Review by Dark Horseman
"A promising foray into RPG with the PS2"
''Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance'' is much like ''Gauntlet: Dark Legacy'' with Dungeons & Dragons rules and a semi-Roleplaying plot. It's a nice start, but I hope Interplay does much more with this concept.
Anyone who's played the PC version of Baldur's Gate has come to expect rich scenery as a benchmark of the game. Interplay does not disappoint as the graphics are very intricate and gorgeous.
Kudos to the animators who worked on Alyth--I've not seen such a nice set of teeth!
I appreciated the rich, wet thud of my morning star ripping through the guts of some doomed monster and the subsequent splattering of the ensuing blood spray. Very gratifying! The music wasn't exactly what one would call epic, but it sufficed. Your character does talk a little ''smack'' when it causes a critical (''Stay Down!'', ''That'll teach ya!'', etc.) but there needed to be a lot more of it. A ''taunt'' button would have been a welcome addition!
I nearly pulled my hair out when I scratched the surface of the plot. Spoilers are not allowed so all I can say is predictable and trite. Although I liked interacting with the various characters (q.v. Alyth).
The game isn't long enough, either. You'll probably finish it on a 5 day rent.
If you hate 'em, change 'em! They're fully customizable so they're great!
The movement is very smooth! Very little slowdown encountered even when about 3 or 4 spells are gushing all over the screen. The spell effects were brilliant but that goes under the ''Graphics'' section.
The PS2 format did something very interesting that the PC version did not- take cover! You can actually dodge missiles if you're good. Very groovy! Also, on this format, I found some of the monsters actually frightening (q.v. Spider the size of a car)!
I have to dock points, however, from the hideous lack of intelligence on behalf of your foes. I enjoy a challenge and a couple of the bosses were somewhat crafty, however, in all, the monsters were pretty much punching bags.
I have to dock MORE points for the lack of character selection and ''tweakability'' of the characters. Sure you got to pick your ''feats'' but I want to actually ''roll-up'' my character and change its colors. I really hope Interplay expands this concept to include these features. Without them, the game is simply ''Gauntlet'' in D&D clothing.
Replay Value: 5/10
''Non-linear'' is NOT a concept that applies to ''Dark Alliance''. Some games let you make choices that can influence or alter the eventual outcome of the goal but this one has only a one-way track making playing it once enough.
Rent! Purchase if and only if you're a ''Baldur's Gate'' buff.
Reviewer's Rating: 3.0 - Fair
Originally Posted: 01/28/02, Updated 01/28/02
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