Baldur's Gate II: Enhanced Edition Review - Old and Improved

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For the glory of Amn!

Eh, I already own the original. I've played, loved it, pulverized it.

Now might be a good time to dig it out and blow the dust off though.

Artemis923:
For the glory of Amn!

Eh, I already own the original. I've played, loved it, pulverized it.

Now might be a good time to dig it out and blow the dust off though.

Played through it not too long ago. It might even be better today, seeing as there is a lack of RPGs of this caliber nowadays.

It really is one of my all time favorite games.

The recommendation summary is perhaps a bit off, as one thing the review fails to mention is that BG2EE has externalized a lot of previously hard coded features. That means that the modding community - and by association people who play with mods - have more reason to use the Enhanced Edition than most.

The bugs are regrettable, but Beamdog has been pretty diligent in hunting down and eliminating those down in the past, so it doesn't bother me to much.

I actually finished reaplaying the BG series shortly before the first EE came out. Unfortunate timing because it left me little reason to buy the EE. If I ever get the inclination to replay Bulders Gate again I might pick this up but since it adds little I'm not going to replay the game just for it.

Nice, I got BG:EE back when it came out, now I shall have to get this one to.

I wish I could find a review somewhere from somebody who didn't grow up with/play it when they were younger.

Just 1 person who isn't full of nostalgia and actually has a first hand opinion that's actually relevant to the majority of people looking for a review of this game.

godofallu:
Just 1 person who isn't full of nostalgia and actually has a first hand opinion that's actually relevant to the majority of people looking for a review of this game.

I think my recommendation covered that point, at least in shorthand: If you're an RPGer who hasn't played Baldur's Gate, this is a great way to go. If you want a closer look at the original content, why not just read one of the many reviews that were written when it was new? I mean that completely sincerely - that part of the game has not changed, which is why I think you'll see most reviews waxing nostalgically about the original release and focusing their critical efforts on the new stuff.

Andy Chalk:

godofallu:
Just 1 person who isn't full of nostalgia and actually has a first hand opinion that's actually relevant to the majority of people looking for a review of this game.

I think my recommendation covered that point, at least in shorthand: If you're an RPGer who hasn't played Baldur's Gate, this is a great way to go. If you want a closer look at the original content, why not just read one of the many reviews that were written when it was new? I mean that completely sincerely - that part of the game has not changed, which is why I think you'll see most reviews waxing nostalgically about the original release and focusing their critical efforts on the new stuff.

The thing is when the game was new standards and graphics were different. What blows people away one day will seem like garbage a decade later.

I don't blame you for taking the review and you did the best you could have done given the circumstances. But I want to know if someone who wasn't there for the original and has the standards of today can go back to a game which frankly looks horrible and forgive it of it's glaring flaws.

I know a lot of times reviewers at companies will fight over who gets to review each game and it just seems like on every gaming website I checkout, the review of this game is always done by someone who absolutely loves and adores the original. If I was a game reviewer you can bet I would have fought for a chance to review Halo Anniversary. I get it and it's not necessarily a bad thing. I just wanted a fresh take and was disappointed when I didn't get it.

godofallu:
The thing is when the game was new standards and graphics were different. What blows people away one day will seem like garbage a decade later.

I don't blame you for taking the review and you did the best you could have done given the circumstances. But I want to know if someone who wasn't there for the original and has the standards of today can go back to a game which frankly looks horrible and forgive it of it's glaring flaws.

I know a lot of times reviewers at companies will fight over who gets to review each game and it just seems like on every gaming website I checkout, the review of this game is always done by someone who absolutely loves and adores the original. If I was a game reviewer you can bet I would have fought for a chance to review Halo Anniversary. I get it and it's not necessarily a bad thing. I just wanted a fresh take and was disappointed when I didn't get it.

BG2 wasn't revolutionary in terms of graphics, as far as I'm concerned. It was revolutionary in terms of what path it set for the genre regarding storytelling, gameplay and the like. That's what made it great, and still makes it great today.

