Baldur's Gate II: Enhanced Edition Review - Old and Improved

Andy Chalk

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Nov 12, 2002
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Andy Chalk said:
Baldur's Gate II: Enhanced Edition Review

An old game best suited for a new audience

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Do you think this is a good game to get if you've never played Balder's Gate before like me? I was thinking of getting the first one but my brother talked me out of it because he said it was too difficult and I would just end up regretting the buy. So, should I get this game as a massive RPG fan, how difficult is it, and what exactly is the price?
 

Andy Chalk

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CmRet said:
Do you think this is a good game to get if you've never played Balder's Gate before like me? I was thinking of getting the first one but my brother talked me out of it because he said it was too difficult and I would just end up regretting the buy. So, should I get this game as a massive RPG fan, how difficult is it, and what exactly is the price?
If you're a massive RPG fan, then yes, this is a must-play game, and the Enhanced Edition is a good way to get into it because it offers all the major technical upgrades without making you horse around with patches and mods. It can be an unforgiving game compared to more modern fare like Dragon Age, which will nurse you through from start to finish, and the AD&D ruleset is arcane, but there's a difficulty slider that will smooth things out and for the most part (as someone else mentioned), common sense and an occasional glance at the handbook will get you through.

And since we're making recommendations, I'd suggest playing the whole thing through from the start of BG1 to the end of ToB. It'll take you a month or so, but it's also a wonderfully epic and complete RPG experience. BG2 stands perfectly well on its own, but it's tough to go back to the original if you've done BG2 first.
 

Andy Chalk

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Nov 12, 2002
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CmRet said:
Andy Chalk said:
Baldur's Gate II: Enhanced Edition Review

An old game best suited for a new audience

Read Full Article
Do you think this is a good game to get if you've never played Balder's Gate before like me? I was thinking of getting the first one but my brother talked me out of it because he said it was too difficult and I would just end up regretting the buy. So, should I get this game as a massive RPG fan, how difficult is it, and what exactly is the price?

If you don't mind getting the major plot twist of the first game spoiled for you, I'd say that BGII is by far the most accessible and intuitive, if nothing else, because you start out with a more powered party and get access to a lot more tools in the arsenal. That said, you'll miss one hell of a game should you go that path, as you won't have the same incentive.

If you don't mind that, then the game does a pretty good job of recapping previous events, so, if you decide to skip the first game, you'll only miss out in the sense that you won't quite know why you should feel connected to your party members. Kind of like starting Mass effect on the second game, in many ways.

And finally, for what it's worth, I must've finished the game some 5 times and still find new stuff and new ways to go about it.
 

mrhateful

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Reed Spacer said:
Pity it's not coming to the PS3. I could just never get used to playing a game on a PC - it just doesn't feel right somehow.
whaa.. I.. But.. I don't even.. nvm

Baldur's Gate 2 especially is my favorite game of all time and Its brilliance has yet to be matched by any other game. I would recommend this to anyone looking for a grand gaming experience.
 

GothmogII

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Huh, would have though Bif the Understudy would have popped up in the case of the missing NPC's. x) I liked the idea of the Enhanced Editions, but, I've played (and bought even!) the series enough times that even with the new content is not really worth it for me.

Though, I wonder if they have any plans to make their own sequel or spin-off? Seems like a good place to start, and hey, Kickstarter. (Though there are a few BG stlye thingies running around already on there.)
 

Rad Party God

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Andy Chalk said:
And honestly, if you can handle Fallout, BG2 should be no problem.
With Fallout it's a bit curious, because Fallout 3 was my introduction to the series (still my favorite) and I already knew the basics heading into Fallout 1/2, I already knew how rads worked and how to cure or at least lower them, I already knew how to heal, how many points did I needed to do certain situations, when and where to bring certain weapons and also the game is already turn-based, so I don't need to constantly press Space each milisecond to do stuff.

In BG, I don't know how to replenish my mages skills/magic, for example, I don't know how to revive my party members, heck, I don't know how to replenish their health and my only alternative is to map the quick-save and quick-load to the left and right mouse buttons.

Granted, FO1/2 did needed their fair share of QS/L, but I didn't feel cheated in those games, I didn't feel the need to do so each 5 steps I took.

Also, I can play Dragon Age all day, wich is much easier for me, so there's that.
 

The Madman

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Still waiting on my favourite mod being made compatible with the first games EE edition before I buy it, but once it is I plan to pick both it and BG2:EE up for another epic playthrough.

Should be fun, and hopefully by then they'll have the bugs ironed out.

SupahGamuh said:
In BG, I don't know how to replenish my mages skills/magic, for example, I don't know how to revive my party members, heck, I don't know how to replenish their health and my only alternative is to map the quick-save and quick-load to the left and right mouse buttons.
Sleep. In answer to a lot of the above the answer is sleep. How do you replenish spells? By sleeping. Heal? Healing spells, and if those are out then sleeping. Revive? They're not being revived, they're dead. Dead as a doornail, and if you want them back from the dead there's only one thing to do: Find yourself a priest.

