Motb - Critical Reception

Critical Reception

Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings 81.87%
Metacritic 82/100
Review scores
Publication Score B+
Eurogamer 7/10
Game Informer 9/10
GameSpot 8/10
GamesRadar 8/10
GameZone 8.3/10
IGN 8.5/10

Reviews of Mask of the Betrayer were generally favorable. Obsidian Entertainment's handling of epic levels in the expansion was particularly praised, although some reviewers said that at higher levels the expansion became unbalanced. A number of reviewers mentioned that the expansion allows for more customization of both characters and levels, with Game Informer saying that "Piles of new feats, spells, and classes will give even seasoned D&D vets plenty to explore, either in the official campaign or custom scenarios built by the community. Likewise, builders can benefit from the ever-improving toolset and (supposedly) fixed persistent-world implementation." EuroGamer also described the new classes, prestige classes, and races as "pretty damn neat". Eurogamer stated that starting Neverwinter Nights 2 over from the beginning after installing Mask of the Betrayer is also interesting because the expansion "integrate with the previous game (i.e. you can select one of the new races and classes and go back and play NWN2 with them)".

Reviewers said that the expansion's single-player game was more difficult than that of Neverwinter Nights 2; stated that Obsidian " the ante with tougher enemies and a more challenging experience altogether" The expansion also has more puzzles which make the player think, rather than somehow being resolvable through combat, with one reviewer noting that the expansion has "genuinely tough logic puzzles (some frustratingly short on clues) and a series of side quests that completely vary (some might not even open up) depending on your party makeup". Multiple reviewers mentioned that the expansion is more serious than Neverwinter Nights 2.

The game’s story and writing were praised by many reviewers, with some noting its avoidance of common fantasy clichés. Some reviewers also compared the quality and tone of the writing to Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman series and to Planescape: Torment.

"Planescape: Torment fans will feel right at home, reading the intriguing passages that depict the character’s actions and feelings, among other things, while newcomers will probably just skip them (their loss). And even though the amount of text is nowhere near as large as that of PS:T, the quality is right up there with the big boys, with even the most insignificant ally having at least one or two interesting things to say. " —Biessener, Adam; Juba, Joe, GameInformer

The expansion's sound was described by GameZone as being "exactly what it needs to, in that it supports the story and gameplay." Its voice work was described as "decent", although some dialogue is purely text. Graphics were also improved from Neverwinter Nights 2, with better textures and spell effects, in addition to a new option so that the player can change the game's level of violence. Reviewers also mentioned that the graphics, especially that of spells such as lightning, could make combat difficult; GameSpy said,

"All those high-level spells also throw out a ton of spectacular graphics effects that do wonders to obscure what's going on during a battle. As beautiful as they are, we'd trade all the eye candy in the world for the ability to accurately select a target."

Mask of the Betrayer was nominated for Best RPG of the Year by G4 TV, and it was named Runner-up for RPG of the Year by GameBanshee.

Criticism of the expansion was aimed at its poor camera angles and other technical issues, although the game and updates since Neverwinter Nights 2's release fixed many bugs of the original. IGN criticized the spirit meter mechanic, a statement echoed by GameSpy, who said,

"On a purely mechanical level, the spirit meter ends up being more annoyance than fun. from a role-playing/story standpoint it's actually the reverse of what the mechanic was supposed to accomplish."

John Walker (GamesRadar) noted:

"NWN2 was immediately joyful, with hilarious characters and dialogue juxtaposing the dark story. MotB is far more serious, and while the companions fulfill the role of representing personality extremes, none of them are particularly entertaining company. There's no one to compare with Khelgar's dwarfish temper, nor Neeshka's impish naughtiness. Most are positively dull. And this isn't helped by the opening dungeon being tedious beyond belief." –John Walker, GamesRadar

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