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NWN/HotU - Pirates of the Sword Coast Premium Module Review *some spoilers*

Discussion in 'Mod Reviews' started by Spellbound, Aug 9, 2005.

  1. Spellbound

    Spellbound Fleur de Mystique Distinguished Member ★ SPS Account Holder Veteran

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    Pirates of the Sword Coast Module
    Version: v1.0. (Requires NWN 1.64+, SoU and HotU installed)
    Review first posted on: August 7, 2005
    Review updated:
    Mod download location: http://nwn.bioware.com/premium/module_pirates.html

    Content

    Imagine yourself sailing the high seas on the Midnight Rose, battling creatures who rise from the deep to take over your ship, all in the name of the Goddess Umberlee, and being marooned on a deserted island with nothing but a stick and a rock, only to discover you are NOT alone. All this and more awaits you as you make your journey from Neverwinter to Calimshan in the tale of the Pirates of the Sword Coast.

    This fateful journey begins in the port of Neverwinter, where Captain Allendry asks you to take care of a few things in port before he sets sail – rounding up mysterious passengers and cargo, dealing with mutinous shipmates, etc. Once everything is in order, you ship off for Calimshan, looking forward to a smooth sail down the coast – but alas, ‘tis not to be. The Midnight Rose is boarded in the middle of the night by merfolk and you are pitched over the side and left for dead. Well now, is that really so bad? Without providing too many spoilers, let’s just say that as you work your way through this module, your “life” changes drastically – and I do mean CHANGE. :lol: Your adventures henceforth encompass being marooned on a desert island, fighting off a clan of troglodytes, digging for famous pirate treasure, pursuing the Midnight Rose and diving to the depths of the Sea of Swords to avenge the deaths of your crew and forestall a geological upheaval the likes of which your world has never seen.

    While the module starts your character off at level 5, you are also able to start at higher levels (6-10) if you so desire. But even with this level upgrade, I found the battles in the early stages of this module to be quite challenging. I played as a fighter with a STR of 18 and still had difficulty….I can’t imagine what it would be like for a rogue or even a sorcerer at these early levels. There is one battle early in the mod, in particular, that I found to be so difficult, that it almost didn’t fit with all the other already challenging battles. This is the thug battle that occurs in Neverwinter, when trying to escort a potential passenger to the Midnight Rose. I played through the mod twice and noticed the unusual difficulty factor in this battle both times – far more difficult than the end battle even. So be on the lookout for that.

    The module affords the player one henchman to start out with – Nisar Martins, First Mate, a seasoned mariner and fairly decent sorcerer and then Garm, an endearing troglodyte, who joins up with you later – and whose most fervent desire is that you honor him by putting him in a stew pot for dinner! (I didn’t oblige). And of course this module wouldn’t be complete without Poly the Parrot – your companion through thick and thin – when all is lost and everyone is dead – Poly is with you as you wash ashore ….and never a better friend was he. Aye. As you move through the module, you come across other interesting characters, giving you a total of 10 possible NPC’s who are willing to join your party. From minotaurs, to knights, to scurrilous sailors…..they all add their own meaning to “party member”.

    Pirates of the Sword Coast offers a good mix of interesting quests, stunning spell effects and tough battles, but above all – gives us a terrific story, both amusing, as well as heart rendering at times. Most of the quests occur prior to sailing, in Neverwinter, as well as in a town called Spindrift, where there are lots of opportunities for rescues, treasure hunting, fighting new types of monsters, arena-type fighting, etc. The treasure is not as plentiful as in the Eye of the Beholder mod (but not much is!), however, the items that are provided are quite valuable, making it fairly easy to amass a tidy sum very early in the module.

    If there was one area that I thought could be improved, it would be the final battle sequence. The story provides such an intense plot progression – until the very end, where you’re left wanting a bit more – maybe a visit from Allendry, or an Umberlee showdown. Either way, I was left more or less saying “Oh.”

    Gameplay

    Pirates of the Sword Coast is a smooth running module, for the most part. I did experience a desktop crash two times however, but I’m not certain that it was due to the module’s functionality. It seemed to happen when the graphics would lag a bit (always in Spindrift) – I would try to get my character to walk a bit faster when she seemed to be lagging – but to no avail -- the entire screen would freeze and crash back to my desktop. While I don’t experience desktop crashes resulting from lagging issues in any other modules or games, I’m a little suspect of this. However, the overall gaming experience of this module so outweighs the annoyance of this occurrence, it’s barely worth mentioning.