In Baldur's Gate 2 you'll eventually get the spells to raise dead yourself so it's less of an ordeal, but in the first BG game if someone dies you need to grab their stuff and make your way to a temple. It costs a small fortune to get someone raised from the dead but that's how you do it...

Unless they got murdered in the most horrific ways possible: disintegration, explosion, chopped into tiny bits, etc. Then they're dead permanently. They might've also gotten turned to stone, in which case you need to cast stone to flesh or find a scroll of that spell. Don't think it happens in BG1, but in 2 there's also the possibility of being banished to another dimension, in which case you need another specific spell to undo that.

There's a lot of ways to die in Baldur's Gate. Mostly unpleasant.
 

GothmogII

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The Madman said:
Still waiting on my favourite mod being made compatible with the first games EE edition before I buy it, but once it is I plan to pick both it and BG2:EE up for another epic playthrough.

Should be fun, and hopefully by then they'll have the bugs ironed out.

SupahGamuh said:
In BG, I don't know how to replenish my mages skills/magic, for example, I don't know how to revive my party members, heck, I don't know how to replenish their health and my only alternative is to map the quick-save and quick-load to the left and right mouse buttons.
Sleep. In answer to a lot of the above the answer is sleep. How do you replenish spells? By sleeping. Heal? Healing spells, and if those are out then sleeping. Revive? They're not being revived, they're dead. Dead as a doornail, and if you want them back from the dead there's only one thing to do: Find yourself a priest.
Well, except if they get hit by a basilisk and then shattered. Or gibbed by an ogre. Or randomly start murdering each other but it was totally Edwin's fault for badmouthing Minsc's girlfriend.
 

The Madman

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GothmogII said:
Well, except if they get hit by a basilisk and then shattered. Or gibbed by an ogre. Or randomly start murdering each other but it was totally Edwin's fault for badmouthing Minsc's girlfriend.
Dynaheir sucks, I'm totally with Edwin on this one. Minsc was better off without her and Aerie makes a better witch anyway.

Damn, this reminds me just how much I miss characters having personality in rpgs. Nowadays unless you purposely antagnonise them your companions in rpg are there to stay, but in Baldur's Gate? Hell no. Maybe they don't like you, maybe they don't like your companions, maybe they've just got other places to be, hell, maybe you got into an argument with them and they try to kill you! Point being they're not always guaranteed to stick around, they've got their own agenda's and their world doesn't just revolve around you. I like that, made them feel more alive than just being some talking meat-puppet that follows you around.

Pretty much the only companion that's guaranteed to stick with you is Imoen, and that's because she's your sister.
 

WindKnight

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I might pick this up, great memories of the original apart from a couple of niggles that drove me nuts at the time.

1) Importing a character only to find pretty much all my gear had been yoinked by effectively DM fiat. I've known a few groups where a DM pulling this out of the blue would have gotten them lynched, unless the Dm did it in a very well thought out manner beyond 'yeah, these guys knock you out ad take your stuff'.

2) every damn mage in the game suddenly getting three our four protective spells cast on themselves as soon as they catch sight of you. unless you were prepared for this (IE your casters had memorized nothing but protection stripping spells) it turned any situation where you were expected to fight multiple mages a slog. One in particular turned into 'clear room, rest to get all your anti protection spells back, move to next room, repeat'.
 

Rad Party God

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The Madman said:
Sleep. In answer to a lot of the above the answer is sleep. How do you replenish spells? By sleeping. Heal? Healing spells, and if those are out then sleeping. Revive? They're not being revived, they're dead. Dead as a doornail, and if you want them back from the dead there's only one thing to do: Find yourself a priest.

In Baldur's Gate 2 you'll eventually get the spells to raise dead yourself so it's less of an ordeal, but in the first BG game if someone dies you need to grab their stuff and make your way to a temple. It costs a small fortune to get someone raised from the dead but that's how you do it...

Unless they got murdered in the most horrific ways possible: disintegration, explosion, chopped into tiny bits, etc. Then they're dead permanently. They might've also gotten turned to stone, in which case you need to cast stone to flesh or find a scroll of that spell. Don't think it happens in BG1, but in 2 there's also the possibility of being banished to another dimension, in which case you need another specific spell to undo that.

There's a lot of ways to die in Baldur's Gate. Mostly unpleasant.
Wow... I knew the game would be hardcore, but not THAT hardcore. Man, it's stuff like this that makes me sad I haven't played it yet, or at least, not gotten into it as much as I'd like to. I'll do a re-install whenever possible, thank God I've been quite busy on my new job and I'll try to be more patient this time around (or just remap quick save/load to left/right mouse click).
 

KingWein22

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Don't mess with Minsc's pet...or bad things will happen.

