@impynickers Thank you for all of your thoughts on Baldur’s Gate. Basically, as I read through it, I say to myself, “well, I have copies of the originals and the Trilogy mod… this new thing is irrelevant.” If it ends up being as well updated as they claim it will be, I may have to bite, but it seems like those of us who already have copies can stick with those.
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@bowlisimo Oddly enough pathfinding was not improved as far as I can tell. The PR spiel touts major engine improvements, but they forgot about that one. I will say the loading is instantaneous. Thats pretty nice. A quick load will immediately plop you where you were without so much as a thought. So there are some nice things going on underneath the hood, but its very rare that you will actually notice.
One thing about this version is that it seems the developers are sctively going to be updating and improving the game over time. Not just with DLC (of course) but with actual improvements based on feedback.
I was a little dissapointed that at launch the multiplayer is only Direct IP connect. I felt it was a missed opportunity. In the game though you see a message that indicates that you will eventually be able to browse active games through BeamDog.net. So there may yet be a revived multiplayer community, though I suspect it to be mostly a dedicated few.
The extent to which the game is updated will determine, I think, whether this will be THE version of Baldur’s Gate. It is nice that people don’t have to root around through mods to get this experience. Im an anomaly in that I enjoy the convoluted task, but there are some worthwhile things here for fans that don’t enjoy doing that. The BG2 classes really do change the game substantially.
Im currently lobbying on the forums for them to create class specific missions/guilds like in BG2. The community input apparently has been fairly substantial up to now, so hopefully there will be some great stuff coming for fans… I hope I hope.
So I have mixed feelings about Baldur’s Gate Enhanced Edition.
Its not like you could suddenly make it a bad game, but some of the improvements aren’t that polished IMO.
Basically all the major improvements were available through mods, such as widescreen HD, Baldur’s Gate 2 classes, bug fixes.
The game does bring minor aesthetic changes that are unique to this release, such as UI elements being recolored. You can also zoom into the main game screen to make all that HD count for nothing. Also the journal is hella improved. Your available quests are immediately visible, and you can click on them for more info. Pretty standard for a modern RPG, but much improved over the original.
The one new party member I have picked up is pretty interesting. One of the new missions I played ‘The Black Pit’ was not so much. All the voiced dialogue couldn’t hide that it was in fact an arena in which you fight waves of enemies. This has been done many times in many many other games.
What I feel like is as though this release basically is a collaboration of fan made content, which I think is somewhat accurate. I think they hired some of the mod developers for the release. Many aspects of the game feel untouched, while others seem to have been given new dimensions. The new characters have fully voiced dialogue for instance, while the remainder of our memorable cast has only choice snippets of dialogue. So I can’t help but feel this is an inconsistent jumble of things based around a game I love to death.
Now perhaps if you want to play the game on IPad, the pure novelty of that experience will overshadow any minor gripes I have with this release. I am however on PC, and something feels off about the whole thing.
@bowlisimo yeah, I played and enjoyed NWN online quite a bit. It is pretty dynamic in terms of the experiences you can have, but the experiences never (to me) tended to feel as thought out as the Baldur’s Gate gate games, and the stock campaign is quite a bit more generic.
That said the multiplayer is indeed probably a better approximation of a real D&D experience, you can have a Dungeon Master tweaking thing behind the scenes and there are an incredible array of modules both based on D&D lore and outside of it. I remember playing modules that remade games in the Ultima series, and did some interesting things with that. These were of course fan made endeavors and varied in quality. Many were cool but forgettable. I am game for playing some NWN online in the future certainly. Lots of replayability and roleplaying opportunities.
For now the sword coast is the destination. Slightly modded. Items other than bare necessities are more expensive, making it more special when you get that better sword or armor. There is also an iron shortage, so it fits with the lore. Enemies are smarter and they spawn based on your level. Some now come pre-buffed. A package of new random quests. All the Baldurs Gate 2 classes are included as well as the BG2 interface. A plethora of new items. Characters now converse with each other regularly in your party, like they could in BG2. And widescreen support. Should be interesting.
I decided against vanilla BG just to keep variety in the mix, and playtesting the mods revealed that the core experience was not lost IMO and rather enhanced.(I personally don’t play at high resolution though, the interface gets all tiny) I know that if we really get into this we can beat BG1 in a weekend easily. If not, the ppl all live in my building. Throw network cables off the balcony if necessary…lol.
