This time on Games You Should Check Out, we take a look at an old, hardcore, often praised CRPG…
Baldur’s Gate Enhanced Edition for PC!
Baldur’s Gate is a CRPG that was released way back in the far off year of 1998.
Using the ever-popular Dungeons and Dragons as a base for it’s system(Which is Advanced Dungeons and Dragons 2nd Edition), it is considered one of the greatest, if not the best, RPG ever.
Years later, it was picked up by the developers of Beamdog, who took on the mantle to create Baldur’s Gate Enhanced Edition, adding on to the game with more party members, quests, dialogue, and tweaks and fixes.
I had played the original game years and years ago as a young lad, but never got very far.
When I said hardcore, I meant it.
This game is not for the faint of heart, even on the default difficulty.
Part of it is the fact that the D&D rule set it uses can be very unkind to beginner players, and even to those who know the system quite well.
Thankfully, the game doesn’t require too much foreknowledge of the system, telling you what each stat does, weapons, spells, through descriptions and tool-tips.
But despite this, the game also doesn’t really hold your hand. Take a wrong turn, say the wrong thing to someone or something, and it’s quite possibly game over!
With the Enhanced Edition, most things still hold true, just minor changes here and there, to make things more accessible for modern gamers.
It also introduces something new called the Black Pits, which I have yet to try out.
Starting a new game and creating your character, which, is one of the highlights of the game, you begin your journey through the world.
The game takes place in the popular Forgotten Realms fantasy setting, where elves, dwarves, halflings, and all of the other fantasy races that we know today reside.
The game uses an isometric view as your traverse the world, with buttons and hotkeys available to you to access further information, such as character stats and inventory.
As you start the game, you very quickly realize that you are being hunted for some unknown reason, and your adoptive father, a very powerful mage named Gorion, ushers you away from your home of Candlekeep.
There, you are attacked by your would-be kidnappers and… I will stop there.
This game is pretty story heavy, with plenty of dialogue, so those who don’t like to read, sorry!
There is voice acting in the game, fantastic voice acting, in fact, but this really only applies to most major NPCs, which is understandable, considering the sheer amount of dialogue in the game.
There are also a ton of party members to pick up, each with their own personalities and skills.
You can only have 6 party members max, including your created character, so you have to careful about who you want in your party.
But don’t worry, there are a multitude of character types and classes, so don’t think you have to create a certain character to get through the game.
This is another highlight of the game. The character interactions.
If you have played Bioware’s Dragon Age series, you are probably familiar with how your party banters and converses with each other.
The same happens here. In fact, I would say Bioware was probably inspired by Baldur’s Gate, but I can’t say for certain, of course.
It is so in-depth, that in many cases, your party members may end up hating each other, and possibly fighting to the death.
But, that’s what happens when you bring a psycho, evil necromancer to party up with a lawful, justice-seeking paladin!
Battles are pseudo real-time. The game uses a system of rounds and turns, but the action continues as you input commands, or let your party members do their own things.
You can freely pause as you wish, and even change the game to make it more turn-based if you wish.
The A.I. of your party members are extremely basic at times, with some degree of flexibility, but don’t expect Dragon Age style of A.I.
For most of the game, you will probably be pausing to input commands to each party member individually, which can slow down the game, but it is pretty much needed, as a single critical attack or spell can end your adventure in a hurry if you aren’t paying attention.
But in any case, any table top RPG’ers who have played Dungeons and Dragons, especially 2nd edition, will feel right at home here.
Familiar spells such as Magic Missile and Fireball are present, along with more elves and dwarves than you can shake a stick at.
If you have played old school Infinity Engine(that is the engine the game runs on) CRPG’s, like Icewind Dale and Planescape: Torment, you have probably played Baldur’s Gate already.
But what about new gamers, gamers who have perhaps played it in the past, and are looking to try the Enhanced Edition?
Or what about gamers who just never had a chance to play it?
I will say this.
If you love old-school RPG’s, play this. It’s amazing. The Enhanced Edition is, in my opinion, the version to play. It adds four new party characters and quests, and just makes the game a bit smoother to play for modern computer systems.
But, if you are more of a younger gamer, who doesn’t really know anything about old-school D&D or CRPG’s, definitely do your research before you buy.
You may love it, but then again, I can see people hating it as well.
As I discussed, this is a game of saving often and trying different tactics.
Being swarmed by kobolds around the corner? Try sending the mage to cast Sleep on them first, or perhaps chucking a fireball, as long as the rest of the party is clear.
Yep, friendly fire is very much a thing!
Maybe setting some traps with your thief and luring them into it? Perhaps trying to get them to a choke-point, so they can only come at you a few at a time.
You will probably save and load quite often, but with the advent of quick saves and loads, this is alleviated somewhat.
But all in all, this game is pretty fantastic, and definitely a gem of an RPG that most RPG enthusiasts should play through at least once.
There is also a second game, Baldur’s Gate II Enhanced Edition, which allows the story to continue all the way up to high levels, so if you love this game, get that one too!
Check it out on Steam and gog.com!