OT: I enjoyed both Baldur's Gate and Icewind Dale games growing up. I was more in favor of Icewind Dale cause of the fact you can create your own balanced party and it is more combat oriented. Baldur's Gate was more for the interaction, and you've got to admit, the artwork for the characters was awesome! I mean, how else would I be able to have a fun Barbarian w/o saying a Minsc quote here or there?
 

The Madman

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Windknight said:
2) every damn mage in the game suddenly getting three our four protective spells cast on themselves as soon as they catch sight of you. unless you were prepared for this (IE your casters had memorized nothing but protection stripping spells) it turned any situation where you were expected to fight multiple mages a slog. One in particular turned into 'clear room, rest to get all your anti protection spells back, move to next room, repeat'.
It's a high level spell called contingency, it allows you to prepare a few spells in advance and give them a trigger for going off. You get it yourself later on, very handy. I always kept a few energy protection spells tucked away with it.

Also if you know they're there you can kill enemy mages easily. They'll only trigger contingency if they spot you, so it's possible to sneak a rogue or invisible character close to a mage and take em out quick. Alternatively if you know a room is full of them just stand outside the doorway and chuck a few fireballs inside. Might not kill em all, but it'll certainly hurt em and make it easier to slaughter them later.

Neat stuff like this is why I love Baldur's Gate 2's gameplay, even if it can be a bit archaic at times.

Also there's a handy mod out there called tactics which adjusts the gameplay to put the player and NPC on more even footing, though it also makes the game considerably harder and I doubt it's compatible with the Enhanced Edition yet.
 

Kahani

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So once again it does nothing that hasn't already been done years ago by entirely free mods. Why the hell would anyone be willing to pay money for this crap?
 

loa

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Oh baldurs gate 2.

I remember in the town at the very start of the game, you can go into a house that has a lich in it which is one of the the most badass enemies in the game. If you can, you can kill it, get a shitload of experience and an amazing ring so this thing isn't just a "welp you shouldn't have gone here, now you dead lol" trap. Mostly.
You could also cheese dragons with the spell that stupifies them forever for another mountain of experience points.

You could even export and reimport your character and level him to maximum that way if you want your guy to be a badass because the game designers didn't piss their pants at the concept of someone "breaking the system" and focused on making the world as great as possible instead of wasting time hermetically covering their game so that it may only be played the "correct" way.

Stuff like that doesn't exist in modern rpgs anymore.
Nowadays, it's all just a grind through homogenized hordes of enemies with barely any high risk high reward possibilities like that.
 

Andy Chalk

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Nov 12, 2002
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Outstanding review! Needs a little polish, but still worth the (re)buy. Thanks!
Sounds like they pulled the infamous dialog.talk apart and spread the information around a bit?
Easier to mod now, I suppose, but all the old, gold mods won't install ... pity.
 

Andy Chalk

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Nov 12, 2002
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Kahani said:
So once again it does nothing that hasn't already been done years ago by entirely free mods. Why the hell would anyone be willing to pay money for this crap?
As I said in the review, it's ideal for people looking for an "enhanced" replay without having to screw around with mods or newcomers who have no knowledge of such things. There are an awful lot of people who would rather pay an extra $15 or $20 over the GOG price for the regular edition if it means a painless, hassle-free upgrade.
 

captainsavvy

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Thank for this!
BG2 was one of the first PC games I ever bought when I was a wee nipper and I still have the massive box it came in (the map/poster has disappeared sadly). Unfortunately, a few years ago I went to start playing it again and disc 2 snapped as I was taking it out! The main play disc! I was devastated D:

Thankfully, this Enhanced Edition means I can relive all those happy memories. I don't even mind if none of the mods I had work with it because I've played them all to death and it's been so long that unless it's a character mod, I probably won't even notice it's gone XD
 

Deviluk

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Damn, I really wish I played this in its heyday. I played the first one EE, and I feel guilty for saying that I've become a shallow soul who, on not enjoying the aesthetics or UI of a game, or being wiped in the first real battle, gave up. There's simply too much to play these days, I couldn't give it the time it deserves. Maybe I'll try over my christmas break.
 

Andy Chalk

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Nov 12, 2002
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Deviluk said:
Damn, I really wish I played this in its heyday. I played the first one EE, and I feel guilty for saying that I've become a shallow soul who, on not enjoying the aesthetics or UI of a game, or being wiped in the first real battle, gave up. There's simply too much to play these days, I couldn't give it the time it deserves. Maybe I'll try over my christmas break.
Baldur's Gate is a commitment. As is typical with AD&D games, once you gain a few levels you'll find that you're not nearly as delicate in a fight, but the bad news is that harsh words are a mortal threat when you're first starting out. You might find BG2EE a little easier because you begin the game as a seasoned adventurer, but it's also much larger than the original, especially if you get caught up in side quests. (And if you don't get caught up in side quests, you're doing it wrong.)