Even the original BG2, with its "crappy graphics" can be played well enough with a couple of mods to take care of those issues. The beauty of BG2 is in the storytelling, the characters, the character interaction. I've seen few villains that were written as well as Jon Irenicus ever since, for example.

It's not one of the "classic" games because of how it looked, but because of what it is, the content is the mindblowing thing, not the wrapping it comes in.

That said, I will not be getting the EE, since I am happy enough with my original game, and the mods that were made for it ^^

Pity it's not coming to the PS3. I could just never get used to playing a game on a PC - it just doesn't feel right somehow.

godofallu:
I just wanted a fresh take and was disappointed when I didn't get it.

I can dig that, and it's not an unreasonable request. I think one of the obstacles you're up against is that BG2 is an absolute monster, and the imperative to get a review in for launch day (or awfully close to it) tends to exclude people who can't jump in and immediately start putting the boots to it. And I really do think that if you read a few reviews from back in the day, check out some screens, etc., you'll find as much value as you would from a "modern" review.

Plan B: Try the demo. http://www.fileplanet.com/164134/160000/fileinfo/Baldur's-Gate-II-Demo-[Full-Install]

Vegosiux:
Even the original BG2, with its "crappy graphics" can be played well enough with a couple of mods to take care of those issues. The beauty of BG2 is in the storytelling, the characters, the character interaction. I've seen few villains that were written as well as Jon Irenicus ever since, for example.

I agree with your points about the story, character interaction, Irenicus, etc., but I would argue that BG2 (and BG) are really beautiful games, far more so than, say, Neverwinter Nights or Dragon Age. They're 2D and the character models lack the detail of newer games, but the hand-painted backdrops are gorgeous and the EE does a very nice job of "remastering" them. Coupled with support for hi-res, widescreen monitors, I think it looks absolutely fantastic.

Ever since this game was released on GOG, I've tried several times to get into it, but I just can't.

The gameplay is waaaay too confusing to me, I didn't grew up with D&D and I don't want to learn all the rules just for 2 games. But the thing is, I'm not avert to old RPGs, I absolutely love Fallout 1/2, but I just can't get into both BG's and it's a shame, because of how much I hear "the best thing ever" and I won't be able to enjoy it.

SupahGamuh:
The gameplay is waaaay too confusing to me, I didn't grew up with D&D and I don't want to learn all the rules just for 2 games.

You do have to be willing to learn the basics, but it's not necessary to be a hardcore number-cruncher or put together optimal builds to succeed in the game. It throws a lot of stats and numbers at you (THAC0 is still a thing in BG2) but you can get by on common sense: Your fighter rocks a sword, your thief gets leather armor, mages at the back, etc. It'll be a tougher experience for you, at least at first, but I bet it would be manageable. And honestly, if you can handle Fallout, BG2 should be no problem.

OTOH, not every game is for everyone. I love Baldur's Gate, but Dragon Age: Origins put me to sleep. Sometimes a game just doesn't click. I will say, to you and everyone, that if you find yourself getting bogged down and losing interest in BG2 in the opening dungeon, stick with it. It's a relatively small area and it leads directly into Athkatla, which is where the game really comes alive. If Athkatla can't fire your interest then you might as well pack it in, but you're shortchanging yourself if you give up before that point.

SupahGamuh:
Ever since this game was released on GOG, I've tried several times to get into it, but I just can't.

The gameplay is waaaay too confusing to me, I didn't grew up with D&D and I don't want to learn all the rules just for 2 games. But the thing is, I'm not avert to old RPGs, I absolutely love Fallout 1/2, but I just can't get into both BG's and it's a shame, because of how much I hear "the best thing ever" and I won't be able to enjoy it.

I do completely agree with you, if you dislike the D&D rules this probably won't be a game for you. I know I hated the game when it first came out until my friend loaned me a copy of his DnD books, then I understood the game better.

godofallu:
I wish I could find a review somewhere from somebody who didn't grow up with/play it when they were younger.

Just 1 person who isn't full of nostalgia and actually has a first hand opinion that's actually relevant to the majority of people looking for a review of this game.