@bowlisimo I have considered many of these things. The biggest thought I had was how different the game would play with fewer Followers to control. The low levels especially suffer from having limited input in battle, maybe a couple spells at most that don’t recharge until rest. After a few levels and a few found spells things start to turn awesome really quickly for each character though. I would ideally say that playing with 1 other person would be best for this game, but 3 dudes with 1 character and 1 follower a piece might work out.
What will have to be cultivated is a pen and paper roleplaying mentality, also the difficulty will be messed with to either keep people scared or powerful at different points. Dialogue will be voted upon, good thing there are numbers next to the choices. It is a bit jarring playing someone else’s story, but save for being the character that dies and ends the game we are already going to fight over dialogue choices. Maybe skip through mundane dialogue. It will be an experiment. I just have enjoyed tinkering with the idea to see what will happen. Laptops make LAN really easy these days, overall very little is invested, so I will not be crestfallen if things don’t work out optimally. Diablo 3 is around the corner, and I know that will be something I don’t have to convince people to play.
Anyone else on the Diablo wagon?
@impynickers I remember trying Baldur’s Gate multiplayer once. It was novel at the time, but I didn’t like it. I don’t really remember why either. That game is so finely tuned as a single player experience that it may have just been the presence of someone else’s will that threw everything off (which I admit, is weird since it’s a D&D game). There’s also a lot text to read, inventory to fuck with, and menus to go through that MMOs have since managed to streamline in a multiplayer setting. Then there’s the whole problem of actually getting it finished, it’s a long game. Good luck!
@unmanneddrone I did. I Steam-traded Amnesia and Serious Sam HD: 2nd Encounter and got Assault Squad for one of my buddies. It’s just as fun, except you can actually micro more with another mind roving over the battlefield. The only really stupid thing about it, is that the person who calls in a unit, doesn’t necessarily get control of that unit. If you have more units than the other guy when you call it in, the other player will just get control automatically. This leads to weird situations where you call in a squad and 2 out of the 8 guys will be under the control of the other player, or you call in some armor, wonder where the hell it is, and realize it’s sitting on the edge of the map. The saving grace of this is that you can give control to the other player, thank god, so it’s still playable.
If I buy a 3DS now I know there will totally be a re-release with the extra thumbstick integrated.
Not to say I haven’t been tempted. Even though I personally am more impressed by what I have played of the Vita, all my friends are on the 3DS train, and the Vita is just too expensive for me. I kinda like the idea of having handheld local multiplayer sessions. That is something I have actually never experienced.
I also should wait till I knock off more games on my backlog before I invest in a new platform that will pile up a ton more games I wont play.The Feenwager challenge is a huge test. I am so twitchy when it comes to new things. It is interesting to watch myself squirm when something awesome comes out… then gradually stop caring. I have not bought Journey for PS3 yet…. and the whole Internet kingdom is rubbing it on and around my naughty area, but I know in my heart that if the experience is THAT good it will hold up months from now.
So all that Baldur’s Gate enhanced nonsense had me jonesing for some tasty BG.
The thought of playing it on an I-pad would be nice if I had one. A new way to play. They really haven’t released any good screens of the thing, and if all it does is add higher resolution and widescreen support…. I can just stick with mods. Speaking of mods… I did that.
Installed BG 1+2+TOB and used the Baldur’s gate Trilogy mod to merge them all into one massive game.
Also installed the extra character banter mod, and have seen the story take whole new dimensions as a result. I have played the original game so many times I was able to blow through it during a couple of lazy days, just because I could. Its kinda nice playing it in a windowed mode when you are too busy to commit all your attention.
I still adore the silly confirmation dialogue the characters make.
I think I always went with Male 3. The rough and tumbling rouguish sort he was.
All the characters were so distinctive and awesome. Everybody loves Minsc(and boo).
I also loved Xan for always reminding us how screwed we are no matter how good things looked.
Khalid for being loveably socially inept. Edwin for being incredibly condescending, and belittling everything you do. Of course if you had Edwin and Minsc in the same party things could get ugly, so it was always tough to choose.
