Okay, I was bored, so I picked it up. I'll post some, probably disjointed, impressions.
The first thing that hits you is the absolutely INCREDIBLE amount of races and classes you can play. There's like 30 classes (a lot of them prestige though), and something like 15 races to play. Lots of customization options. Tons of feats and skills. Background feats that actually play through in the game (I took Militia background, and the entire tutorial makes mention of the fact that you're a militia member, so you have to help when the village gets attacked, etc.)
Very well done.
Graphically the game is nice, very nice. Strangely, however, this graphical nicety comes at an absolutely absurd technical cost. I don't have the world's greatest rig (64-3500xp, 1 Gig, 7900GT OC) but I do think that I the game should run a bit more smoothly than it does now. It's fine in dungeons, it chops a little in the first village, but when I went into the swamp area, my framerates were a solid <10fps.
Now, this doesn't matter terribly much since it's an RPG, but I'm not really sure what this game does that eats so much power when every other game runs pretty smooth on my system. (Gothic 3 notwithstanding).
Sound is okay, although for some INSANE FUCKING REASON the battle "music" isn't music at all, it's considered a "sound effect."
Couple that with the fact that it's the most excruciatingly irritating piece of music ever heard in a computer game, and it gets annoying really fast, and you can't turn it down with the music slider, you have to use the sound effects slider, which ofcourse also kills every other useful sound in the game. Brilliant thinking there.
A nice tutorial, actually pretty fun to play. Good voice acting, at least what I've heard so far.
They've made some changes from the NWN method of doing things, and I'm not sure they're all that much of an improvement. Despite the fact that the manual claims that "everything is now just two clicks away," that's actually not true. Summoning my animal companion takes three, for example.
I liked the radial menu better, I think.
Poor inventory management system, imo, it just seems archaic. Individually dragging items to a fellow party member may have been super cool back in the 90s, but now I'm just getting kind of annoyed with it. Also, if I'm on one side of the cemetary, and the dwarf is on the other side being mauled by zombies, I shouldn't be able to shift healing potions into his inventory. That just seems very odd.
Same world travel system as BG2, ie, no wandering around, you zoom between small pockets of land. I've never much liked that system, although I guess it works fairly well. It just seems to lack the sense of exploration.
And last but not least, while the story is well told (so far anyways), and had one pretty big surprise in it right at the start, which I won't spoil, it really feels "been there, done that."
Your village is attacked by evil creatures, looking for magical item X, you take the item to find wizard Y in city Z, along the road you find companions A, B, and C etc etc etc. Yawn.
You get sent off alone on the road to Neverwinter, and for a moment I thought "Cool, have to hide, can't fight alone, at least something new."
So ofcourse, your very first next stop is at an inn, where your next party member conveniently stands outside picking a fight with three bandits, so you can help him, and the two of you become friends.
Your next party member is one screen further, where she is being attacked by bandits, so you can help her, and the two of you become friends, except the first party member doesn't much like her.
Are we starting to see a pattern here? Never mind the fact that the second party member, the thiefling rogue, is EXACTLY the same character as the tiefling you partied with in Planescape Torment. I mean, EXACTLY the same. Probably even has the same voice actress.
So then I do some quests, and now I'm in a dungeon, fighting skeletons and zombies.
You know, it's fun, I won't deny that, at least the battles are harder this time, though having two archers in my party probably doesn't help against skeletons, but it all feels SO done before. They really need to just junk AD&D, and start working on some fresh RPG material for the PC, because the whole D&D thing is getting very boring.
Yay, new spells, 2nd level, let's see, I guess knock and melf's acid arrow will work again...
It's a good game, steep on the requirements side for no discernible reasons, it's a good RPG, but if you're getting a bit weary of the D&D thing, you'll probably have the same deja vu overload that I'm having. Up to you whether you can live with that or not.
I'll finish it, it's good enough for that, but I'm waiting on Dragon Age for something fresh.