I’m running a vista machine and already owned a sold out software version of Neverwinter Nights before buying this and installing it. It didn’t work. This Atari version of the game installed perfectly fine but then it just wouldn’t load not without a patch installation that needed to be found from a website. I found an old patch recommended from an official site although it’s very hard to find these days due to the age of the game and the fact that the official site no longer supports patches for this game. But still I found a patch and installed the game. It plays really great (more on the game in a minute) BUT…A week after installing the patch, to my horror, a Trojan program had wiped all the links to my program files. There was no way to fix the problem but reset my PC to factory settings, which I luckily could do. But I say all this as a warning. Be careful searching for online patches for this expansion pack, you will need to get them as this pack doesn’t come with any on disc.
Now, on to the game: The actual story begins a few months after the plague of Neverwinter was resolved and you play a soon to graduate student of Master Drogan, in a remote snowy village. You have to start your character from scratch unfortunately, which can be annoying if you’ve just finished the original campaign. The Undrentide campaign itself is of course shorter than the original Neverwinter but in my opinion I think the whole story is better. Each of the characters has more depth and I felt more involved in the story than in the whole of the original Neverwinter campaign. The repetitive nature of Neverwinter’s missions which can get a little boring sometimes is gone here as there are times when you move to another part of a chapter and are immediately ambushed before even knowing what’s happening. There are new enemies to defeat and a whole range of new classes you can take on.
My favourite part of this expansion is the henchmen. There aren’t a lot of them, only two to start with (becoming three in a later chapter) but you can now customise you henchman, choosing which armour and weapons they use which is a big improvement on the original Neverwinter. The henchmen are also more interactive I feel, I took Xanos around with me and couldn’t help laugh every time he butted in with ‘Halt! Xanos wishes to speak!’. The henchmen also don’t die, they instead collapse on the floor near death. And as there’s no Temple of Tyr to jump back to you have to heal your henchman when they collapse or else they will die.
This game also improved a few voice commands of henchmen in the original Neverwinter campaign. My henchnmen in the original campaign now called out for help when near death. Unfortunately this did lead to an annoying glitch in chapter four of Neverwinter Nights when Daelan Red Tiger kept dying and then reappearing instead of going to the temple for resurrection. This meant that he was quickly killed properly and I was left to face all the enemies in chapter four completely alone!
With it’s snowy and desert landscapes I think Shadows of the Undrentide is a great expansion pack to play, but it feels incomplete unless you plan to get the next expansion ‘Hordes of the Underdark’ as the ending of the campaign leads to that next expansion. I’d recommend this game to anyone who enjoyed the original Neverwinter but BEWARE of the patch issue I mentioned, and if it’s possible I’d recommend getting hold of a deluxe version of the game where both expansions are included.
Gameplay rating: 5/5
Overall ‘Best of Atari’ version: 3/5