I didn't. Let this go with a disclaimer that I haven't beaten the game.

Characters have a lot to say, which is pleasant, and party interactions can be cool. The ruleset is horrible and ancient (although I think the only CRPG that really did a modified DnD ruleset kinda well was KotoR2). The game is intensely slow; fights are slow, walking around is slow, and it can feel like a slog. The UI is kinda shit.

The best thing I can say about it is that the characters are cool and talkative, but I don't find them particularly interesting. For several of them, it feels more like seeing archetypes that I enjoy than feeling like my characters are people. The combat can be engaging, but also clunky and irritating in that way. My summation is that it's expansive, clunky, and shows it's age. I'm not necessarily sure whether I'm ready to call it bad or good yet, though; I'm divided on that front.

So I feel like the characters don't really break out of their tropes, the UI is shit, the game is sluggish in terms of traveling and fighting, I don't find the way the ruleset is used in the game to be that great, and god damn does the game feel slow. On the other hand, you do get a LOT of character interaction, which is fun, and the characters interact with each other, sometimes to the point of having to fight to the death to settle some beef. It's a large game, and the combat, while feeling slow, can also be pretty engaging at times.

My feeling is generally that it's worth a go if you feel curious, but I don't think it's the best CRPG experience you could have.

I'd have been satisfied with one of the following:

1)Infinite bag of holding.
2)More traveling salesmen who'd buy whatever shit you were carrying.

Never played either Baldurs Gate games, though I have both the originals from GOG.com in my to play list. I just haven't been able to get the mods that make the resolution and on screen writing a bit more comfortable for me to work properly as yet. From the sounds of it might me easier for me to pick up the enhanced editions and save myself some time tinkering with mods.

SupahGamuh:
Ever since this game was released on GOG, I've tried several times to get into it, but I just can't.

The gameplay is waaaay too confusing to me, I didn't grew up with D&D and I don't want to learn all the rules just for 2 games. But the thing is, I'm not avert to old RPGs, I absolutely love Fallout 1/2, but I just can't get into both BG's and it's a shame, because of how much I hear "the best thing ever" and I won't be able to enjoy it.

I played through both the original games, Icewind Dale and Planescape torment (all of which use the D&D ruleset) without so much as knowing what the THAC0 is, and without any indepth knowledge of the AD&D rules. What I *did* have to learn was to map quick save and quick load and use both, a lot.

Other than that, though, especially on BGII, where you're of a fairly high level and able to use a lot more of D&D's bag of tricks, you can get through it just as well. Some of it is trial and error, more of it is actually being prepared for anything (which is where BGI falls short ruleswise. A Thief character is virtually useless at low levels, for example), preparing before a foreseen battle (with good preparation and a litle luck, a smart use of a party can fell a dragon in seconds, for example, so smarts do trump raw power.) and using save a lot to always have the bearings of all party members.

The point being that you don't necessarily have to know the ruleset or the inner math of the thing. And though it can lead to nasty spoilers, I'd say to play with the second game first to get your bearings as the higher levels make it so you have more options and the mistakes are more forgiving. Or better yet, get Icewind Dale, as it's much more combat oriented and it allows you to level up fast, and might be a good way to get yourself aquainted with the inner workings.

Zeldias:

godofallu:
I wish I could find a review somewhere from somebody who didn't grow up with/play it when they were younger.

Just 1 person who isn't full of nostalgia and actually has a first hand opinion that's actually relevant to the majority of people looking for a review of this game.

I didn't. Let this go with a disclaimer that I haven't beaten the game.

Characters have a lot to say, which is pleasant, and party interactions can be cool. The ruleset is horrible and ancient (although I think the only CRPG that really did a modified DnD ruleset kinda well was KotoR2). The game is intensely slow; fights are slow, walking around is slow, and it can feel like a slog. The UI is kinda shit.

The best thing I can say about it is that the characters are cool and talkative, but I don't find them particularly interesting. For several of them, it feels more like seeing archetypes that I enjoy than feeling like my characters are people. The combat can be engaging, but also clunky and irritating in that way. My summation is that it's expansive, clunky, and shows it's age. I'm not necessarily sure whether I'm ready to call it bad or good yet, though; I'm divided on that front.

