Review by JorJorBinx
"Good, if you can get passed how STUPID the fighting engine will make you feel."
As many of you know, Baldur's Gate is a PC game based on the Forgotten Realms. It has a long story and a combat engine that combines AD&D rules with that of real time strategy game, blah blah blah. We hopefully know all that already , right? Although the game may in fact be old (what with it's sequel and expansion already out), I decided to write a review for it upon playing it one boring night. So, unfortunately, you're gonna have to let me speak my peace about it now. ^-^
Gameplay - Ouch! The first notable thing about this game is how the baddies will leave your character's butt sore after all the arse kicking he or she will have to endure. This game is HARD (heck, read the other reviews here, I'm not lying). Wait...it's not even hard, it's slaughter. Any game where your character faces impossible odds of winning his/her first battle with a pack of wolves is one you'll know your beloved keyboard will enjoy all the pounding it will eventually receive. Many people have griped about the whole ''Let's combine Real Time Strat and AD&D!'' thing, and I agree. It's way too hard. I found myself cheating to make any sort of noticeable progress (however, we all know how that takes SO much fun out of the game. But lookit that EXP cap!!). Now, I also have to say, I'm no AD&D-er though, and that may very well explain why I had such a tough time with this game, while some reviewers see it as no problem that your character maintains the same stats for what seems to be hours at a time.
The rest of the gameplay in this game is done quite well though, as I hardly found anything to complain about (well, besides having to move the cursor to the edge of the screen in order to scroll the surrounding area. I mean WHY couldn't they just let us use the directional keys!? Arg!).
Story - This game's story, despite what some others may think, was actually done quite well. Now I noticed some reviewers making comparisons to console RPG's in their reviews, and that in my opinion isn't fair at all. This is AD&D, and while I'm not a genius on the subject, I know it won't have the same influences as Japanese-influenced console games at the same time, ya know? ANYWHO, yeah, the story starts out with the tragic assasination of your mentor. Ya see, aparently, your character in the game is someone mighty important, and there are quite a few people who would like to get their hands on you for some unknown purpose. The story unravels itself as you gradually discover who you are, and from there, it becomes the ''Let's defeat the big evil dewd'' sort of thing. Also, you have two warring nations and different sidequests in the mix, not bad at all. And this stuff isn't just thrown in whenever you start to get bored either. One of the best things about Baldur's Gate in my opinion is atmosphere. Everything from towns to the people in them is full of life. One can find themself just walking around talking to townspeople and exploring villiages for hours on end, and it's not even required (if you know what you're doing, you can just skip most of that town stuff, but it's still really fun just exploring anyway). That's about it for story i guess.
This is another area where the game isn't too bad. For it's time, Baldur's Gate sported some great sprites (I bet a lot of people wish they were 3D though. I read those other reviews, hehee), and the environments are some of the best portrayed in my opinion... Oh no, here I go again with my environment rave. *inhale* This game has a GREAT landscape for you to explore. Sure it's relatively 2D, but it isn't exactly this single, one-colored texture either, for you people snickering at me. The buildings are apropriately sized, land masses tower above you (like mountains, bluffs, whatever), and the somewhat old game will still leave you saying, ''Ouuu!! Ahh!'' about most of it's design in general. And to top it off, the audio is great too! Everything from the well done voice-overs to the chirps of the birds in the background, to the sound of owls in the wilderness will keep you believing that you're exploring life-like environments, and not just a huge board of some sort. Er..yeah. o.o
Replayability - Ok, this game does NOT shine here. Although it was designed for multiple replays. what with the whole slew of characters you can recruit in your party, I highly doubt people would actually want to play thought it more than once. For one, it's hard. And another thing, it's long! You definitely won't finish this one in a week.
Summary - Well, with all my rambling, I hope you, the reader of this review, could derive THIS from my my somewhat mediocre review: ''Bad BAD combat! Down Combat! Hey I said down! AHHHHHHH!'' And also, ''Purty landscape, purty sound of birds chirping, purty-ness, ahhhhh.'' But not to forget, ''Ack! Will this story ever end!?'' Oh! And another thing I forgot, if you're anything like me, you'll probably want to download a bunch of characters online to use in Baldur's Gate. Yup, that's right, you get custom portraits, and a lot of charcater packs even come with sounds. This adds another level of fun to the game, but it's not much to scream about (doesnt alter the plot or anything). Still, give it whirl. You might get some joy out of it, and WHO knows? You might accidently forget you were using a crappy pausing RTS engine to play an RPG! Oh! And finally, I recommend that you rent (HA! A PC game? yeah right!) or borrow (yeah, there we go, like Blockbuster is gonna start carrying PC titles!) this game before making the final decision to purchase it. But it should also be noted that this game is older than dirt now, and you could probably buy it for around 20 bux, so don't go calling EVERYONE ya know just to play it, alright? Hehee.
Final Score - 6
Reviewer's Score: 6/10 | Originally Posted: 07/07/01, Updated 07/07/01
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