Review by Kletian
"A great if not tough game"
What are the elements to a great RPG, or any game for that matter? Many combined factors are what make a game stand out above the rest, and in my opinion, Baldur's Gate has what it takes to rise to the top.
First of all, the main factor to any good RPG is the storyline. Baldur's Gate's story is rock solid, with many unexpected twists and good humor on top of that. The characters you can get to join in your party are all very unique, each adding their own element to the storyline. There is also a ''history'' option which allows you to view that character's past. The story of Baldur's Gate is mainly told in the form of scrolls and books, which, though may get tedious, are interesting and create a very real world. Occasionally, storyline segments may also appear in different forms, such as at the end of chapters and in dialogue with NPC's.
There is also a handy log for keeping track of the many side quests and important events that occur, so you can reference them at any time.
Another factor to a good game is graphics and sound. In the graphics department, Baldur's Gate is very good, despite the use of an older engine. THe many prerendered backgrounds are very interesting and detailed, and add good atmosphere.
Sound is also pretty good. While the music is above average, there are only a few tracks. The voice acting is where Baldur's Gate shines in sound, with excellent comments accented the proper way from your party members, who also tend to interact with one another as well. THis provides for a very comical situation at times, and reveals further the personality of the characters as well.
Finally, length and replayability are the final factors of the game. With many interesting and sometimes lengthy sidequests, Baldur's Gate's length is certainly enough. Replayability factors are also high because there are so many secrets and sidequests you will have missed the first time. The way you talk to important NPC's will also alter the ending of the game- with resulting consequences.
Overall, this game is one of the best computer RPG's out. However, it is not without flaws. As the game spans 5 CDs and has infinitely many options, it crashed more than normal on my computer. Also, character pathfinding is horrendous, with characters getting stuck behind buildings, trees, each other, etc. While this is mostly annoying, sometimes, in tense situations when you are trying to flee, you see two characters glued to each to other, neither moving. This usually provoked much profanity on my part as I watched them get slaughtered and was forced to reload.
Another flaw with this game is that it is incredibly easy to ''cheat'' using multiplayer to repeatedly import and export items, characters, etc.
The game is on the tough side, which can be good an bad depending on how you look at it. It is a constant challenge just to stay alive even against weaker opponents. While this is fun once your characters are sufficiently strong, it is frustrating at the beginning, when it takes 5 minutes of continual pounding from 6 characters to kill one diseased gibberling.
Despite this, Baldur's Gate is one of the most addictive games, with infinetely many options, perhaps the most ''customized'' RPG, allowing you to choose many factors in creating your character. This game warrants an immediate purchase, so if you don't have it, go buy it.
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 05/07/00, Updated 05/07/00
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