So I feel like the characters don't really break out of their tropes, the UI is shit, the game is sluggish in terms of traveling and fighting, I don't find the way the ruleset is used in the game to be that great, and god damn does the game feel slow. On the other hand, you do get a LOT of character interaction, which is fun, and the characters interact with each other, sometimes to the point of having to fight to the death to settle some beef. It's a large game, and the combat, while feeling slow, can also be pretty engaging at times.

My feeling is generally that it's worth a go if you feel curious, but I don't think it's the best CRPG experience you could have.

This is your review of the first game, the second one, or the "franchise" in general? Because I can see where a lot of these criticisms can come from in terms of the original, which had a great story, but somewhat stereotypical characters. To me, BGII is where the magic truly happened, once you had he ability to romance, sort through the characters backstories (and even watch them romance each other despite yourself), and just be generally driven insane by Jan Jansen. Because turnip obsessed verbose gnome mage inventors can really liven up a party. And it was also where you started with a much more generous bag of tricks to play with, so that you had a few more options in how to go about things. Replaying BGI really had me wondering back at how restrictive being a low character can be, especially in a game world that is very unforgiving.

Andy Chalk:
Baldur's Gate II: Enhanced Edition Review

An old game best suited for a new audience

Read Full Article

Do you think this is a good game to get if you've never played Balder's Gate before like me? I was thinking of getting the first one but my brother talked me out of it because he said it was too difficult and I would just end up regretting the buy. So, should I get this game as a massive RPG fan, how difficult is it, and what exactly is the price?

CmRet:
Do you think this is a good game to get if you've never played Balder's Gate before like me? I was thinking of getting the first one but my brother talked me out of it because he said it was too difficult and I would just end up regretting the buy. So, should I get this game as a massive RPG fan, how difficult is it, and what exactly is the price?

If you're a massive RPG fan, then yes, this is a must-play game, and the Enhanced Edition is a good way to get into it because it offers all the major technical upgrades without making you horse around with patches and mods. It can be an unforgiving game compared to more modern fare like Dragon Age, which will nurse you through from start to finish, and the AD&D ruleset is arcane, but there's a difficulty slider that will smooth things out and for the most part (as someone else mentioned), common sense and an occasional glance at the handbook will get you through.

And since we're making recommendations, I'd suggest playing the whole thing through from the start of BG1 to the end of ToB. It'll take you a month or so, but it's also a wonderfully epic and complete RPG experience. BG2 stands perfectly well on its own, but it's tough to go back to the original if you've done BG2 first.

CmRet:

Andy Chalk:
Baldur's Gate II: Enhanced Edition Review

An old game best suited for a new audience

Read Full Article

Do you think this is a good game to get if you've never played Balder's Gate before like me? I was thinking of getting the first one but my brother talked me out of it because he said it was too difficult and I would just end up regretting the buy. So, should I get this game as a massive RPG fan, how difficult is it, and what exactly is the price?

If you don't mind getting the major plot twist of the first game spoiled for you, I'd say that BGII is by far the most accessible and intuitive, if nothing else, because you start out with a more powered party and get access to a lot more tools in the arsenal. That said, you'll miss one hell of a game should you go that path, as you won't have the same incentive.

If you don't mind that, then the game does a pretty good job of recapping previous events, so, if you decide to skip the first game, you'll only miss out in the sense that you won't quite know why you should feel connected to your party members. Kind of like starting Mass effect on the second game, in many ways.

And finally, for what it's worth, I must've finished the game some 5 times and still find new stuff and new ways to go about it.

Reed Spacer:
Pity it's not coming to the PS3. I could just never get used to playing a game on a PC - it just doesn't feel right somehow.

whaa.. I.. But.. I don't even.. nvm

Baldur's Gate 2 especially is my favorite game of all time and Its brilliance has yet to be matched by any other game. I would recommend this to anyone looking for a grand gaming experience.

