Baldur’s Gate Enhanced Edition is an upgraded version of Bioware’s famous 1998 game, Baldur’s Gate. I will admit, I have not played the original and, if anything, when I played it back in 1998, I found the game rather dull and boring. Then again, I was 11. However, I can safely say that Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition is one of the best RPG’s I have played ever. Moreover, you can tell how in retrospect, Baldur’s Gate had a profound impact on all RPG’s coming forward even within Bioware’s own Mass Effect and Dragon Age. Thus, Baldur’s Gate can be described as nothing short of a legendary, but brilliant experience.
You start off by first creating your own character; you choose everything from gender, race, class, character alignment and starting skills/proficiencies. After you create your character you are presented with a cut scene in which a narrator tells the events of what has transpired. The game uses these narrating scenes between chapters to propel the larger story. These narrating scenes really work mostly due to excellent voice acting and showcase how you don’t need crazy action scenes or insane graphics to move along a story. After this initial cut scene, the story has you start off in castle/mission run by monks that who have raised you since childhood. Your father abruptly tells you must pack your things and leave the place that has shielded you for your entire life as there a new threat that arises that he doesn’t have time to explain to you.
From here on, the game has you control up to 6 characters at once, and this works well, especially since you can pause the game at any time and issue commands. This pause feature is similar to games such as Mass Effect or Dragon Age and makes managing your party much easier. Combat in Baldur’s Gate Enhanced Edition is incredibly strategically and where you position character is as important as what characters have equipped; your weaker and ranged units should always be kept back while your stronger characters with Hit points is should be up close to the combat. Without initially knowing this however, the game can be very difficult. Even on the normal setting, I saw myself dying a few times. Luckily, the game does auto-save and you are able to quick save which you will do, ALOT; I highly recommend on quick saving every possible chance available. Additionally, the game rewarding combat also rewards you with tons of loot and interesting items, including cursed items which have you, deal with them in often creative ways. Throughout your adventure you meet and add many different characters all with their unique abilities, items, spells, and personalities, making this game feel almost like Skyrim, but with a much more focused story. I won’t spoil the story, but I found that it took, at least two hours for me to get into the story.
The graphics in game are decent, for a 2D game, especially when taking into account how old the game engine is. The characters faces are blurry and impossible to make out, but this is remedied by the chance to upload your own custom portrait, which allows you as the player to superimpose your portrait face to the character you interact with in the game. I had no problem doing this and I found it believable, except if your character was a non-humanoid. This is important because unlike games such as Mass Effect where facial animations and voice acting add the games believability and immersion, this game does not and cannot immerse you in that way, but I’ll get to that later. The environmental detail is decent again for them being completely 2D and taking into account its age. The Enhance Edition however, allows you to zoom in and out, so if you cannot see something clearly or if you want to get a closer look at something you are definitely able too. The sound track and sound design on the other hand is excellent and one of the most memorable I have played yet in a game. When your party members speak they often say funny and/or memorable lines. These short dialogue sequences often help you feel more attached to the characters and everyone will have their favorites; mine was Xzar and Minsc.
The game has you interact with myriad of interesting characters all which help drive the main story and give you tons of side quests. The real way this game sucks you is the fantastic writing and interesting events that occur throughout the game. Often I would know where exactly to hand in a quest because I remember talking to that person and in a game where the characters don’t have disgusted faces, that is impressive to say the least. There is very little spoken dialogue in the game and this forces the player to read through almost all of what characters have to say. However, this works incredibly well and only adds to the games immersion, since you are imposing so much of your imagination while reading what these characters have to say.
Baldur’s Gate Enhanced Edition is quite possibly one of the best RPG’s I have played to date. This game shows how games can be awesome without amazing graphics or being completely voiced. While this game may not be for everyone, it was never intended to be a game meant for everyone. The original Baldur’s Gate was a hardcore RPG experience, and this iteration is no different. While the graphics and walls of text might turn off some gamers, if you can drive yourself through it, not only will you be totally surprised, as was I, but I promise you, this will be one of the most epic experiences that you can have in any RPG.
- Graphics 4/10 (Will not impress you with it’s amazing graphics.)
- Storyline: 10/10 (One of the best and memorable stories ever told.)
- Re playability: 9/10 (Countless characters to mix and match may making the possibilities seem limitless for your party of six.)
- Cost: $19.99 via Beamdog.com or Steam, iPad 9.99, Mac: Coming Soon, Android: Coming Soon
- Add-0ns: (If any) 8/10 (The new content is very good, especially the new characters and the Black Pits.)
- Recommend to a friend: Yes! (Was I not clear enough throughout the review?)
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