    Pirates of the Sword Coast delivers such a strong piratical feel – from the new tilesets, to the new music, to the very realistic voice acting (the narrator was superb), one is left with a feel of absolute immersion into the pirates’ way of life and the things they experience.

    Visuals

    From sandy beaches, to underwater caves, to odd friends that assist you in time of need….this module has it all. As you charge into Umberlee’s underwater domain to avenge your captain – you’re surrounded by a new tileset and sharks galore. Many of the puzzles and spells also provide some interesting visuals.

    Sound

    I found the voicing in this mod to be very well done…..not as exemplary as in Kingmaker, but nevertheless, very high quality and convincing. But perhaps more noticeable was David John’s new theme that plays while you’re exploring the various islands. I thought it was a beautiful score – very poignant, reminiscent of “Skeleton of a Town” in Icewind Dale 2.

    Bugs

    As I mentioned earlier, I found no “confirmed” gameplay bugs in this module. I did experience, however, a crash to the desktop, which I suspect had to do with a graphics lag, and not particular to the design of this module. It is, however, worth mentioning here. Also, it is apparent that the entire module text did not go through a grammar check, which is something to be expected in fan-made modules, but not appropriate in a finished commercial product. Aside from that, the module ran smoothly and appeared quite seamless.

    Final Thoughts

    The largest of the Premium Modules and one of the most fun to play, Pirates of the Sword Coast delivers on its claims: 8 to 10 hours of gameplay, an immersion into the nefarious world of pirates and a story that kicks butt. For more information on the specifics of this module, check BioWare's Pirates of the Sword Coast page.

    To sum it all up…..if after you’ve played this module, you don’t have the urge to say “Arrr!”, well there’s no hope for you. ;)

    :thumb:

    [ October 01, 2005, 15:34: Message edited by: Spellbound ]
     
  2. Harbourboy

    Harbourboy Take thy form from off my door! Veteran

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    Good stuff Spellbound. Thanks for doing the review. I'm reading the Liveship Traders at the moment so am in 'high seas' mode. I should probably play this as well to capitalise on that.
     
  3. The Kilted Crusader

    The Kilted Crusader The Famous Last words "Hey guys, watch THIS!" Veteran

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    Good review, Spelly. I'm tempted to go download the mod (I'm curious to find out how the characters can breathe underwater in the Umberlee's underwater domain :p ).
     
  4. Spellbound

    Spellbound Fleur de Mystique Distinguished Member ★ SPS Account Holder Veteran

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    LOL -- Hint, hint, hint! Check this! :D
     
  5. Morgoroth

    Morgoroth Just because I happen to have tentacles, it doesn'

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    A very good review but I could have used a little more comparisons to the previous premium modules and something how much there is beutyfully done scripting involved (in cutscense for example). Anyway as I said it's a very good review so don't let my endless striving for perfection disturb you. I'm really looking forward to playing it. :thumb:
     
  6. JSBB Gems: 31/31
    Latest gem: Rogue Stone


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    :lol: I received an e-mail from Bioware about this module being offered for a reduced price for an unspecified limited time.

    They made it sound like they were offering the greatest deal ever - it turns out they have cut the price by a whopping 10% from $10 to $9. :rolleyes:
     
  7. Taluntain

    Taluntain Resident Alpha and Omega Staff Member ★ SPS Account Holder Resourceful Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) BoM XenForo Migration Contributor [2015] (for helping support the migration to new forum software!)

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    But think of all the things you could do with that $1! :shake:
     
  8. Jesper898 Gems: 21/31
    Latest gem: Pearl


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    Very good module, and thanks for the review.

    However, I have to point out that you start in Neverwinter, not Waterdeep ;)
     
  9. Spellbound

    Spellbound Fleur de Mystique Distinguished Member ★ SPS Account Holder Veteran

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    Yup, you're absolutely right -- thanks for that correction.
     
  10. olimikrig

    olimikrig Cavalier of War Distinguished Member ★ SPS Account Holder Resourceful Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) BoM XenForo Migration Contributor [2015] (for helping support the migration to new forum software!)

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    1$ is actually ~9 Danish kroner! Now doesn't that sound more "whopping" to you :cool:
     
  11. Rotku

    Rotku I believe I can fly Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!)

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    Nice work Spelly. It certainly looks a facinating module.

    Just incase you weren't aware, they've quoted your review on their main page (the one you linked us to just above!).
     
  12. Taluntain

    Taluntain Resident Alpha and Omega Staff Member ★ SPS Account Holder Resourceful Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) BoM XenForo Migration Contributor [2015] (for helping support the migration to new forum software!)

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