Review by Keldron
"It definitely lives up to the Baldur's Gate name."
Baldur's Gate, the Advanced Dungeons and Dragons city made famous by the excellent PC games, makes a grand comeback in Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance. Not sharing the storyline of the PC games, but with an interesting plot nonetheless, BG:DA is a game that definitely deserves some attention.
I'm not really that big a fan of Hack 'n Slash styled RPGs (I didn't even like Diablo/Diablo II), but BG:DA is definitely a good game. Based on AD&D, Dark Alliance takes the fun of the Pen & Paper game to the PlayStation 2 console. The gameplay is somewhat like that of Gauntlet Legends, but much more refined and better.
The player is allowed to make his/her choice of one of three characters before starting the game: a Human Arcane Archer, a Dwarven Fighter, or an Elven Sorceress. Every one of the characters has different abilities & pros/cons, so each character presents a different style of gameplay.
Characters can equip themselves with a vast array of weapons and armor (but you can only use a few items at a time). Also, your PC gets special feats when he gains levels. Feats are powerful abilities that can drastically change the outcome of your combat.
The gameplay of BG:DA is absolutely superb. The amount of character development and huge levels plus exciting combat will make you want more!
I think the controls for BG:DA are probably the most effective controls I've ever seen for the PlayStation 2 Dualshock controller.
Every button has a purpose, and the layout is excellent. The controls are extremely precise as well.
I can't think of any game that has better controls than BG:DA. When you play, you'll realize how easy it is to control your character because of the excellent work put in by Snowblind and Interplay.
Drop-dead gorgeous is the only way to describe the graphics in BG:DA.
The characters are realistic and the water is even better than that in ICO! (ICO's water effects made me appreciate the power of the PS2...I never thought someone could do better, but it was done.) The weapons on the inventory screen all look neat and realistic as well. Too bad the Baldur's Gate PC games couldn't have these graphics (although maybe Neverwinter Nights will...)!
The sound in this game is excellent as well.
The music is appropriate, and the sound effects are really nice. When fighting, you hear the warrior's cries, the clanging metal, and the screams of dying enemies. Plus, the voiceovers of the characters are superb as well. The voiceovers are definitely worthy of the Baldur's Gate namesake, which always has boasted excellent speaking for the NPCs.
Replay Value: 9/10
With 3 different characters, the game is worth going through a few times.
With every character, you'll have to develop different strategies and collect different items. Also, there is a cooperative mode that allows you and one friend to play through the game, which is pretty fun. The only reason this facet of the game isn't perfect is the fact that everything is exactly the same (which obviously can't be helped).
This is definitely an awesome game! I think I played BG:DA as much as I did Grand Theft Auto 3 when I first got it...and that was a large amount of time. The exciting action, amazing graphics, and awesome controls of Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance will make you not want to stop until you've gotten rid of the evil that plagues Baldur's Gate!
Reviewer's Rating: 5.0 - Flawless
Originally Posted: 01/12/02, Updated 01/12/02
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