Huh, would have though Bif the Understudy would have popped up in the case of the missing NPC's. x) I liked the idea of the Enhanced Editions, but, I've played (and bought even!) the series enough times that even with the new content is not really worth it for me.

Though, I wonder if they have any plans to make their own sequel or spin-off? Seems like a good place to start, and hey, Kickstarter. (Though there are a few BG stlye thingies running around already on there.)

Andy Chalk:
And honestly, if you can handle Fallout, BG2 should be no problem.

With Fallout it's a bit curious, because Fallout 3 was my introduction to the series (still my favorite) and I already knew the basics heading into Fallout 1/2, I already knew how rads worked and how to cure or at least lower them, I already knew how to heal, how many points did I needed to do certain situations, when and where to bring certain weapons and also the game is already turn-based, so I don't need to constantly press Space each milisecond to do stuff.

In BG, I don't know how to replenish my mages skills/magic, for example, I don't know how to revive my party members, heck, I don't know how to replenish their health and my only alternative is to map the quick-save and quick-load to the left and right mouse buttons.

Granted, FO1/2 did needed their fair share of QS/L, but I didn't feel cheated in those games, I didn't feel the need to do so each 5 steps I took.

Also, I can play Dragon Age all day, wich is much easier for me, so there's that.

Still waiting on my favourite mod being made compatible with the first games EE edition before I buy it, but once it is I plan to pick both it and BG2:EE up for another epic playthrough.

Should be fun, and hopefully by then they'll have the bugs ironed out.

SupahGamuh:
In BG, I don't know how to replenish my mages skills/magic, for example, I don't know how to revive my party members, heck, I don't know how to replenish their health and my only alternative is to map the quick-save and quick-load to the left and right mouse buttons.

Sleep. In answer to a lot of the above the answer is sleep. How do you replenish spells? By sleeping. Heal? Healing spells, and if those are out then sleeping. Revive? They're not being revived, they're dead. Dead as a doornail, and if you want them back from the dead there's only one thing to do: Find yourself a priest.

In Baldur's Gate 2 you'll eventually get the spells to raise dead yourself so it's less of an ordeal, but in the first BG game if someone dies you need to grab their stuff and make your way to a temple. It costs a small fortune to get someone raised from the dead but that's how you do it...

Unless they got murdered in the most horrific ways possible: disintegration, explosion, chopped into tiny bits, etc. Then they're dead permanently. They might've also gotten turned to stone, in which case you need to cast stone to flesh or find a scroll of that spell. Don't think it happens in BG1, but in 2 there's also the possibility of being banished to another dimension, in which case you need another specific spell to undo that.

There's a lot of ways to die in Baldur's Gate. Mostly unpleasant.

The Madman:
Still waiting on my favourite mod being made compatible with the first games EE edition before I buy it, but once it is I plan to pick both it and BG2:EE up for another epic playthrough.

Should be fun, and hopefully by then they'll have the bugs ironed out.

SupahGamuh:
In BG, I don't know how to replenish my mages skills/magic, for example, I don't know how to revive my party members, heck, I don't know how to replenish their health and my only alternative is to map the quick-save and quick-load to the left and right mouse buttons.

Sleep. In answer to a lot of the above the answer is sleep. How do you replenish spells? By sleeping. Heal? Healing spells, and if those are out then sleeping. Revive? They're not being revived, they're dead. Dead as a doornail, and if you want them back from the dead there's only one thing to do: Find yourself a priest.

Well, except if they get hit by a basilisk and then shattered. Or gibbed by an ogre. Or randomly start murdering each other but it was totally Edwin's fault for badmouthing Minsc's girlfriend.

GothmogII:

Well, except if they get hit by a basilisk and then shattered. Or gibbed by an ogre. Or randomly start murdering each other but it was totally Edwin's fault for badmouthing Minsc's girlfriend.

Dynaheir sucks, I'm totally with Edwin on this one. Minsc was better off without her and Aerie makes a better witch anyway.

