Review by Cory Wilkie
"Cory's Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance Review"
The Baldur's Gate series has been one of the most popular role playing games on the PC for a long time. This is the first of the series to be put on a console. In this game you now take on the role of one person and hack and slash through anyone that tries and stops you.
In Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance the gameplay is very nice. The control for the game is quick, responsive, and easy to get used to. You can have the option to have a non-intrusive map in the corner so you know where you have and haven’t traveled. You have one view that is pretty much over the head of the character. The camera can easily be manually rotated to suit your likings with no trouble. This is a game you hack and slash through monsters to find new weapons and armor to make your killing more efficient. As you gain more experience through the game from kill monsters and completing quests you will level up and earn skill points and stat points to improve you character even more.
In Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance you can take the role of one of three characters: a Human Archer who specializes in skills for bows such as flame arrows, hail of arrows and death blow. The second character is a Dwarf Barbarian who specializes in skills with large weapons like war hammers and battle axes. Last but not least is the Elven Sorceress who has powerful skills like magic missile, inferno and ball lightning. As you start the game as one of the three characters you enter the town of Baldur’s Gate. You are rudely greeted by some thieves that steal all of your belongings. You escape with your life into a tavern. In the tavern you meet people that give you information about the thieves and you start your journey going after the thieves’ guild. You can end up doing optional quests for the people in the tavern to earn extra money, items, experience or information. The storyline at the start of the game starts out real strong though I found that as you progress through the game’s three acts there are fewer people to talk to and fewer quests to do. Therefore the storyline lessens as you go through the acts.
In Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance the best part is the excellent graphics. Everything in this game is well textured, detailed and looks beautiful. The edges of all the characters, monsters, and the world are seamless and have none to microscopic jaggies. There are some very nice shadow effects, lighting effects with the fire and water effects that are revolutionary. Definitely the water effects are nice. The first time you walk through water it will bring a smile across your face and you will want to run around in circles in the water for a few minutes.
In Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance there are some nice sounds. The game has some great voice acting and the spells or skills you use sound like they should. All the monsters have their sounds that they make and their sounds when they die. The downside to these great sounding sounds is that it gets repetitive if you’re in an area with one type of monster and you’re using one skill or spell. There are also background sounds like dripping water if you’re in a sewer, chips and peeps if you’re in a swamp or the blowing of cold freezing wind if you’re in the arctic.
In Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance the music suits the game well. You will hear the music change to something more suspenseful when something is about to happen. It will change to something epic and happy when you complete quests or to something soothing when you’re walking around a town shopping.
Play Time/Replayability 10/10
In Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance there is a lot of replayability. You first time through it will take you about ten hours if you level a little and do the optional quests. Once you beat the game you can use that same character a second time through to level him more. If you have two, or a friend has a character you can play through the game co-operatively to beat it on some harder difficulty levels.
I would definitely recommend buying this game if you like hack and slashing adventures, if you’re into D&D, or if you want a fun game that has some good eye candy. Like all games, if you are unsure that you want it then a rental would be a safe bet so you don’t waste you money on it.
I wish this game had more weapons, more armor, more characters, character classes or a character building mode where you can customize your own character. Online play would also be great but it isn’t necessary. These would be great additions for a sequel.
Average Score 9.0/10
Cory's Score 9/10
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 12/07/02, Updated 12/07/02
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