Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition Review

Baldur’s Gate has been a role-model for RPG titles for a decade now. Dragon Age: Origins, Neverwinter Nights 2 and many other titles borrow RPG elements from the original Baldur’s Gate, which truly made them amazing titles. Baldur’s Gate Enhanced Edition developed by Overhaul Games  is exactly the same title with a lot of cool features added to the mix.

Primarily, it should be noted there are several changes from the original Baldur’s Gate. There is a new adventure called: “The Black Pits”, a few new characters  like Dorn Il-Khan, Neera the Wild Mage, and Rasaad Yn Bashir. A wide array of voice settings for characters, and support for high-resolution widescreen has also been added. Furthermore, multiplayer support has been improved greatly from the original Baldur’s Gate, and in general about 400 improvements have been made overall.

These changes are not very apparent, especially to those who have never played the title before. However, one thing is for certain, story mode does have a multiplayer mode that does operate well, and the widescreen display is a plus regardless of how old the graphics look.

During story mode, players take upon themselves the role of Halen – an orphan with a mysterious past- as he is living with Gorion – an old mage and caretaker of orphans in Candlekeep. Mysteriously, many incidents start occurring within the world and Candlekeep becomes a very dangerous place for Halen as spies try to kill him. Gorion discovers this very quickly, forcing Halen to escape the city, and avoid getting killed.

Even though Halen’s adventure is intriguing and has a lot of lore, the adventure itself is very frustrating.  Be prepared to die a great deal of times with little to no mercy and little to no reason why. Many of the party members have almost no connection to Halen, and even when they do, most of the party members use Halen to help them rather than vice versa. There are even spies that come after Halen, or another party member for reasons unknown, which usually ends up having to either flee from the battle, or dying a tragic death. Sadly, the quest are no better either. Most of them do not make any sense until the player explores for hours upon ends, and when they do finish it, the rewards are meaningless.

However, on the plus side killing and getting ambushed by spies are very suspenseful. Stealing items from houses upon houses as well build the type of reputation the party has, and the way citizens react to the party in each town gives a chance for multiple playthroughs.  The books that are buyable add a great deal of information on important objects, weapons, very similar to what was done with Dragon Age.

Gameplay wise, battles seems a bit broken even for old day standards. It is extremely difficult, with little to no mercy as stated earlier. Most of the weapons that are buyable from stores are expensive, and have little to no usefulness. Leveling up takes more grinding than the average Dragon Quest title that was released on the Super Nintendo. Sometimes enemies can kill most of party members in one hit, and sometimes Halen is extremely outnumbered, and occurs until the end of the journey.

Additionally, the weapon system does not make sense. Apparently, a weapon that cost 900 gold is weaker than a weapon that cost 27 gold against certain enemies. Or how using a shield and armor against weaker enemies can one hit kill you.

In addition, there are so many different statistics and screens that they leave players bewildered. For example, the weapon stats state that players attack is “1D6″ or something along that line, but the tutorial does not explain what that means at all. Or how there is not quick key for using items on the spot like there was in Dragon Age.

The new features are lovely to say the least, well for fans. One of which happens to be the Pitts -  in short is a blood bath arena. In short, in terms of today, it would be considered as a horde mode that is in Gears of War franchise. It is enjoyable for most who love the battle system.

Graphics and audio has been greatly improved as well. Many characters contain voice acting. However, it is very disappointing to see that not all of the characters within the game has voice acting.

Sadly, this is the same for the graphics. Pixels can be seen within widescreen display. Character models look ugly, and the environment themselves do not look any better. As stated earlier, in this day and age, seeing HD graphics is crucial.

The multiplayer does not seem to be on the good side either. Players need the IP address of another player to connect to a game, which is something was not doable in this review.

Overall Baldur’s Gate Enhanced Edition is a title that shouldn’t be picked up unless you are fan of the original. It does bring a lot to the table, but not enough to state that it is still a better game than the games that borrowed many of its features, like Dragon Age: Origins. Sadly, the main issue within Baldur’s Gate is that it is outdated in every sense. Everything that it enhances, from the area, to its graphics and audio has already been done, and several times. Multiplayer is very disappointing considering that Overhaul utilized BeamDog.

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