The Let's Play Archive

Neverwinter Nights 2

by Lt. Danger

Part 85: Act Three Chapter Twenty-One - Rocks Fall Everyone Dies

NWN2 Main Theme

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Are you fucking kidding me?

This is how the NWN2 OC ends. This is the real ending - not a fake ending, a bad ending that you get if you didn't get all 100 secret collectibles... this is how Obsidian's first foray into fantasy RPGs ended.

Rocks fall, everyone dies.

I mean, it's a joke. It's the punchline to funny stories about bad DMs. You know, you're playing a game of D&D, exploring some caves, and the Dungeon Master fancies flexing his muscles or wants to show off for the ghost of Gary Gygax or whatever. So he says "One of you triggers a trap that causes the roof to collapse on you. Rocks fall, everyone dies." And they do. And then you go and post about it in Traditional Games.

I know Obsidian wanted to convey the feeling of playing in a real D&D campaign, complete with bad DM, but I don't think gaming's that post-modern yet.

You're getting off lightly, mind. The ending cutscene narrator is none other than Brian Mitsoda, one of the developers at Obsidian. You may recognise him as the newsreader from Vampire: Bloodlines, which suited him perfectly... unfortunately I can't say the same for his broad Midwestern rendition here. And in the original version of NWN2, one of the sound effects for the King of Shadows' death scream didn't close properly, so you got this weird buzzing sound throughout.

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So hopefully you're thinking, "Ah, this is KOTOR2 all over again. Obsidian had a really awesome ending planned, but they just didn't have time to implement it."

No such luck. Have a look at this:


: {A little to himself, understatement as fortress is blowing up} Well, now we've done it.
: {Looking around, in awe, as fortress collapses} My, it's like a festival... well, with more collapsing stones - and very large ones, too.
: {Smug, watching the evil fortress collapse} Bet that shadowy beast regrets messing with us now, eh?
: {Urgent, fortress is collapsing} Everyone, look - we need to go, now.
: {Beats} Agreed - this place will not survive its master's passing. We must make haste.
: {Urgent, fortress is collapsing} Kalach-cha, this part of the journey is done - come, there is little time.
{The player, Ammon Jerro, Zhjaeve, Elanee, Khelgar and Grobnar furiously race towards the exit.}
: {Running, trying to escape explosion} Move, Grobnar, move!
: {Alarmed, trying to avoid being caught in explosion, running} I am moving, just not as fast as everyone else!
: {Urgency} Keep running! We...
: {To herself, doomed recognition} We're not going to make it.
: {Finality, and quietly, like speaking a prayer, as explosion engulfs them} And so this journey ends.
{Player and companions run toward camera, view is slightly offset. Suddenly the whole structure collapses and rubble falls between the player and the camera, burying the camera.}
{Camera shot changes to the heavens, where artificial night has loomed for months. Cracks appear in the darkness and light starts coming through. Energy from below flings towards the heavens.}


{The last sequence shows Sir Nevalle, Aldanon, Bevil Starling and the people of Crossroad Keep standing on the ramparts, watching as the artificial night evaporates. Many people in the crowd cheer, but Sir Nevalle is grim-faced.}
: {Watching the evil shadows dissipate over the kingdom, in awe} I don't believe it... the shadows... they're going away.
: {Watching the evil darkness over the kingdom dissipate} It seems we have won, but at what cost? {Beat} Aldanon... is the Knight-Captain...?
: {Confused, just seen a building collapse on the player} I... I do not know. {Beat} I do not know.
{The last shots of the night fade and bright beams of sunlight emerge.}

You can probably see why this was cut. Although seeing the characters in action makes it more personal, the NWN2 camera has enough trouble focusing on people standing still, nevermind running for their lives through a collapsing shadow-fortress. Plus you'd have to make exceptions for all the companions that may/may not be present: Neeshka, Elanee, Qara/Sand, Construct...

The dialogue files are still hidden in the game's data archives, if you want to listen to them. Or, hell, just grab this

But yes, this was planned. This was the intended ending.

There's nothing wrong with heroic sacrifice - there are several games that end in such a way. But this isn't heroic sacrifice - we're not making the willing choice to die in order to save the world. We're just incredibly unlucky and as a result it becomes incredibly unfair. It's the same thing as if Obsidian said "After defeating the King of Shadows, you set off back to Crossroad Keep. Along the way, you trip over a tree root and hit your head on a rock, suffering a critical cranial bleed and dying instantly."

Exact. Same. Thing. Rocks fall, everyone dies.

I wasn't expecting Ammon to clap us on the back and say "Great job kid, now let's go home," but it'd be better than what we got. As it is, all our work, all our effort invested into NWN2 as a game is undone in seconds because Obsidian wanted a 'tragic' ending. It is tragic, mind, but only for the player.

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Let's look on the bright side.

We see the return of 'Fallout-style' epilogues, where your actions affect the ending of the final game. We get little vignettes that show what happened to the various people and places we met along our journey. Maybe not as many as we'd get in Fallout, but more than we got in Bethesda's Fallout 3. I'll go into more detail update-after-next.

The final fight itself was pretty good, I reckon. Generally I'm not a fan of boss fights in RPGs; most of the time they're slow, clunky affairs that either bedazzle you with too much going on at the same time, or they're easy as piss and over in seconds. The King of Shadows does a good job in being long (three fights in one!), interesting (the statues, which were used in several ways) and challenging (not this time around, but in my first playthrough Khelgar was the sole survivor for most of the battle).

It beats out Sarevok from the original versions of Baldur's Gate (ridiculous Magic Resistance meant the only way to kill him was with arrows and multiple Wands of Monster Summoning); Malak from KOTOR (overpowered for anyone not a Guardian); The Transcendant One from Planescape: Torment (talking to him is so much better). Yes, sometimes it's a little hard to control all your companions if you kept most of them, but the entire party versus the avatar of a rogue magical construct born of an ancient empire is pretty damn cool.

And in the end it's not actually that hard. Tholapsyx was hard; the triple-reaver fight was hard. The King of Shadows is easy - I don't know whether you think that's a good or bad thing in a final boss fight, but I'm willing to accept it.

You want a tough boss fight? I'll show you a tough boss fight.

Just you wait.