Damn, this reminds me just how much I miss characters having personality in rpgs. Nowadays unless you purposely antagnonise them your companions in rpg are there to stay, but in Baldur's Gate? Hell no. Maybe they don't like you, maybe they don't like your companions, maybe they've just got other places to be, hell, maybe you got into an argument with them and they try to kill you! Point being they're not always guaranteed to stick around, they've got their own agenda's and their world doesn't just revolve around you. I like that, made them feel more alive than just being some talking meat-puppet that follows you around.

Pretty much the only companion that's guaranteed to stick with you is Imoen, and that's because she's your sister.

I might pick this up, great memories of the original apart from a couple of niggles that drove me nuts at the time.

1) Importing a character only to find pretty much all my gear had been yoinked by effectively DM fiat. I've known a few groups where a DM pulling this out of the blue would have gotten them lynched, unless the Dm did it in a very well thought out manner beyond 'yeah, these guys knock you out ad take your stuff'.

2) every damn mage in the game suddenly getting three our four protective spells cast on themselves as soon as they catch sight of you. unless you were prepared for this (IE your casters had memorized nothing but protection stripping spells) it turned any situation where you were expected to fight multiple mages a slog. One in particular turned into 'clear room, rest to get all your anti protection spells back, move to next room, repeat'.

The Madman:

Wow... I knew the game would be hardcore, but not THAT hardcore. Man, it's stuff like this that makes me sad I haven't played it yet, or at least, not gotten into it as much as I'd like to. I'll do a re-install whenever possible, thank God I've been quite busy on my new job and I'll try to be more patient this time around (or just remap quick save/load to left/right mouse click).

Don't mess with Minsc's pet...or bad things will happen.

OT: I enjoyed both Baldur's Gate and Icewind Dale games growing up. I was more in favor of Icewind Dale cause of the fact you can create your own balanced party and it is more combat oriented. Baldur's Gate was more for the interaction, and you've got to admit, the artwork for the characters was awesome! I mean, how else would I be able to have a fun Barbarian w/o saying a Minsc quote here or there?

Windknight:

2) every damn mage in the game suddenly getting three our four protective spells cast on themselves as soon as they catch sight of you. unless you were prepared for this (IE your casters had memorized nothing but protection stripping spells) it turned any situation where you were expected to fight multiple mages a slog. One in particular turned into 'clear room, rest to get all your anti protection spells back, move to next room, repeat'.

It's a high level spell called contingency, it allows you to prepare a few spells in advance and give them a trigger for going off. You get it yourself later on, very handy. I always kept a few energy protection spells tucked away with it.

Also if you know they're there you can kill enemy mages easily. They'll only trigger contingency if they spot you, so it's possible to sneak a rogue or invisible character close to a mage and take em out quick. Alternatively if you know a room is full of them just stand outside the doorway and chuck a few fireballs inside. Might not kill em all, but it'll certainly hurt em and make it easier to slaughter them later.

Neat stuff like this is why I love Baldur's Gate 2's gameplay, even if it can be a bit archaic at times.

Also there's a handy mod out there called tactics which adjusts the gameplay to put the player and NPC on more even footing, though it also makes the game considerably harder and I doubt it's compatible with the Enhanced Edition yet.

So once again it does nothing that hasn't already been done years ago by entirely free mods. Why the hell would anyone be willing to pay money for this crap?

Oh baldurs gate 2.

I remember in the town at the very start of the game, you can go into a house that has a lich in it which is one of the the most badass enemies in the game. If you can, you can kill it, get a shitload of experience and an amazing ring so this thing isn't just a "welp you shouldn't have gone here, now you dead lol" trap. Mostly.
You could also cheese dragons with the spell that stupifies them forever for another mountain of experience points.

You could even export and reimport your character and level him to maximum that way if you want your guy to be a badass because the game designers didn't piss their pants at the concept of someone "breaking the system" and focused on making the world as great as possible instead of wasting time hermetically covering their game so that it may only be played the "correct" way.

Stuff like that doesn't exist in modern rpgs anymore.
Nowadays, it's all just a grind through homogenized hordes of enemies with barely any high risk high reward possibilities like that.

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