"An incredible action, adventure RPG."

Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance is an incredible RPG that adds the perfect amount of action and story that will make for an outstandingly fun and addictive game. Possibly one of the best games of the year.

Graphics: 9 out of 10
Everything is crisp, clear, and quite detailed. Slow-down is non-existent and the load times aren’t that bad at all. The animation is great. The textures are very detailed as are the environments. The programers took no short-cuts when designing the characters, enemies, or environments. One thing that is outstanding is the way they did the water. You jump in there’s a splash that ripples out. You wade through and the water moves just as it would if you were really walking through water. That is one thing you notice above all else.

Sound: 9 out of 10
All the effects are top-notch. Playing this game in surround sound is amazing. Traps going off sound perfect and everything is realistic. The music is good too while a little plain at times the quality is superb.

Story: 7 out of 10
Overall the story is mediocre. While its not too deep or anything basically the story serves as a reason for you to go around kicking butt. It starts out with you arriving at the city of Baldur’s Gate. Soon you are robbed. After that you learn that those thieves are members of a new guild. You are greatly angered and are determined to take revenge. Soon you learn that this guild is a huge organization that operates outside Baldur’s Gate. An organization called the Harpers (that should sound familiar to players of BG installments on PC) soon seek your help and you are determined to get to the middle of this conspiracy.

Control: 10 out of 10
Everything is easily controlled and is perfectly responsive. The control layout is excellent and quite unique. You use the up and down on the d-pad to choose your feats (things like spells and special abilities) and left and right to scroll through your equiped weapons. You move with the right analog stick and the left controls the camera. The 4 buttons on the right control your actions like jump, attack, interact, etc. Controls on 3-d adventure games easily can change how much a player enjoys a game. BG: DA has perfectly adapted controls.

Replay Value: 9 out of 10
There are four different difficulties (one must be unlocked) to choose from. I suggest easy for people who just got the game. Once you master the basics or get a little ways you may wish to export your character and start a file on normal. There are three different classes to choose from. They are a dwarven fighter, a human arcane archer, or and elven sorceress. I personally prefer the archer especially in co-op. Since the game is so fun and there are different character classes/difficulty settings its fair to say that there are a lot of reasons to replay this game.

Gameplay: 9 out of 10
This game is so fun and addictive. Anyone who’s played it can tell you how hard it is to put down the controller once you’ve been playing a while. The gameplay has wandered far from the roots of the 2 PC installments. Rather than a stratagy approach with a party its more of a hack and slash adventure game. That is perhaps a good and a bad thing. Don’t judge the gameplay already because of the change in action type because its far better than Gauntlet Legends or the Diablo series. Even though it has changed it still has the interaction of an RPG. The single-player mode is fun but the co-op is a blast. It's so fun to work together while defeating hoards of monsters. That’s when the archer becomes very very useful. Part of the addiction is that when enemies die they (and their bodily fluids) become permenant parts of the scenery. No reappearing monsters means that the only way to build up your character is to continue playing. There are only a few bad points. Occasionally its hard to tell the two players apart in co-op. Depending on where you are in the game you will constantly need to turn the brightness up and down. When you are in a very dark dungeon crawling with undead you’ll want it almost all the way up. About an hour later you might end up on a bright icy mountain in which you’ll turn it down again. These are two minor forgivable things though.

Overall: 9 out of 10
It’s a great action RPG. It’s nice to see and action RPG on the market to compete with the Zelda games which have owned the genre for a long while. After reading the review you might still have questions like which is better this or the PC installments. The answer is simple. The PC installments have more depth in terms of story and strategic battle system while BG: DA was made to appeal to gamers who aren’t fond of traditional RPGs. Even with that said both types of gamers can enjoy Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance. All adventure fans should own this one.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 01/01/02, Updated 01/01/02

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