First Impressions: Neverwinter (Xbox One)

I dabbled in Neverwinter when it was first released in 2013 on PC, and while I’d only spent a few hours with it, I liked what I saw. As a guy who grew up playing Dungeons & Dragons, I thought Neverwinter did a nice job of capturing the feel of the game. I’d also campaigned in the Forgotten Realms before, so it was really cool to see some of those locations come to life in the game.

Fast forward to 2015, and I was really excited for the launch of Neverwinter on Xbox One. I am a console player primarily, and the idea of having a really good MMO on console is something that had me hyped for this new generation.

Now, I had put quite a few hours into DC Universe Online for the Playstation 3 (I covered it pretty extensively for Comic Book Resources between 2008-2010–here, here, here, here and here). And one of the things I really appreciated about that game was that it was designed from the ground up with consoles in mind. I’ve only spent about an hour with the PS4 version, but it’s the same game, and it looks nice on the new console.

Back to Neverwinter, though. It’s a game that was designed for PC and launched in 2013. And as soon as I launched it on Xbox One on March 31st, I was immediately reminded of that. In some ways, Neverwinter feels like a mediocre port of a PC game. Frame rate issues, long loading times, poor user interface and small on-screen text get in the way of what is a fun RPG experience at its core.

So let’s focus on the core, as I still plan on putting a lot of time into this game. As I mentioned above, the game really does a nice job of getting the feel of D&D right. While the visual fidelity of the game is not what you’s expect on the Xbox One (especially after playing Dragon Age: Inquisition), the game has a great atmosphere, and an interesting story. At the start of the game, the city of Neverwinter is under attack, and you are immediately recruited into the battle. It’s a great way to get players invested in both the city and the story. Once the initial battle is over, the dungeon-crawling begins.

As a single-player experience, I’ve enjoyed running around in a location I adventured in during my pen-and-paper RPG days. What I’m really looking forward to though is partying up with my friends and taking on dungeons together.

So, my initial take on Neverwinter is that it doesn’t wow you out of the gate, but if you spend some time with it, there’s a lot here to dig into, especially for D&D fans.