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What's so great about Baldur's Gate 2?

JormungandJormungand MemberFull Members
edited September 2014 in Role Playing Games
I recently completed this game, having purchased the complete edition through GOG several months ago based on many recommendations and general good will. After several hours in, I began keeping a list of the things that just really did not sit well with me during gameplay. I wouldn't normally make a thread like this, but considering the game's apparent reputation, I just need to know: beyond the proclamations like genre-redefining and that sort of thing, what specifically makes this game so revered?

First, a little bit about my game: Main Character (Kensai), Minsc (archer mostly, melee sometimes), Aerie, Jaheira (tank), Keldorn, and Yoshimo-->Imoen. I did not install any mods.

To follow is my stream-of-consciousness list of complaints I had during gameplay:
  1. Due to general confusion and lack of transparency, every single play session was riddled with problems causing me to constantly check the internet (sometimes a walkthrough, sometimes an FAQ, sometimes a forum thread)
  2. Generally inscrutable rules. Fans indicate you are expected to know DnD rules. Well, I don't, so forget that.
  3. During Keldorn's recruitment quest, he leaves and depending on the player's actions he may leave permanently--he leaves anyway during the quest, and sometimes doesn't appear where he is supposed to, causing great concern for players wanting to recruit him.
  4. I made a Kensai intending to do the Kensai/Mage thing. Oh, sorry, you needed to have pumped points into intelligence during character creation to be allowed to dual-class that! Better luck next time, ignorant fool!
  5. Conflicts among party members that make certain combinations either impossible or difficult to achieve. Midway through the whole game I may have lost either Aerie or Jaheira without having checked a FAQ to make sure I didn't make one of them angry. How stupid.
  6. Enemies that cast various types of invulnerability spells are too difficult to deal with early and mid game.
  7. Inventory management, UGH. So awful. And the delay between being able to click items.
  8. Hundreds of key items that may be necessary to continue or progress a quest. It's often unclear what you need and where, and if you don't have it, too bad.
  9. I didn't know about auto-save at first, which screwed up my game early on. I was never a "create hundreds of save files" kind of player.
  10. "Sorry, that enemy can only be damaged by +x weapons." This may be the stupidest, most pointless, most frustrating rule I encountered.
  11. Wow is this game is bug-ridden.
  12. Sometimes your characters will just stop moving to their destination. My theory is that when a character tries to move to a spot but runs into several obstacles at once (other PCs or NPCs), their move command will just be deleted. It's really annoying when you're trying to move everyone from one side of a map to
  13. I strongly dislike pit fiends.
  14. Characters dropping all their gear on KO. What a terrible idea. Supposing your inventory is packed with loot (which it most certainly will be), and a character dies via boss toward the end of a dungeon and you are without means of revival, you've got problems.
  15. Key items that remain in your inventory after they have fulfilled their purpose. They're annoying because if you forgot what they're for or you picked them up for a quest you haven't started, you either have to keep them or (in my case) search the internet to see if they have any further use. Naturally you'll want to do this right away since inventory space is painfully scarce.
  16. "This item cannot be equipped due to other magical equipment you are currently wearing." Another super frustrating rule that makes no sense whatsoever.
  17. At this point in the game (roughly mid-late) I feel like I'm constantly behind because every new boss or tough encounter there's some seriously ridiculous magic being used that makes an enemy untouchable.
  18. Fear is BS.
