large teams fighting against each other will be sorely disappointed. Instead, players are greeted with only one game type, Domination, which pits two teams of five players against each other in an effort to capture and control three flags on a small map. That’s it. No deathmatch, no capture the flag, just Domination over and over. Sure, players gain XP from the PvP arena that levels up their character, but the desire for XP from Domination quickly fades as the game mode becomes stale.
Additionally, despite its efforts to balance the game by setting all players to the same level, Domination still favors certain classes. For instance, those playing as heavy weapon fighters can be quickly taken down by the magic and tricks of other players, leaving those fighters hopelessly unable to support their team. On the other hand, those who play as a Rogue class will discover they have an advantage over the enemy due to their ability to quickly dart behind players and slash them, and go invisible when they get in trouble.
Those who endure the PvP arena and continue to battle other players will be rewarded with a special currency called Glory, which can be used to purchase special gear from the PvP store in the game. Unfortunately, most of the Domination gear requires players to be level 60 (the game’s highest possible level so far) to use the items. This restriction does little to motivate players to continue playing Domination.
Despite its PvP shortcomings and current framrate issues, Neverwinter proves to be a solid MMO for Xbox One owners. Although it’s certainly not a hardcore MMORPG, it’s a fantastic starting point for console gamers or those who have little experience in the genre. Those who venture through the game will discover an enjoyable and challenging adventure that keeps their attention, provides plenty of unique experiences, and keeps them coming back for more.
Neverwinter is currently available for free on Xbox One.