I believe before this review is started I should address that I never played the original Baldur’s Gate, and I am reviewing this game based solely on present time and current opinions of it. I realize that the original Baldur’s Gate was a great stepping-stone for fantasy-based RPG’s, and shaped the way many similar games after it, and even to this time, are played.
Whew, ok, now that we got that out of the way, let’s get to this review! Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition is brought to you by Overhaul Games, and is your traditional Dungeons & Dragons Roleplaying system. You point, you click, crawl dungeons, collect gear; you know the deal.
If you are a new player to the series (or even this style of game), I highly recommend going through the provided Tutorial Mode first. I feel a lot of gamers consider themselves grizzled enough to tackle a new game without the provided tutorials, and so did I. Big mistake. After clicking around for what seemed like hours, I went back and went through the training, which provided a lot of insight into the mechanics of the game and a newfound appreciation for some of the intricacies I might have not noticed.
Let’s start with the sensory appeals of Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition. After looking through screenshots of the original version of Baldur’s Gate (released in 1998) there are definite improvements. Characters are sharper looking, textures have been smoothed out, and animations are cleaner. The game is still nothing “pretty” to look at though. You will not be telling your friends about the mind-blowing graphical appeal of this game. This is also a small blessing in disguise though, as users with “normal” computers can play it without a hitch. One phrase that kept bouncing around my head while playing was; “The game builds the levels and floors, while your mind builds the cathedrals.”
One aspect that did surprise me however was the voice acting, I was expecting rather typical, cookie cutter voice acting but was pleasantly surprised by the quality. Once again, nothing that will blow you away, but definitely good enough to keep the story going and interesting. Now to touch on the story just a bit as well as a more in-depth look at the combat system used in Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition. I will not really to get into the story, but will say that it is a rather standard story, but interesting and enjoyable, nonetheless.
Like mentioned near the beginning of the article, Baldur’s Gate uses a Dungeon & Dragons style system for combat. At any time during combat (or noncombat situations, as well), you can press the spacebar to pause the action entirely. This is extremely helpful, and quite necessary, as the game progresses during actual combat. Baldur’s Gate is as much about strategy as it is having awesome gear. Going into a fight bulked up on armor and weapons can only get you so far, but a clever and well thought out strategy will lend you victorious much more often. And trust me, even with well planned attacks, this game is HARD. Save often.
As you traverse through the world of Baldur’s Gate you will encounter many NPCs; some good, some bad, and some you can recruit to join your merry band of adventurers. Different characters have different strengths obviously, and picking your team out to yield the best results is half the fun of this game. In addition to picking out your squad, battle positions play an important roll as well. Obviously, you do not want your lightly armored mages up front, so make sure you get your tanks up front, someone who can deal loads of close range damage, while still being able to take a hit as well. And in case you didn’t catch it the first time: SAVE OFTEN. Baldur’s Gate is very very challenging and without care planning, and a little bit of luck, you’ll find yourself dying quite a bit.
My only major complaint with Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition would be the menu system. I found myself, even within the tutorial sometimes, having a hard time finding certain menu items I needed. The icons leave something to be desired, and the whole menu system is a little bit clunky. Sink 30+ hours into it and it comes second nature, but I was just having too many issues with it at first to say it isn’t somewhat flawed.
With Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition, players also receive a new game mode, The Black Pit. The Pit is basically putting you into 15 battles, each one getting continually more difficult. This is a good place to practice different styles and tactics before going back into the story mode. To sum everything up, Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition has stood the test of time well. It’s fun, challenging, and addicting. You could easily sink 100’s of hours into it. Will it appeal to the everyday gamer, maybe not, but for me this isn’t my typical style of game, but I truly found myself enjoying it. It’s opened my eyes up to a different kind of play experience and I look forward to future endeavors into this style of game.
Addicting gameplay, good voice acting
Clunky menu system, can be daunting for new players