Baldur’s Gate I & II Enhanced Edition – Review
Follow Genre: Adventure RPG.
Developer: Beamdog
Publisher: Beamdog, Atari
Platform: PS4, Xbox One, Mac, PC, Switch, Android, iOS, Linux
Tested on: Xbox One

Baldur’s Gate I & II Enhanced Edition – Review

Site Score
7.9
Good: It's one of the highest rated traditional RPGs
Bad: it's really outdated, console version doesn't feel so good.
User Score
6.5
(2 votes)
Click to vote
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Rating: 6.5/10 (2 votes cast)

Baldur’s Gate is one of the very old games that people went haywire over because of how far ahead it was for its time. But that was in 1998, the year the original Baldur’s Gate got released. With the enhanced editions of Baldur’s Gate I and II being released, it’s a chance to revisit the game, as well as a good chance to play one of the highest-rated RPGs of all time. Just over twenty years later.

Story

It’s very helpful to know that the Baldur’s Gate series have been based upon the original classic Dungeons and Dragons rules (second edition), and this means that it’s a lot like classic tabletop gaming. But then, obviously, with a computer arranging everything. This means a couple of things. For one the combat is still turn-based but moves smoothly besides when you pause the game. For another, there’s a lot, A LOT, of story. You can barely turn your back without running into another sidequest or NPC that has some information.

This means that in total, you might be helping a kid find something, or defeat a bunch of hobgoblins to retrieve a ring, or whatever you might come to expect from a Dungeons and Dragons related quest. Besides, of course, following the main storyline that’s easy to forget about as you dive into literally anything else. Yes, an extensive RPG such as this one can be tedious if you don’t know (and love) what you are getting into. Besides an extensive amount of content, there’s also so much you will get to read. People talking to you, stat boxes, spell descriptions, and more. In many ways, it’s comparable to and a spiritual predecessor for games such as Divinity: Original Sin.

Graphics

Enhanced is a very timid word for a game that still looks good realizing it’s over twenty years old. And it’s a lot better than games that barely changed anything which call themselves ”remastered”. In this case, there’s mostly a whole array of details to be found in Baldur’s Gate. The citadels you visit, the forests, the familiar fantastic enemies such as a Beholder (that tentacle monster with a cyclops eye) all still look impressive. The collection is rich in its detail and upscaled enough to enjoy the graphics without being annoyed by overly pixelated scenes. The graphics are polished properly and have earned the title of enhanced.

Sound

All the sound is what you could expect from an experienced Dungeon Master who would like to enhance your tabletop gaming with sound. There’s music that indicates the difficulty and circumstances in certain areas, there are sounds of nature that influence what you can imagine, and there’s a lot of fighting sounds and such. Add to that voice acting for the start of NPC sentences, and there’s a whole package to give you a better D&D experience.

Gameplay

Baldur’s Gate is pretty complicated. It helps if you ever played Dungeons and Dragons, but if you didn’t you can still learn. It’s an adventure RPG with action elements. There’s a class system, a racial system, and more! This means that you will get to create a character or multiple characters who are each unique in their strengths and weaknesses, and you can even do things such as adding a background story for those creations. Since it all follows D&D rules, mages, for example, can do a lot of damage with their spells but are weak with their health points, which kills them easily. And death, at the start, truly means death.

In many ways, because of newer games, the gameplay feels somewhat archaic. Yes, it’s still somewhat relevant if you get to know the rules and mechanics, but it’s also a heap to find out for yourself. Especially on consoles, the lack of a free-moving cursor is infuriating. The optional things you can do such as reviewing your quests, your inventory, or choosing to rest, are all relocated on the console versions to a radial dial that can be summoned by the press of a button. Yet what you select is bound to your movement in all directions. You can, however, always pause the game at which point you do have a regular cursor to properly choose what you want to do. This is vital during combat as you will want to be able to give each of your party members different assignments. When not pausing, the game is just proper chaos with every bit of action unfolding at once.

When in combat, you can use learned spells, choose between ranged and melee weapons, and use characters their skills and traits to your advantage. When not in combat, most of the time you will be walking around maps to either find an objective or to get to the other side of the map, unlocking a new travel point. This type of exploring can be thrilling but also, at times, feel outdated like more of the game’s gameplay.

Set aside a few bugs and the adjustment time it will take you to properly get into Baldur’s Gate though, it’s still a very elaborate, proper RPG. Especially with the expansions included in both Baldur’s Gate I and II, there’s more content and text than you can handle. If you love to read and have never played it, it’s actually something you should definitely experience. Despite that, it feels outdated in its gameplay.

Conclusion

 

Baldur’s Gate offers a great deal of content with tons of adventures and text. The core mechanics are a bit outdated and play worse on consoles, but if you can see through those things there’s so much to make a proper RPG that’s very close to the original Dungeons & Dragons and even the one we know and love today. If you are looking to catch up on an old yet well-appreciated RPG, now is the time.

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Rating: 6.5/10 (2 votes cast)
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Baldur's Gate I & II Enhanced Edition - Review, 6.5 out of 10 based on 2 ratings
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Find me on youtube to see some playthroughs! https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCuBrlulGywcb0EiYWBnA1ng

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