Making the leap from PC to console. Or console to PC is no small feat. If you have ever been stuck in ported hell you know the misery that is playing what could be a tremendous game that just felt all wrong because of the control scheme. Fortunately Cryptic has avoided that fate with their most recent port of Neverwinter.
Perfect World provided me with an Onyx Head Start pack that allowed me to jump into the action on July 12th. The game is microtransaction based and free to download for everyone else on July 19th. Even though the game is currently behind a paywall there was a sizeable player population and I saw characters close to reaching level 30.
I’m always cautious when playing MMOs on consoles. Some games have so many skills at a character’s disposal making the transition to a controller is difficult. Fortunately Neverwinter with it’s action combat and streamline abilities lend itself to being played with a controller. Cryptic has also had Neverwinter on the Xbox One for the better part of a year to act as a test bed. At this point they should know what does, and does not work about the controller scheme. I’m happy to say that it worked out well.
In the few hours I’ve had access I’ve managed to get a character to level 16, get a crafter going, run a dungeon; the Cloak Tower, and participate in PvP. While I clearly haven’t beaten the game I have taken part in enough of the game to know at this point what does and doesn’t work.
It took a few minutes to get used to holding down the L1 button to change the layout on the controller. Once I made the adjustment though it was easy enough to navigate through my abilities, the map, and the other menus that are quickly accessible through the options button on the PS4 controller.
The game looks great on the PS4. It doesn’t suffer from a decline in graphics quality because of the port. Even when I was fighting multiple Orcs at a time I never felt a noticeable decline in framerate. It held steady in PvE, and PvP when there were up to 9 other players on the screen. There was an issue of mounts not displaying correctly. They would pop in but this even happens on the PC version. Loading times between zones are longer as well. The biggest bug I found that was an inconvenience more than anything was the invocation ability. You use this to pray and earn buffs but it didn’t always work.
Noticeably absent is the foundry. There are boards located throughout the world that you could find foundry quests on in the PC version but in the PS4 variant they offer only atmosphere.
Keeping pace with other MMOs that have made the leap to PS4 lately Neverwinter does not require PSN+ to play. This keeps the game essentially free, even though it still has those old pain points you can pay astral diamonds to get around in game. It’s also updated through the Maze Engine the most recent PC version. I’m not positive on this yet but it stands to reason the next module will lag the PC release much like the Xbox version lags a few weeks behind.
This port doesn’t fundamentally change anything about the game. If you weren’t a fan of the PC version I don’t think is what will make you finally fall in love. However; if you are looking to do some gaming from the couch instead of your computer table Neverwinter is worth a shot. I’ve had more fun with it than I thought I would. Also for you PSN trophy junkies this looks like one of the easier Platinums around. See you on the Sword Coast.