By Jason Parker (Ragachak)
Neverwinter has been hanging in there, and over the course of the past few years, I’ve played all three iterations: PC, Xbox One, and the most recent, the PS4 launch. Though it came out July 19th, Playstation owners could get in a week early if they were willing to buy the Onyx Head Start pack. What’s that? Paying to play a free game a little early? Honestly, looking at what comes in it, it’s pretty much worth it. A cool mount, a title, a weapon, 20 Enchanted Keys for opening chests, an adventurer’s pack… sounds worth it to me. A lot of people say that Neverwinter is Pay-to-Win, and I don’t really agree with that. It’s a free game. As far as I can see, every single part of the game is accessible without spending money. You might need to grind a while for Astral Diamonds for some things, but you do not have to spend money! Are there perks/benefits to spending money? Of course. That’s how free-to-play games make money. Besides, maybe I’m in the minority, but if I’m playing a free game, and spend a lot of time on it, I have zero issues spending money on stuff for the game, because I’m enjoying what they are putting out. People who say “I absolutely refuse to spend money on this because it is free,” I think that’s a kind of selfish attitude to have.
That aside, it is free, and you do not have to get the Onyx Pack, and when you load the game you have access to the whole game, all eight playable classes, the nine expansions, up to and including The Maze Engine, which is the most recent expansion. I also feel it’s worth noting that you do not need Playstation Plus to enjoy this game, making it freer than ever! Console users don’t always have access to really solid MMORPGs; sometimes they get lucky, with Final Fantasy XIV and Star Trek, but for the most part, if you want a good MMO you play on PC.
That’s just the way life is sometimes. But not these days! The Xbox One port of it was good. I enjoyed it as much as I did on the PC, but I honestly think that the best version of the game lies on the Playstation. I enjoy and appreciate that the art assets appear to have been updated and redesigned for the console. It’s quite pretty to look at, and it’s one of those MMOs that feels better/feels right with a controller, and the PS4 controller is the most comfortable one to me.
But there is something missing for me though. It’s still an MMO, and it still requires communication. It has the ability to type messages to other players, but without a keyboard plugged in, that just feels so odd. But you can plug a keyboard in if that’s how you want to play. Or you can just use a voice chat with friends. The choice is yours really. One of the major drawbacks to playing an MMO is how much time you have to sink in, and games like FFXIV, or WoW force you to drop quite a bit of time in just to get somewhere. But with Star Trek and Neverwinter coming to the Playstation 4, you have options for MMOs that are not only free, but require a lot less time for the most part.
There are lots of solo missions you can go on in Neverwinter that don’t take hours, where you can get experience and progression rewards while getting your fill of a solid recreation of the D&D universe. Speaking of which, Neverwinter is set in Fourth Edition D&D, which is built for action and quick play. Having spent quite a bit of time playing 4th Edition in tabletop form, I always thought it would do well in a video game, and this is proof positive of that.
The controls are pretty easy to use. They’re a little clunky at first while trying to figure out where exactly I’m going to use all of my damn abilities. I won’t lie though, I don’t like that it takes two buttons to jump. Thankfully this isn’t really a platformer that is going to get you killed for delaying a jump. The mount is one button, but jumping is two? I don’t agree with it, but at least it’s a fast way to get on my horse and go! Combat is easy to handle on a PS4 controller, and while it does honestly feel clunky or weird at first, you acclimate in no time. And there is plenty of content to explore. The positive thing about this game being out since 2013 is you have three years worth of content to explore without having to wait.
The UI makes sense still, and the advent of the touchpad makes it easier than the Xbox One to navigate. Pressing it will move a box around the UI to allow you to get around the screen with ease. Both consoles are easy to play on and use, and again, free to play on all three. But the definitive version for me is without a doubt the Playstation version. Is it because it’s the latest one so it has the most updates at once? Possibly. But it is the prettiest version of the game, the easiest to control, and offering nine expansions right out of the gate? That is SO much content for free for anyone who wants to experience the game on the Playstation. With the current crop of MMOs on PS4, it’s far and away one of the very best.
A Deal You Can’t Miss
From what I understand, Neverwinter requires a Gold Membership to play online, but you do not need Playstation Plus to enjoy it on the PS4, yet another fantastic reason to consider it there. After all, you don’t need a PC subscription to play online on a computer, so why should you have to pay extra for it on a console? It’s a prettier version, the controller’s touch pad makes it more accessible, and quite frankly, if I were to suggest someone play Neverwinter [and I have lately], I would recommend this version. I have never felt this was a pay-to-win game, but it might be a little slow going at first. The Onyx Starter Pack does definitely alleviate a bit of that pace, but nobody is under any pressure to do so! Neverwinter is a fantastic look into the Forgotten Realms of the D&D Universe, and if you’re looking for an in-depth fantasy experience for your console, to play with friends or even make new ones, this is the title for you.