Review by MBarnes

"An RPG for the action gamer, this game rocks!"

The first of several planned Baldur's Gate games for the PS2, Dark Alliance sets the stage very well. With fluid animation and extremely detailed monsters, this game brings the D&D world ''to life''.

Minor spoilers are present

GRAPHICS
The graphics are on par with a typical FINISHED PS2 game, with polished effects and a feeling of ''immersion''. The animation of the monsters almost makes them believable. Just pay close attention to the zombies as you splatter them to get an idea of the detail of the game... no critter dies just like his brethren. The dragon even gets a bloody nose when ya kick his butt!

SOUND
This game has the most realistic sound it could. You hear traps firing in the distance, and hear critters coming before you see them. The critters grunt when you smack em and cheer when they hit you (sometimes). Fire crackles, water gurgles, rain patters, doors creak...

GAMEPLAY
This game is reminiscent of Diablo, with it being hack and slash, however, it has its own mechanic. You actually have to aim your blows (to some degree) and spells. This adds a challenge not seen in Diablo (point and click anyone?). However, Diablo has something this game does not... randomization. This game has the same dungeon layouts and same monsters regardless of the character you play, so you get a feeling of sameness regardless of who you play. This is somewhat saved by the significantly different styles of the characters. The different tactics required by the characters to fight the beholder demonstrates this perfectly, as the only ability missing from the beholder is its disintegration ray. I found it easiest to kill the beholder with the dwarf, as the arcane archer becomes a normal archer, and I died four times as the sorceress before killing it, because beholders are immune to magic. Hehe... I would like to see ANY of these characters kill a beholder at level 6 in PnP D&D...

The ending was disappointing to me (I don't like cliffhangers) but it DID strongly hint at a sequel. Perhaps we will be able to import our characters? I cant wait to see ;-) Maybe it will be out when I get back from Korea.

Overall I thoroughly enjoy this game. I am currently alternating it and MGS2. Although I beat it in 10 hours the first time I played it, I still enjoy it.


Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 12/07/01, Updated 12/07/01


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