Review by furydan
"It beats any action/rpgs on the market!"
From the creators of Dungeons&Dragons and the pc's Baldur's gate titles comes Baldur's gate : Dark alliance for the playstation 2.This is the first Baldur's gate on a console, from the same teams that created the previous games ; Snowblind studios and Black isle studios.Many of the aspects of the game is similar to D&D and BG prequels.Yet,the fans of the series may like this game a bit less because the style of gameplay changed to get the style of diablo or Gauntlet.This action/rpg has about 40 spells and many different passive skills.There are about 35 kinds of monsters and more then 10 bosses.Every level ups,you can put an amount of skill points depending on your level.Exemple:if you are level 22,you get 22 skills points after you level up.Also,after each 4 levels,you can put a stats points to increase your strength, constitution, dexterity, intelligence,wisdom and charisma.Strength increases your damage dealt to the enemies.Constitution increases your max health and and regenerate your health faster.Dexterity increases you armor class.Intelligence increases your arcane energy(mp).Wisdom increases your experience points by 3%.Finally, Charisma decreases the price of things in shops.
There are 3 character classes that you can choose in the beginning of the game : An Arcane Archer, a Dwarven Fighter and an Elven Sorceress.They all have unique abilities, strength and weaknesses.You should try to play with them all so you can see who you think suits you the best.Although swords and big armors are supposed to be used by dwarves, you can equip them by any character classes.You can choose your level of difficulty : Easy, Normal, Hard, Extreme(extreme will be unlockable).You can also play in co-op with a friend if you have difficulty to beat a particular boss or want to trade weapons.The only thing you can't do in 2 players mode are duels(maybe in the sequel?).There are many types of weapons and armors and they all have unique properties.Exemple : Shocking burst adamantine great sword +3.
The only true weakness of the game is its length.You can finish this game for the first time in 10 hours only(not very long for an action/rpg).But if you want to master the game entirely,it may take you about more than 100 hours.The game has a lot of replay value because it is quite very short.An other small weakness is the Dungeons that are not random like the diablo series.Only the chests and barrels are semi-random.When you kill enemies and break barrels and pots,the blood stays there and the remains of the things you broke also stay there for the rest of the game.
You will play into 3 different acts. Inside Baldur's Gate will be your first act, into the sunset mountain (land of the dwarves) is the second act and the third act is in the march of chalimber. Each acts takes about 2-3 hours to complete if you play it safe. You'll receives quests to help peopleand they will give you rewards like experience points,gold and items.Also, in every acts, there's a shop that sells anything you need(weapons,armors,shields,helmets, boots, gloves, rings, amulets and of course,potions).Whenever you don't know where to go,you can look at your quest log to know what you have to do,so it is very to get stuck somewhere in the game. You'll also need to get back to town often to sell what you took on your way.You can carry an maximum amount of pounds depending on your strength. The higher strength you have,the more pounds you can carry and the more things you'll be able to sell!
I have never seen such awesome graphics in any other action/rpgs. You can easily see every details of the towns people.You can see them talk and move like in the reality(when they talk, you can seen the form and color of their teeth!!).Also, you have never seen such good water effects in any games.It is just so perfect!When you move into the water or jump in it, you can feel that it is just like reality, maybe even better than reality!! The environnements are also well done.You an see where you are exactly.Exemple: If you are in the mines, you can see the details of a real mine, any aspects of a mine.
The enemies are very well designed and you can reconize what you are hitting.
The sound is also very good. The voices equals holywood voices ans the accents are understandable. Drunk people act and talk like their what they are. You can see the feeling of each person just by their tone of voice!The only problem and the sound is the music. There only seems to be music in the first act. And there seems to be only one music in the whole game!That's the same music but in remixes everywhere there is music.
You'll definitively want to play this game more than once because it is too short. You may even want to finish all the difficulties with all the characters. You'll also want to finish the secret dungeon( the gauntlet ) to unlock to extreme mode and finish it. The extreme mode is best of all the difficulties in the game because it is harder and you find better things.You'll even gain more experience points and gold!!
This game is really worth trying for fans and people that needs to play a good rpg. Fans of diablo 2 will most likely want to play this one, it really resembles it.
Overall score: 9/10
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 01/03/02, Updated 01/03/02
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