  19. Speaking of fear, I almost quit at the fight in the Underdark with the Balor. There had been so many frustrating fights up to that point--fights where some obscure, special tactic or spell had to be used in order to win... then this guy. You need special weapons to damage him and special buffs to survive his magic. Here's why I almost quit the game: Balor causes Fear to party members. You might say, "Well, that's really no big deal, you simply get yourself a Resist Fear or Remove Fear spell." Well, neither of those spells can be obtained from merchants at that point in the game. If you didn't have them beforehand, you're screwed. I had to cheat in order to add the Resist Fear scroll to my inventory. There's no way I would have beaten the Balor without it, because he would cause Fear with 100% certainty, and then pick off whoever is running away. And even after that and all sorts of special buffs, I barely won the fight. The whole situation was infuriating.
  20. At this point in time I'm pretty sure I've spent maybe a quarter of my play time researching stuff on the internet rather than actually playing the game.
  21. Speaking of research, it was not easy to find answers to many of my questions that came up during gameplay. The walkthroughs I found are not great and often left out little details (that the authors probably didn't consider a big deal, likely because they knew the game so well). Some things I couldn't find an explanation for at all (more on this later).
  22. When stuff drops on the edge of a map, it's really difficult to place your cursor over it.
  23. Healing magic is super weak, almost to the point of being useless once you hit the game's midpoint.
  24. The magic system is general is terrible. The limitations are frustrating, and spell management is extremely tedious--especially when you have to adjust your current spell roster to combat specific tactics for specific fights.
  25. It appears that damage is not always recorded... you'll see "____ attacks ____" in the message log but then no followup damage appears. As in, not even a "Weapon Ineffective" message or "Critical Miss" message or anything. Just nothing. This is a big problem. I need to know if my weapons are doing something.
  26. Randomly getting ambushed by enemies in city streets and such. This is a big waste of time.
  27. Speaking of, I obviously don't understand what constitutes magic in this game. If you cast a spell, the Cowled Enforcers or whatever they're called come and harass you--even if the thugs who ambushed you are using magic. That said, the enforcers came to attack me several times when I didn't cast a single spell.
  28. Why do bracers (and such) have an armor class if they don't actually ADD to the armor class? Again, there must be unreasonable rules at work here.
  29. There's some serious imbalance going on in this game. Before fights were super difficult, each was a struggle, and I had to look up how to win them. Then, upon returning from the Underdark, I starting absolutely obliterating everything, including Bodhi, Irenicus part 1 and 2, and his little demons too.
  30. Oh, but wait. Even though I defeated Irenicus part 2, I can't beat the game. Why? Well, no one seems to know. After defeating Irenicus, he reverted form, and just stood there. Nothing happened. I could attack him, move around, do whatever, but the game would not progress to the final cutscene. The battle was over, I won handily, but I did not win. The single utterance I found on the internet about this obvious bug is as follows, found on a forum thread:
    Regarding the invincible Irenicus, I think that a certain sequence is supposed to fire there (probably script related), where Irenicus' power goes amok. You've may have smacked him too much around, so that he got stuck in a script "loop", and the right block never fires correctly (thus triggering the end sequence with Jon). Think Trolls that won't go down (sometimes you got to stand back on those too). Have you had this happen to you multiple times? You can't ctrl+y him because you're not supposed to kill him "proper", and the only other way to kill him is to level drain him (or get his stats lowered) below zero.
    Palm to face. I hate this game.