The real task is lasting through Baldur’s Gate 2. Spectacular, but I have only been able to beat it twice because of its sheer girth. The main plot kind of hits a brick wall early in the game, which encourages you to get lost in the endless amount of exploring and questing.. but also ensures you are in for a long ride.
Of all the things the BG team could have announced, I think this was the least interesting to me.
@bowlisimo Well in particular there’s a mod called Unfinished Business where intrepid fan coders went in and found a whole lot of text/flags/resources/voices etc for quests, events and suchlike that never got finished/bug tested, etc. Some of these were kinda obvious (Minsc is the only NPC that never got a character quest, etc.) So from what I understand they polished up the material, bug tested it and modded it to be active again in the game (http://mods.pocketplane.net/readmes/readme_ub.html if you’re interested in all that entails) and that’s just the Bioware content. (I actually wonder if re-adding this content is what the Enhanced Edition is going to be)
Then there’s the bugfixes, obscure things this or that fan wanted “Why can’t I have lesbian romances with X with my female PC? Now I can!”
Other then that the main shining points of the mods are new NPCs and romance/dialogue options. (http://forums.pocketplane.net/index.php/topic,21450 contains a quick review of the most popular ones) I haven’t used any of these myself (I was quite satisfied with my emo wingless elf thank you :<) but I've heard positive talk among RPG nerdesque friends about the paladin, the flirtpack (because it DOES kinda suck that only the NPCs can initiate affection and once you finish the romance sidequest they never speak again. I intend to try that one next time I go through and obviously I'm not the sort to get bothered when the content gets a bit racy) and the Nalia romance. (which was just really well written by the author of it, lots of callbacks to previous choices you made, branches etc.)
Hell some of the mods are completely standalone games that just use BG2 assets and the infinity engine to do it's own thing. (http://www.shsforums.net/forum/184-epic-endeavours/ and suchlike)
I dunno, when you look at all the options out there it just seems sad somehow to go back to neutral. Could you imagine a slightly upgraded Skyrim which incorperated 1-2 mods but wasn't compatible with any of the vast mod library out there?
Also, don't get me wrong, I'm really interested in what they're doing, it's just going to be hard for them to bring out something compelling enough for me to go on the vanilla ride all over again. I kinda suspect I might get it, play through it once, then reinstall the original and keep working through all the fan content. I can't imagine they can acknowledge the mod scene especially if they're re enabling that old finished content for pay when the modders basically gave it to you free. It's still there material of course so completely their right to do so, I hope there's more substantial New Content though as well. Maybe they hired some of those more talented mod writers? It worked for FPSes…
What could they really add in an enhanced edition? I am curious to see.
I agree that they should not touch the portraits, maybe just make them in higher resolution or something. I am not sure what parts of the game will really benefit from HD, other than to have a higher pixel density. I wonder whether they have a new artstyle in mind. The citizens of that world weren’t very detailed most of the time, usually pretty nondescript save for their voices. I do get nostalgic for the funny little characters populating the world, but maybe there is some way they can keep the charm and flesh things out more.
Could they do a Baldur’s Gate in 3D?
I think a lot of the charm came from the hand painted environments and portraits, but the look could be emulated with some effectiveness if you use the right tech. The question is: How serious are they?
Even if they have original BG team members, this is still a wildcard scenario. It could be a mess.
Now what the hell am I supposed to do with those copies of the BG games I got with that D&D Anthology on GamersGate for $6?!
Anyway, because I have no attachment to the games, I wouldn’t be mad at all if they went all the way and made the games look similar to Dragon Age Origins, but they probably won’t so I’m imagining something truer to the art style, just in higher resolution. That’s what I hope happens anyway.
Have any of you guys looked at Final Fantasy IV The Complete Collection for the PSP? Man, I wish more oldschool 2D games got remade like that. Exact same art style – you can tell they based things on the original sprites, just with more detail.
On Anachronox, the developer pedigree looks interesting, but I can’t remember a time when a western JRPG turned out well. …except Barkley.
@rampantbiycle It feels like a cop out, but I’ll probably just watch that movie-machinima version. 130 min? I better get some snacks. Shepard first, though.
@beige You’re probably around 5 hours behind me in ME3. This ending controversy is killing me, but I’m trying to savor the good for as long as I can.
