Game: "Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn"
Published by: Other
Review: If I hadn't been unemployed for six months in 2006, I never would have completed this game. Of course, by that time it was just a little bit dated, having come out in 2000. And PC games, being what they are, tend to be obsolete and forgotten within a year of their release, after the next shiny new thing requiring you to upgrade all your hardware comes along.
Don't get me wrong, I tried to play this game back when it came out. I even imported my character from the original Baldur's Gate and was delighted to see that everyone's favorite brain-injured ranger, Minsc, was returning with his furry friend Boo to offer more of his insanity-soaked humor. I escaped the initial dungeon and stepped out into the sunlit streets of Athkatla, capital city of Amn. And there, I was bombarded from every direction with needy, apparently lazy people presenting me with quests. So many quests that I soon started having trouble keeping track of them all, even using the in-game journal system. And they just kept on coming. I didn't need an in-game journal, I needed a scribe to sit next to me while playing the game! But where was that, Bioware? There was no scribe in my box!
After becoming overwhelmed by the million different quests I'd racked up ("Deliver this bottle of wine to Bob the cobbler!", "Kill that mouse, save the world!", "Shine my fucking shoes! But first, go on an epic quest to fetch my shoes!") I had to put the game down for a while. I had enough stress in my life as it was; I didn't need virtual stresses to add to it all. And the game sat on my hard drive, for many months, forgotten, until I deleted it to make room for other games I didn't have the time to play.
And then in 2006 I got fired from my job, so I dug out this game, blew the dust off of it, and for a couple weeks, it became my full time job. And once I had the time to devote to it and really focus on it, I realized it's quite a fun game. It's got an immensely detailed storyline (continued in the very good expansion Throne of Bhaal), lots of great NPCs to choose from in your party (sometimes causing an agonizing decision when you've run out of room and you have to let one go), tons of new monsters to fight, tons of new spells, and a plethora of interesting places to explore. It got rid of a lot of the problems that plagued the first Baldur's Gate, chief of which being (to my memory) the boring, repetitive level design. And while this game offers nothing near the character stories of, say, Planescape: Torment, it does offer a much more rewarding potential for interaction with your NPCs than the first game.
It's not without its frustrations, however. Some of the fights are insanely hard, and you'll find that much like all of Bioware's Infinity Engine RPGs, your characters will often decide to cast off the yoke of your control and declare independence in the middle of a crucial fight, whereupon they immediately die for having foolishly charged at a dragon by their lonesome (this of course, requires you to use the pause button to micromanage every combat to the extreme). They also (still) like to get stuck on walls or take the most circuitous path (often through hostile, monster-occupied territory) to get to the map destination on which you're clicking.
If you've got a lot of free time and don't know how to spend it, however, this is the right game for you. There are hours upon hours of things to discover in this game if you take the time to explore everything, and it offers up a pretty rewarding experience, whether you're a D&D geek or not (though naturally D&D geeks will appreciate it more). There have certainly been better role-playing games that have come out since, but for its time, this was quite the epic role-playing adventure, and it still held up as a pretty entertaining classic as of two years ago.
(Scored on a 0.5 - 5 pickles rating: 0.5 being the worst and 5 being the best)
|your characters will often decide to cast off the yoke of your control and declare independence in the middle of a crucial fight, whereupon they immediately die for having foolishly charged at a dragon by their lonesome.|
|I still totally love this game. But seriously, the only guy macking on my heroine is ANOMEN? Bleah|
I still totally love this game. But seriously, the only guy macking on my heroine is ANOMEN? Bleah
|Aww c'mon, those dragons weren't even hard|
|Always been a little too chicken to try mods *laughs* Don't know why. NWN sort of changed that a little, but installing them still confuses me.|
Almost anything that's been scripted in WeiDu is fairly self-explanatory, and about 90% of them are. Umm... http://www.sorcerers.net/Games/BG2/index_mods_npc_m.php if you want a male romance. Edwin's my favourite but apparently I like sarcasm a little too much.
You know, when I'm on my 20th playthrough and I've listened to some massive scaly thing expostulate for 10 minutes yet again, I think I can be forgiven for wanting to kind of get the battle over with.
|Don't you mean Edwina? (If I remember that little side quest correctly...) And I'd actually have to reinstall the thing, but I'll keep the link in mind, thanks!|
|the music which plays while fighting against Firkraag was one of the highlights of the game for me.|
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