I told someone I would review the Kivan mod a couple years ago, well here it is:
*copied for easier viewing.
Name: Kivan and Deheriana (SoA)
Score: 80 %
The Kivan and Deheriana modification adds Kivan and, depending on your in-game decisions, Deheriana, his wife, to your game. The initial release of this mod in 2006 did not really impress me much but having played version 8 I can definitely say it is a giant improvement.
Kivan starts out with an interesting distribution of proficiencies that are not min-maxed but are still useful for most parties. For example, he gave me a reason to actually keep The Impaler since he has proficiency points in spear which is atypical. Additionally he’s not a stronger dual-class like Fighter/Mage. He’ll still rack up about 20% of your kills, not as dominant as he was in BG1 but better than some of the stock NPCs. Balance wise he is almost perfect, powerful enough that you aren’t gimped by him, but not a class ahead of the bhaalspawn.
Kivan by himself wouldn’t be the most creative mod ever, but with all the quests and tons of meaningful dialogue you can’t help but praise the author for the amount of genuinely cool ideas in the mod. Kivan’s Ranger Hood, for instance, reminds me much of the Aes Sedai Warders from Wheel of Time. Unfortunately some of the quests are not of the highest quality and a significant reliance on parentheticals leaves a little to be desired.
Dialogue & Quests: 15/20
Kivan’s dialogue is extremely well done, there is a lot of it but 90% of his actual dialogue is fairly engrossing. The author does a great job of showing an almost broken elf dealing with his best friend being a bhaalspawn and the death of his wife. He probably talks a bit too much for a ranger, but we’ll cut him some slack because he’s a nancy tree-loving elf. The quests ideas are interesting and have variable outcomes but never materialized correctly in my playthrough.
Parenthetical use has been significantly decreased from the initial release which was a welcome change. On the other hand many areas that could have been done with simple dialogue or in-game actions are instead done with parentheticals. There was one particular point where I thought I was going to be treated to an epic confrontation with some sweet dialogue and a little in-game cutscene but was instead treated to a . . . parenthetical. Not only was this lame but it made Kivan stick out like a sore thumb in comparison to the other characters. The quests don’t integrate that well into the game either, mainly because of suspect sound quality and timing. Most of the dialogue of Kivan himself is relevant and interesting without being overbearing which may make him worth your download.
It’s the BG1 portrait, so this category will not be evaluated.
The voiceover for Kivan himself is good and the music selection for his friendship/romance trees is excellent. Unfortunately the voicing on some of the added quests/characters could be better – the biggest problem is the inconsistent volume of some characters that were added.