One of the advantages of PCs being everywhere is that PC games with a relatively limited audience can make a comeback and players who were, say, five when they came out can get a crack at them. Probably the most prominent of these is Baldur’s Gate, where BioWare really got its start and widely considered one of the best PC RPGs of all time.
How has it held up, in the intervening decade or so?
Surprisingly well, actually. The “Enhanced” refers to new content added and the graphics getting an HD scrub, but they’re not significantly changed from their original versions. In fact, aside from a few tweaks for the sake of usability, this is largely the game as you remembered it, voice acting, music, and all. You’ll still be balancing your party, trying to please five jerks at once, and generally getting the experience of playing a D&D game, except on your computer and with less alcohol.
There are some nice subtle improvements, however. For one thing, they’re still sticking to the 2nd Edition rule set, but they’ve expanded character selection substantially. You’re no longer limited to the base classes, and it really helps give the game a degree of freshness. Also of note is quite a lot of Baldur’s Gate II is here, in terms of interface and gameplay.
Some things, oddly, were not fixed. The AI pathfinding is just as bad as you remember it being; you’ll still be retrieving party members humping trees and rocks. Similarly, your ranged characters require a close eye because they won’t automatically switch to the next ranged weapon with ammo when their one attack runs dry, but instead wade in with a melee weapon.
Speaking of combat, it’s… deliberate. If you grew up playing twitch games, or really like Skyrim, the mix of turn-based and real-time combat is going to feel weird, but you get into the groove quickly, especially as you start finishing sidequests and gather enough experience to not be killed every ten minutes.
If you loved it back in the twentieth century, you’re still going to love it now. And if you like deep, rich RPGs and never got a chance to try this one, now would be the perfect time.
I want more like this!
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