    Well, I certainly wasn't going to do that over again. I reloaded my save before the final battle and Ctrl+Y'ed him to death. No regrets here.

As I wrote in the completed games thread, I don't think I can handle playing Throne of Bhaal. I'm hoping someone can convince me otherwise. At the very least, I'd love to know what makes this game so special. But before I end, I want to mention two things about the game that I absolutely loved to at least try to counter the overall negativity:

1. I set several auto-pause rules, and absolutely loved the faux-turn based gameplay. In fact, I got the battle system to play like Growlanser. So the general procedure of battles was always enjoyable, even if the enemies themselves and the many rules were not.

2. Six-character party. I applaud any RPG that gives the player full simultaneous command of at least 4 characters. So few games do this, and it's a shame.

That's all for now. I should add that I supported the Pillars of Eternity kickstarter, and eagerly await it's release. I just hope it dispenses with all of the problems listed above, including any recognizable relation to DnD rules.


  • NimNim _ Full Members
    edited September 2014
    Half of your complaints are things that I liked about the game. I love the backgrounds. The music is great. I enjoyed the story and characters. There's a crapton of content. I like real time with pause combat. You do not control a single character. Six man group is great. I can understand that one might not like the game if one has no idea about how the D&D mechanics work. I think it's a great game, but if you don't like it, you should maybe skip Throne of Baal. If someone dislikes something, I never try to convince them to play anything like it.
  • TheAnimeManTheAnimeMan Member RPGamer Staff
    edited September 2014
    Agreed with Nim, I LOVE the AD&D ruleset from the goldbox games but can't bring myself to play through the Baldurs gate or Icewind Dale games

    28 years of gaming and still going strong
    and now a mostly annoyed Father with first son. And now a father again to a second son :D

    Winner of the 2015-2016 Fantasy gaming Pool
  • Jmustang1968Jmustang1968 RPGamer Staff RPGamer Staff
    edited September 2014
    Well, as mentioned above, a big thing you are having issues with is the D&D ruleset. Another is that the game expected you to read the fairly extensive manual that came with it. Many of these mechanics and game nuances were laid out in the manual. This game comes from a time where large manuals and no hand holding was prevalent.

    The game also give you enough rope with which to hang yourself with. Lots of room for customization for both good and bad. I would use the cleric dispel spell often, or keep a few handy. If I remember correctly, there were cleric/druid spells that could remove buffs. It is also important to buff your party as well.

    I never noticed an item clicking delay.

    The pathfinding can be frustrating at times. It is often better to follow along with the group and assigning shorter waypoints than it is to just zoom across and click.

    I love the party interaction and dialogue. Making plot decisions or dialog decisions that can please or anger your party members is a draw for me. It makes them feel more dynamic and real.

    The magical equipment incompatibility thing is I believe rings and bracers. This is a D&D thing I believe, and meant for the use of these items not to be OP.

    The bracers that you equip do help your armor class. The lower the armor class the better. These are typically used by mage types who dont wear armor.

    I dont mind the magic system except that you have to rest to replenish. That can be annoying sometimes.

    The Cowled Enforcers is a story driven limitation, and they usually only appear in the city. Outside, you are free to magic it up.

    Bags of holding and gem bags etc are great for inventory management.

    There are some mods that modernize the game. Some of them are nice, such as infinite stacks for arrows in inventory, bug fixing, other ease of use things.
  • Phillip WillisPhillip Willis Certified Polygameist RPGamer Staff
    edited September 2014
    As anyone who has listened to enough RPGBacktracks long enough will tell ya, I agree with AnimeMan...at least to a point. The Gold Box D&D games had the right idea. D&D is a pen and paper RPG with the vast majority of its rules supporting a turn based combat system. When Baldur's Gate came out, I was super stoked...until I started playing it and realized that they moved it to a real time approach. Even if you set everyone to pause on their initiative, it still feels real time because everyone moves at the same time the moment you unpause. I completely changes the way much of combat works, requiring a different tactical approach just to make it through some of the more basic encounters.

    With THAT being said, I would be elated to answer the question you pose in the thread header first... what I do like about the game and/or what I think makes it a gem in most RPGamers' minds.

    * The main story/plot was decent. And, the low fantasy taste of it was a refreshing contrast to the 'teenager saves the world' story plots done over and over in many RPGs of the time.
    * The interaction between the characters in the party, and your ability to have such an impact on those relationships, fascinated most RPGamers from beginning to end.
    * Despite my gripes above, I somewhat enjoyed the combat, and character leveling system because they were deep. Most JRPG and even some of the newer WRPGs aimed for a simpler approach. BG games had a huge instruction book which, if read and applied carefully, would make a huge difference in the effectiveness of your party. This made the party really feel more yours (this is more noticeable in Icewind Dale, where you make the whole party...but unfortunately, lose the party interaction).

    As far as your concerns... well, I'm going off of my experience from a decade or so ago, but I want to say some of those bugs you mentioned were not in the version I played. I read in a few reviews that the new Enhanced Edition wasn't so enhanced because, among other points, it actually introduced some bugs. Not sure. While I did encounter an issue here and there, I did not encounter the sheer number of bugs you did. I would remember THAT level of frustration.

    A number of the things you listed are D&D rules. Spend less time reading FAQs and more time in the instruction book :) As JMS says in his first line, above, it's from that era (and believe it or not, some of us still like it like that...though admittedly, I don't have as much time to learn 100+ page rulesets anymore). Most of your frustrations above would have been solved if you did so, because those things are explained.

