Ever feel like playing Dungeons and Dragon but simply do not have enough courage or friends to try? If you answered yes, you are in luck! The 1998 PC title, Baldur’s Gate, has been newly redone by the aptly named Overhaul Games in an Enhanced Edition for tablets and PCs. The original title, created by BioWare (before they were into creepy dating simulators), may just be your chance to venture into the world of TSR’s Dungeons and Dragons minus all of the dice and neckbearded basement dwellers.
Most of the changes found in Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition are in interface and graphics. The game now is able to be played on a high definition device or monitor without looking funky. It features the new ability to zoom in which looks about as good as zooming in on a grainy MSPaint drawing. Other than that, this is a combination of all of the previous expansions for the classic PC game of the 90′s. It also includes some new content in the form of character classes; a monk, a blackguard, and a wild mage. Along with this is also a new adventure in the form of “The Black Pits.” The Black Pits is a pit fighting game in which you create a full party to battle your way out of six hours of challenges. The Enhanced Edition also features many character classes previously only featured in Baldur’s Gate 2.
Baldur’s Gate runs on the 2nd edition Dungeons and Dragons or AD&D rule set. Rather than just managing your main character, which you can create or choose from pregenerated characters, you can manage an entire team of intrepid adventurers you meet along the way (or made up of your friends if you play multiplayer) each with their own distinct personality and play style. BioWare throws characters at you like crazy at the beginning, giving you a decent choice of who you want to adventure with. The game has a refreshing difficulty about it so expect to be reloading often and saving just as frequently. In order to regenerate spells for casters you have to sleep and there are chances (just as in real Dungeons and Dragons) to be ambushed by wild things or bandits. Combat can be paused in order to coordinate what each party member will do and if you do not utilize this feature expect to die. Overall, it is a satisfying experience gameplay wise.
The story in the game is equally as satisfying. At the beginning of the game’s story you are put into the role of an orphan boy or girl being brought up by an elderly wizard in Candle Keep, a monastery/keep that requires travelers to pay a heavy price to enter (A valuable book). He tells you one day you are to take some money and buy adventuring supplies, explaining nothing more. You travel forth and your adopted father is slain before even telling you why you left, leading the main character on an adventure to make a name for himself as well as discover the reason for his father’s death and why evil things are pursuing him. The story progresses and is interesting. Your character is given real choices which determine how a quest progresses and who lives or dies. I forgot to mention if your characters die they are expensive to bring back and if gibbed (basically chopped apart) they can never be returned. Dialogue is much better written than most modern games and is fun to read despite some of the endearing but cringe-inducing jokes that may have been better left at the developer’s gaming table rather than put into a game.
Graphics and audio are good, although the new zoom feature is ugly. At least each character can have his color customized, though. Gear also has visual effects on players. All characters are 2D sprites reminiscent of Diablo series and they look crisp and good in HD. Audio is great, voices are nice, and new characters are almost completely voice-acted which is a plus. Music is fitting and sets the mood for your adventures.
Overall, this is a great adventure into the world of The Forgotten Realms and is a must buy for all those who enjoy western style RPGs or D&D and have never touched the Baldur’s Gate series. If you have played the game before, look no further for a very well done update of the game that is stable on all platforms for the most part/
- Excellent graphics and audio
- 60+ hours of entertainment
- Great story and challenging gameplay
- Some of the jokes
- Zoom in feature is not exactly spectacular