Review by fantasyfan

"Graphically stunning, and extremely involving"

Who has ever heard of Snowblind, raise your hands? Ok thats what I thought, nobody. A newbie company comes out with this incredible attempt at an action-rpg for playstation 2. This game is a lot more than what I expected, and falls short of a few expectations. But lets get one thing straight, it is an incredible playstation 2 experience with graphics that no other game can rival. I was suprised when I first picked this game up to find that it was a lot more action-oriented then past Baldur's Gate games. First and foremost, this is not the Baldur's Gate you all know by now. It borrows ideas heavily from Diablo and leans in that direction much more than the party-based action from past titles. There are no party members, and all action is delt in realtime. This sort of action combined with the controls of the DualShock and the graphical power of a playstation2 creates a much more indulging action experience then past BG titles. Everything, and every room in this game is fantastically created and absolutely stunning to watch. The action in this game is rivaled only by Blizzards one and only, Diablo. If you are fresh out of action, rpg, or action-rpg ideas for the playstation 2, pick this one up and you will not be dissapointed.

Graphics 9.5
Everything in this game is absolutely FANTASTIC to watch and visually, this game is a masterpiece. Every spell that is cast, and every blade that is swung is masterfully crafted with a powerful system. Each and every new area you venture to you will be in utter shock from what you see. There wasn't a room in this game that I didn't think looked better than the last. It only gets better and better as the game goes on. The water effects in this game are absolutely unrivaled. Is it possible for a top-down game to have some of the best water effects around? You bet, and Baldur's Gate: DA succeeds in almost every area as well. The reflection, explosion, particle effects, etc. are a wonder to behold. I could go on and on but I must draw myself to conclusion soon, so on to the gripes. Well, only one gripe to be precise. At some points I will find myself forced into a situation where there is no way around. Behind a little hut, or trapped in a corner. Maybe not exactly a graphical glitch, but more of a gameplay matter. Other than that, and the sometimes too-far away camera setting, the game is incredible looking.

Sound 8.5
The sound in this game is incredible. You will find yourself deeply involved if not only to experience the new sounds that each area offers. The environment has some really great sounds from the environment. If you are outdoors, be sure you pay close attention to the birds chirping and what not in the background. The slice of swords, the casting of spells, the killing of beasts, it all sounds great. The voice acting in this game is absolultely excelling. I was not in utter shock when I heard the characters speak, because past Baldur's Gate games have been known for the same recognition. But it is impossible for one not to fall in love with the voice acting in this game. It is what other games should be measured on, excellent stuff. So with all this good what could possibly be bad? Well the music is... well not really that good. Not any other way to describe it except there hardly is any, once in a rare occasion you will hear the music pop up out of nowhere... but it is gone before you can even get to the next area. Music is lame, but the great sounds make up for it.

Gameplay 8.0
This is the biggy. Does Baldur's Gate succeed in this area and surpass its sisters? Well, yes and no. The action in this game is more involving then basic hack and slash gameplay, but less complete than a full fledged Devil May Cry. The basic battle system works like this: hack, slash, block, jump, hack, slash, block, jump, hack, slash, block, jump.... get the point? I can't be totally truthful by saying each character works like this, since there are three different classes. The sorceress and archer have a little more varied action then you mihgt find from the fighter, but I still can't help but feel a little bit of something missing here. As like Diablo before it, you kill hordes of enemies roaming areas and pick up there old helmets, swords, rings, whatever you have room for in your inventory. So how does the story stack up? Well I was forced to subtract a few points here for that area. The story is not all great, even with the excellent voice acting, I still feel somewhat cheated by the story. Past Baldur's Gate titles have done a better job of immersing you in their world, which is something this title lacks. One hugely lacking feature I felt in this game was the complete LINEAR gameplay experience. There is no map, no branching areas, nothin. You basically get a town, and 1 dungeon to go to... then the next town, and 1 area to go to, etc. Although I was not bored by this in any way, I felt somewhat deprived of the areas I could go to and it subtracted from the overall replay value of this game. Even with these gripes, the game manages to do what it is supposed to do best: involve you in an incredibly great gameplay experience.

Inteface 8.0
Not much to say in these regards, except that it is pretty good. The inventory system doesn't work as good as other BG titles, or as well as Diablo. But it works, and thats all that really really matters when playing the game. At least you don't have this system where it is impossible to sort through all your items to tell what you want to keep and what to toss. It is set up in a way so that when you run out of weight you can toss the items you no longer want by the simple tap of a button. Each item you have gives you the sell value of that item so youy can tell what to keep and what to toss before you make your venture to town. The inventory screen is pretty cool tho nonetheless because whatever you equip yourself with you see the changes directly to your character, making infinite possibilities. The level up system is pretty good as well even tho I feel like it could of used more skill variation. Not bad, not bad at all.

Replay 7.5
Two player is absolutely a great addition if you want to cruise around the dungeons with your buddy.... but the first time through the game by yourself you will find it wont take more than 10 hours! YIKES! Not only that but when you do take the time to go back and play with your bud, you will be dissapointed with the lack of freedom. You can only go where they tell you to go, and nowhere else. One great thing about the Diablo series is the complete freedom to go wherever you want to. This game falls a little short in that regards, but nevertheless it is still quite fun to play through with a bud with maybe even one of the three different character classes.

Rent or Buy
I rented it only because I was unconfident about this game being any good. I thought it would turn out to be a flop and a lame attempt at bringing a sweet pc game to a console. Boy was I wrong, because the results of this game are fantastic. And anyone with a cravin' for some good time dungeon crawling, and an itch for hackin' slashin' will want to pick this up. Unless you are overwhelmed with the sheer amount of games out right now, you might want to rent it a couple times but seriously look past that, and try to get your paws on this game! So time for the overall judgment of the game. How I judge my games is by overall satisfaction of the titles and how much fun I am having by playing the game... and my urge to keep playing. When it comes down to that, I feel compelled to give this title a worthy 8/10. It is revolutionary in terms of graphics, and has some great fun times, but there are the turn-offs as well. It excells in many areas and basically just presents you with a good ole time. So no delay, get this now!

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 12/17/01, Updated 12/17/01

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