    As far as healing, in D&D, it's more of something to be used out of combat (at least until you get to higher levels and get the "Heal" spell). Granted, if someone gets knocked down to 2HPs, that cure serious wounds may help him survive the combat, but the general rule is that healing doesn't come close to average damage dealt (which is fine by me because otherwise battles with enemy clerics would go on forever). In a six man party, like in BG, I usually have to characters that can heal (sometimes three...via multiclassing). That way, if I really DO need to bring someone up fast, I can via multiple healers.

    With that all being said, even with all my preparation and experience with D&D rules, I found combat to be a challenge for a number of reasons, mostly having to do with the move to psuedo real time. Take my advice, and turn on options that make combat easier...such as max HPs at level up.

    If you do decide to move forward, you can always hit me up on skype or something if you need advice. It's been a long time since I played that game, or anything from that edition of D&D, but I'm sure I could have answered some of your frustrations a lot faster than searching forever through a FAQ. Just remember to read the instructions carefully. This is not a game for the impatient or those who insist on just jumping in where angels fear to tread!

    P.S. I just noticed the "2" after "Baldur's Gate." Please tell me you played BG1 first. I'm kinda thinking you didn't since some of the items you listed wouldn't be issues if you did...but... DANG. Jumping into BG2 w/o playing BG1 first really leaves you behind the curve ball, especially if you didn't read all the instructions carefully. Its not wonder that you're so frustrated!
    Co-Host on RPGBacktrack. Follow me on Twitter and sub to my blog if you would like!
  • AzilisAzilis Member Full Members
    edited September 2014
    jcservant wrote: »
    P.S. I just noticed the "2" after "Baldur's Gate." Please tell me you played BG1 first. I'm kinda thinking you didn't since some of the items you listed wouldn't be issues if you did...but... DANG. Jumping into BG2 w/o playing BG1 first really leaves you behind the curve ball, especially if you didn't read all the instructions carefully. Its not wonder that you're so frustrated!

    I jumped into BG2 before 1. Better than that, I had previously played a grand total of 1 RPGs. No previous D&D experience, and very little in the way of conventional RPG know-how. What I did have was a 258 page spiral-bound manual that taught me (a lot of) what I needed to know. It was enough to survive combat on the default difficulty settings for an acceptable percentage of encounters. I did die a lot, but I found the combat system fun and interesting enough to make up for it. Real-time with pause just seemed the natural way to do things when you didn't have to physically roll the dice for every turn and then calculate the implications of said dice roll.
  • DravDrav A Serious Man Full Members
    edited September 2014
    Yeah, as someone who's first experience with Infinity Engine games was also Baldur's Gate 2, I don't think there is a serious issue with skipping the original. BG1 is the worst Infinity Engine game by a mile.

    Jormungand, even if you didn't like BG2 I would still recommend giving Planescape: Torment a shot. Even if it has a few of the same issues, it's a much more forgiving game (at least, for those who aren't DnD superfans) with a vastly superior story.
  • Phillip WillisPhillip Willis Certified Polygameist RPGamer Staff
    edited September 2014
    Hahaha... you made me laugh, Drav. I see what you did there. You gave an opinion that required your to compare and contrast BG1 and 2, yet you've never played the first. That's called an 'unqualified opinion.' :) Sorry...I don't mean to be snarky, but you must admit, when you make statements like that, you kinda leave yourself wide open.

    I've played both as well as ...

    Icewind Dale games
    Both Neverwinter Nights
    The original AOL Neverwinter Nights
    2 Eye of the Beholders
    Temple of Elemental Evil (I loved it despite the bugs)
    All 9 GoldBox games (So much fun, if not hard as nails)
    Heroes of the Lance
    Fantasy Empires (Yeah, it's not really an RPG)
    Unlimited Adventures
    Darksun: Shattered Lands
    Ravenloft: Strahd's Possession
    the D&D MMO
    Some D&D PSP Game that I purposefully forgot,
    The Excellent Planescape Torment.
    (Ok...Now I'm being snarky. Sorry...once I got started, I didn't want to stop typing...it was great to recall all of the D&D Games I played...I'm sure there's a couple I'm forgetting!)