@squad No thoughts on Baldur’s Gate I & II ENHANCED? Aside from the atrocious pathfinding, I never really thought those games needed enhancing. Pre-rendered backgrounds and animated character sprites hold up longer than any of that early 3D stuff. Still, I *am* curious. I did just buy both those games on GoG, but I guess I’ll hold off on playing them until this “enhancement” becomes clearer.
edit: Widescreen support and higher res would be pretty cool, now that I think about it.
Even if it were a new game, The Throne of Bhaal expansion to BGII wrapped everything up in a satisfying way. I don’t really need more of that storyline. Minsc is safely locked away in the recesses of my mind as a memorable character, and Boo is on the Normandy now. Let’s keep it that way?
I’d rather someone take the 4E route, as @beige has suggested like 1000 times, and apply it to a story/character party focused game in that style.
As for the Baldur’s Gate thing, the full stupidity of the Games Press Rumour Mill is in force. I saw an article yesterday that basically said “it might be a new game. Or a rerelease. Or a Facebook game. Basically we don’t know.” It took about a thousand words to say this.
Supposedly one of the Beamdog (ex-BioWare) guys has said it’s nothing to do with the Baldur’s Gate Complete thing that’s coming to Steam.
Maybe it is a third-person shooter. Or a free to play MMO. Or — God forbid — a Facebook game.
Anyway, onto other matters. Character creation!
- Redhead female. Always. Usually long hair. I like having a pretty person to look at in cutscenes, particularly if they’re voiced by Jo Wyatt.
- If I have the choice of clothing colour, blue or purple is usually my preference.
- Archetype varies depending on what type of RPG we’re talking. In MMOs and Dragon Age-style things, I enjoy playing mages. In Elder Scrolls games, I like playing backstabby stealthy thiefy types. Fighter-types are a bit dull for me, though I’ll often go with them in action RPGs.
- Silver-tongued conversation skills. Always.
- Lots of Charisma. Always. The only game it’s ever helped significantly in is Planescape: Torment, but that was enough to make me always want to play charismatic characters.
- Dual-wielding is always fun.
- Where dual-wielding is unavailable, a fancy one-handed sword will do the trick nicely.
- I used to habitually play Chaotic Good but have moved more towards Lawful as time has gone on. This makes occasional Chaotic outbursts all the more satisfying, as it reminds me of myself — patient and Lawful most of the time, but if you piss me off you’ll get a blast of Chaos all up in your face.
- I tend not to think of “backstories” for single player RPG characters because inevitably it’ll clash with the background the game wants you to have. In MMOs, however, it’s another matter, particularly if you’re playing on an RP server. I have some very fond memories of RPing with my World of Warcraft mage and paladin, who were related but hadn’t seen each other in years. (Convenient, since it was impossible for them to be in the same room.) The RP my friend and I had going on made our eventual arrival at Stratholme a pretty awesome story event in our minds, despite WoW being beyond crap at storytelling.
@Redswirl Thats enough game for 10 men. Damned awesome though. Be ready to sink some serious hours in there. Those games are not the sort to be rushed. Lots of details, lots of reading, lots of depth.
I would be curious to here your fresh perspective. I am sure the old loremasters will chime in on the conversation.
Whelp. That Dungeons and Dragons Anthology just went on sale on Gamers Gate.
Baldur’s Gate I & II
Icewind Dale I & II
Temple of Elemental Evil
All for $7. No DRM.
Don’t know when the hell I’ll actually get down to playing these games.
@unmanneddrone Spent a lot of time in Blizzard’s expansions. They were all quality, though I had a ton of fun with Broodwar and Beyond the Dark Portal (the trees are giant mushrooms!) specifically.
Baldur’s gate was another one. I scratched the Tales of the Sword Coast disk so it would always crash in the Werewolf town, but Durlag’s tower was insane on its own. Throne of Bhaal for BG2 was a great way to end that series, and if you ask me, earned the right to be called “epic”.
If we’re talking mechs, definitely Desperate Measures, although it always bugged me when the briefing lady said “download” when she clearly meant “upload”. Ghost Bear’s Legacy had you fighting in SPACE! on top of a dropship as well as underwater, and Mechwarrior 4 Mercenaries, as a standalone, was simply badass.
God damn it, I really want to play a mech game now.
@Redswirl You could probably just stick to Baldur’s Gate II and Planescape Torment, maybe Icewind Dale.
