:: RPG Source :: View Review :: Baldur's Gate
Short: Difficult DnD-game, mostly because of gameplay issues.
Longer: This game begins nicely when you're making your own character using the DnD (2nd ed) rules. However I've never been a fan of DnD, the rulebooks I've read and the games I've played based on it has always been too combat oriented for my tastes. This is probably becasue DnD wasn't my first RPG, but a game called "Drakar och Demoner" (trans. "Dragons and Demons") was and it was skill-based rather than level based (i.e. it had all those useless skills like geography, history, fast talk etc. etc. that you don't like when you're out for some hack 'n slashing when you're a newbie but brings unlimited possibilities when you've grown out of the powergaming.). No whow does this relate to this review? Probably not much but I still wanted to make the background clear, and also make it clear that if I praise this game it isn't because I was a DnD-freak once (or still am).
When you've finally made your character you find yourself with some nice little story to pick things up immediately. Your father is murdered and you're not very happy about it. After this you find yourself in a wood and some wolves attack you. This is when you restart the first time and make a Fighter instead of the sneaky thief/wise mage/witty bard you had set out to make, it also shows the greatest drawbacks of the whole game, a thing that many a game falls on. Gameplay.
The Battles are just a pain, you either win or you lose and there's not much you can do about it. Atleast not the first several frustrating attempts I made of playing this game. But then I found a little thing that probably isn't intended but makes the battles a whole lot easier (and makes me want to try the game without any companions at all 8^). Now follows a tip for everyone who has been frustrated by this game:
Hide in Shadows. Scout area ahead with the sneaking option, people who talk to you automatically and become enemies (there's a lot of them) won't see you even after they've had their conversation. Then have a bow or other nice weapon and shoot One arrow at one enemy keep the other enemies out of sight since they won't attack if you can't see them. This one guy will follow you. Run away (if you have boots of speed, so much the better) and hide again, the character following you will have no idea where you are. Repeat until all enemies are dead. This works best if you are in a place where you can hide behind walls or the like otherwise you might have to run for quite a bit. On the later half of the game I used this technique to kill virtually anyone in the game, (except in the what I call "the Duke Battle" because it didn't work there).
On with the review. Apart from a frustrating battle system that is faithful to the DnD-system this game offers a lot to explore, beautifully made maps with towns that have the weirdest architecture, but still looks good. (I loved Beregost for example) However the game is also quite linear and all the side quests (there are many) are quite the same: "Get this for me", "Kill that for me", "Kill that AND get that for me". The game is linear in the respect that there usually isn't more than one way to accomplish a certain task. Also when you find yourself facing the lot of assassins that are after you there's no way of talking yourself out of it, no matter what you say they will attack you.
Now you probably think that I think this game sucks big time. Well yes it certainly seems so but nevertheless, this game isn't All bad. The game's plot (when it appears) isn't too bad, in fact it's rather exciting with all kinds of twists and turns (though most of the twists are quite obvious). The map design and other graphics are also as good as 2d gets in my opinion, and I can't really say the sound sucks either (though the character's "Alright", "I've done had enough of this", "I've seen enough waking hours slave-driver" can get to your nerves eventually).
If you want a better RPG than this I suggest Fallout, Arcanum or PlaneScape Torment. If you want a better hack 'n slash than this I suggest Diablo. I fyou want the best of two worlds you will be disappointed but if you want the average of two worlds then this is just for you.
(Oh and if you actually LIKE the DnD system then I guess this is for you aswell)
|By Shinan (30/7/2003)|