The adventures in Nox put you in the shoes of a person not much different from you or me. The game begins with a comical introduction movie that thrusts your character into an unknown world.
The details of Nox are truly a pleasure and the graphics are like an action version of Baldur's Gate. The already deep storyline develops even more as you travel throughout the different areas of the game world. The existence and purpose of each enemy you encounter is fully explained and you never have a moment without purpose.
Despite the amusing aspect of the introduction, as you advance the game takes on a more serious tone. In the movie, Hecubah, the evil necromancer, is chanting a spell to get a magical orb (to allow her to raise the dead) when one of her candles accidentally blows out. Also, when on the airship, your character remarks that his girlfriend is making bacon tonight and he wants to go home.
The game has an in-depth storyline that, to my surprise, was introduced while I was installing the game. I think this is a great feature and should be a staple of any game with a long storyline. At the starting screen, the graphics are excellent with some great eerie music. I have to admit I spent quite a few minutes moving the mouse around the screen simply because of the neat trail of dust sparkles that followed it.
The fantastical world of Nox is part factual medieval and part fairy tale. After all, the first part of the game has you on an amazing airship, then you're cast to the ground to battle monsters while the whole time utilizing swords, shields, armor and other real weapons (unless you're a wizard). Houses, villages and clothing are also reminiscent of medieval English society.
Before you actually start playing the game, you choose one of three paths to evolve: a wizard, conjurer or warrior. All three start at totally different points in the game. This is an enjoyable feature because if you tire of playing as a certain character, you can switch to another and get a completely different perspective of the world. So, for at least three times, you can restart the game in a unique way.
The controls of the game are well done. It's nice how the action letters of each spell appear directly on it so you know which button to push on the keyboard simply by looking at the spell. It's fairly easy to maneuver your character throughout the world with the mouse. Plus, you have complete control over the character's every movement, unlike Baldur's Gate where you move the character by selecting a location and clicking the mouse.
When you play as a wizard, the controls play a key role as you may be pressing the spell keys more than the mouse at times. Also, if you're a conjurer or warrior, you use action keys for skills or to summon creatures. If you have a mouse with a scroll wheel, you can use it to simply scroll through all of your different spells and skills.
The characters you encounter in Nox are very interesting and sometimes humorous. Each has their own unique voice and, although the portraits repeat themselves for the basic town dwellers, you get a real sense of variety. When you play as a conjurer or wizard, you start with a heroic figure as an apprentice.
If you choose to be the conjurer, your apprenticeship is with Aldwyn the Conjurer who directs you through the first levels of the game until your skills are great enough to go on alone. The master wizard you begin an apprenticeship with is Archmage Horvath. Both characters are very distinguishable from the rest of the pack and they are heroes to the simple folk of Nox.
The first creature you go up against as both conjurer and wizard is the Urchin. This is a pesky but amusing little creature that throws stones at you. They aren't very deadly but, in a group of 8 or 10, can do serious damage. The little chuckle given off by any given Urchin makes them funny foes to engage in battle.
These creatures, along with spiders, wolves, trolls, goblins and so forth are all explained as you advance in the game. They are introduced by gaining Beast Scrolls that tell you about each enemy and their weaknesses. The characters in the game will also talk about most of the creatures at one point or another. This meaningful introduction of enemies and areas brings you closer to the action.
The wizard, conjurer and warrior all have different abilities in Nox that are very entertaining. If you decide to be a wizard, for example, you can eventually use over 100 different spells, plus you can set traps anywhere in the area simply by selecting a spell and placing it in a trap. The conjurer is able to perform some spells such as lesser heal but his main purpose is to summon other creatures to do his bidding. You can conjure other creatures, charm existing ones and eventually summon highly specialized beasts known as Bombers. These beasts can independently seek out targets and unleash up to three different spells at once.
The warrior acquires five skills that are substituted for the magic spell slots for the wizard and conjurer. These skills are special fighting moves and are extremely useful. In addition, they can use any type of weapon or armor. The warrior may represent the most simplistic route for your character to travel but, later on in the game, they acquire magical weapons. With all of these different features, Nox is not a game that will bore you easily.
One of the few minor gripes is that the game slows down at times when there are a lot of enemies on the screen. Yet it's an easy game to install, doesn't require a mega-computer system to run properly, and still has great graphics.
The storyline grips you and keeps you playing to find out what happens next, while the music and sound effects combine with everything else to provide a very mystical and magical adventure. If you've yet to experience Nox, then sit for a spell and conjure up the strength to battle the fierce monsters of this world.
Graphics: Detailed landscapes and control panels have their own unique style that complements the feel of the game in general. The trail that follows the mouse in the beginning screen is a nice touch and when you cast spells they are very bright and vivid. The graphics of Nox are reminiscent of Baldur's Gate but controls and the way characters move are much different.
Sound: The musical score is well done. From the eerie and magical music at the beginning to the music throughout the rest of the game, Nox has one of the best soundtracks of a PC game I've ever heard. The sounds are also fantastic. Voices are distinct and clear, while every step from your character yields independent sounds. Creatures all have different sounds as well. The music and sound fit together in an almost perfect way throughout gameplay.
Enjoyment: Once you start playing the game you'll be hooked. The story keeps you playing for many hours and you'll find yourself amazed at how quickly time passes if not careful. The spells and different equipment and weapons you find during the game also keep you entertained.
Replay Value: With three separate ways to play the game with three totally different beginnings, you'll want to keep playing after you've beaten the game as one of the three. Additionally, the multiplayer game has many different forms of gameplay with gamers over the Internet. Once you've beaten the single-player game at home, you can venture out into the world and play the many other offerings on the Internet (Capture the Flag, Arena, Elimination, King of the Realm and Flag Ball).
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