Not all D&D games were created equal. Some of them aren’t bad … Temple of Elemental Evil is pretty decent, Neverwinter Nights was a good online experience. Games like DemonStone and DragonShard are not traditional RPG’s however. DemonStone is a God of War esque game, DragonShard is an RTS.
So yes, I own Gears 3. It is great, but I made a stupid pact to wait to finish the campaign co-op with 2 of my buddies. As a result I have been twiddling my thumbs waiting to see more of the campaign. Even so, Horde mode and Beast are some powerful fun. I really feel as though they have tightened up the weapons. They feel more responsive and overall more effective. The wide variety of new enemies, and new weapons are all very nice. Can’t wait to play more.
Guys do I really need ALL of the classic D&D CRPGs? http://www.gog.com/en/page/dnd_promo
My plan was to just play Baldur’s Gate II and Planetscape eventually, and then if i liked those check out Icewind Dale, etc. I don’t even know yet if I can stand to play a totally isometric game (honestly I just don’t like the way they look). The closest I’ve gotten is the PC version of Dragon Age, and even there I only zoom out during combat.
On that subject, is it rare to be able to go to a Best Buy and reliably find new boxed copies of games as old as Fallout 2 for $10? Because every time I go there I have to put up with the game staring back at me. I know you can still easily find old Blizzard games at most stores, but up here I could even buy a boxed copy of Jedi Knight II.
@feenwager Yes, Gears 3 is indeed good – deserving of its maintream popularity. The one thing I have to say about the game is that it has variety. You always feel like there’s SOMETHING going on aside from you just shooting guys with guns, and it’s excellently paced to that end. I’ll even go as far as to say that the inclusion of female Gears throughout the campaign really helped defuse the bro-ness of the experience.
Oh, and guys, since I’ll be starting Dragon Age in a few weeks here, how much would playing Baldur’s Gate before or after this game affect my experience with either?
Lordy, Red, is the gushing adulation spewed forth on the Infinity Engine games from the entire Internet not enough to convince you that you should at least give them a shot?
Planescape: Torment and Baldur’s Gate II are by far the best games from this batch, but that doesn’t mean you should pass up the others, not by any means. If you’re going to play Baldur’s Gate II, you may as well play Baldur’s Gate first to get the whole story. Planescape stands by itself.
Here are short summations of each one that I’ve played:
Planescape: Lengthy, great story, great writing, LOT of reading. Chris Avellone. Unconventional (for AD&D 2nd Edition) levelling system for protagonist. Imaginative gameworld unlike pretty much anything you have ever dealt with. Floating skull with acerbic wit. Opportunity to beat the game with dialogue. Work of genius.
Baldur’s Gate: Traditional fantasy RPG with some memorable characters and lots to do. Story is decent, but isn’t told as well as some of the future games. Party members, in particular, don’t have much in the way of “sidequests” while they’re with you. This is something which came about with Planescape and BG2. It’s worth playing for the story context, though.
Baldur’s Gate II: Holder of (apparently – to my shame, I’ve never got there) the Best Ending of Any Game, Ever. Sprawling, lengthy adventure set in fantasy world with interesting twists – pseudo-industrial and steampunk elements in some places. In other words, it doesn’t feel like Lord of the Rings. Excellent story and characterisation. Top-notch voice acting. Play it. But if you’re going to play BG first, be warned that the intro to BGII spoils the shit out of BG‘s “big reveal”.
Icewind Dale: Passed over by many as the poor man’s Baldur’s Gate, in practice it’s still a decent game. Much more combat-heavy than Baldur’s Gate and the story doesn’t directly involve the protagonist like BG. Fun, though, particularly in multiplayer.
All of the above involve the “tactical pause” battle system, where battles play out in real-time, but you can pause and “queue” actions at any time, much like the PC version of Dragon Age. It takes time to get used to, but it’s a great system that allows for very strategic combat.
Neverwinter Nights: Excellent if you prefer playing as a single character. Closer in style to the more recent BioWare games like Dragon Age, though technologically inferior. Decent story in the main quest, fantastic story in the expansions, shitloads of downloadable user-made modules available, work of brilliance if you play in multiplayer with a good group.
If you’re the slightest bit interested in excellent, non-linear storytelling and some of the best RPGs ever to grace the PC, you should check them out.