Cory and I have been battling our way through Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition, ostensibly to mine it for strip material. It’s actually a pretty difficult topic for satire. I mean, yeah, its systems are obscure at best and weirdly counter-intuitive at worst, it doesn’t have a plot as much as a series of glaring fantasy cliches arranged in a vaguely arc-like pattern and the interface, though improved from the decade-and-a-bit-old original, is still the very definition of clunky. But the game just doesn’t bear mockery. It’s too huge, too grand in scope, and perhaps too precious to an awkward, English teenager who needed an escape from the pressures of growing up. It wasn’t technically the best game of what many think is the golden age of Western RPGs. Daggerfall was bigger, Planescape told a better story (one that still stands as the best narrative in gaming), Fallout was funnier, Arcanum boasted a more interesting setting, Diablo was more fun and Icewind Dale had better multiplayer. The game’s own sequel was vastly more ambitious, improving on its predecessor in pretty much every aspect. Still, Baldur’s Gate was an important game, and poking fun at it almost seems petty.
TL:DR; no comic today, have some art and a wall of text instead.
On a positive note, the rise of kickstarter and the long-overdue acceptance of non-photo realistic 3D graphics means we might just see a resurgence in RPGs that sacrifice impressive presentation for actual depth. I’m not talking about Bethesda’s efforts, which are more or less sub-par action games which try to compensate for their lack of substance with sheer size; A pool that’s 8 miles wide and 3 inches deep is a shitty pool. Instead, I’m hoping to see games which take which take the spirit and mechanics of games like Baldur’s Gate and its ilk and run with them. Character-driven WRPGs are long overdue their Legend of Grimrock. Shadowrun Returns looks promising, but I admit I’m somewhat disappointed by the lack of multiplayer. It’s difficult to set up tabletop games of Shadowrun when my friends are an ocean or two away.