    You can add a whole bunch of pen and paper D&D/Pathfinder adventures over the course of a quarter of a century (darn, I'm old) and I'll tell ya that... in my very qualified opinion, while it may not be a 'serious' issue to skip BG1 (depending on what you consider serious), you miss out on a lot of character and story by skipping the first. Furthermore, and this is the main point for me, the first game covers what... levels 1 through 7? Give or take? (It's been a while). So, when you jump into BG2, you're starting off at level 7ish. The thing is, D&D is game that gets more complicated as you move up in levels. Specifically, your spell casters have a lot more spells to manage. So IMHQO*, starting off at level 1 (especially if you do not have prior experience with D&D) makes learning the game a lot easier. I would never recommend to start a brand new player at level 7 in my D&D/Pathfinder Pen and Paper game, so I'm not sure why BG would be any different. Is it impossible? Of course not. Azilis' experience shows that if you take your time, read the instructions carefully, and apply a healthy dose of patience, you can do it. Is it a more difficult approach? You betcha.

    I'm not sure what you're implying with the statement "Worst Infinity Enging game by a mile." Worse in what ways? Having played all of them, I can understand the sentiment, to a degree. Though I cannot support the adage, "By a mile." For me, the roughest parts of BG1, comparatively speaking, was resolution (A result of its age more than anything else) and pathfinding...one of which is easily addressed with a community patch or playing the newer re-released version. Pathfinding was a pain, but nothing I didn't get used to quick enough.

    IMHQO: In My Humble, Qualified Opinion
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  • DravDrav A Serious Man Full Members
    edited September 2014
    You misinterpreted what I said; I did play Baldur's Gate 1, I just played Baldur's Gate 2 first.

    Baldur's Gate has a weak setting, a weak story, weak characters, and weak level design, and almost no role-playing (the dialogue options barely matter). Besides some good examples of encounter design (especially the final battle), I can't think of a lot to recommend. Icewind Dale 1/2 was a lot more linear, but had much better level/encounter design, more customization, and even a better story in my opinion. Baldur's Gate 2 had much better story/characters, more customization (more class variety of the protagonist and the huge cast of party members), a huge gameworld to explore, actual role-playing (at least a few divergent paths based on whether you play a good or evil character), much more variety in terms of monsters to fight, much better AI... basically a better game in every possible way. And while starting at level 7 might not be ideal, it does at least mean you don't have to put up with the worst aspects of low-level DnD, like missing all the time and only being able to cast one spell before you have to rest.
  • Phillip WillisPhillip Willis Certified Polygameist RPGamer Staff
    edited September 2014
    Ah, I stand corrected regarding your experience. My apologies, I did infer incorrectly.

    I dunno, man. I guess we can agree to disagree. While I agree that the elements in BG1 you speak of are somewhat weaker than BG2, they're still good. Remember that the original BG1 received pretty much universal acclaim... and while it's not as good as BG2 in most respects, it's still good. I would even place it above Icewind Dale 1, even though I agree that Icewind does have better design and customization. BG1's story and character interactions more than make up for that.

    Going back to my original concern about building up to level 7.... level 1 (Where you have two spells and may want to rest a lot) doesn't last that long. Yeah, there's a lot of missing in melee, but since it only takes one or two hits to kill things (and be KO'd), that's a good thing. At higher levels, everyone hits a lot more, but they absorb a lot more punishment. So, that's a wash. It generally still takes x rounds to get through combat. Usually, with my low level casters, I find things for them to do (crossbow, darts, wands) when they're not casting their two spells for the day.

    High level casting is kinda similar...it's all a matter of perspective. I can only do the really cool things a few times / day (my highest level, most effective spells). Sure, I have a LOT of spells, but the low level spells aren't really that cool once I get things like Heal, Cloudkill and Charm Monster. So, a few times / day I get to do the really awesome stuff, and the rest of they day, I cast low level spells instead of using darts/crossbow/wands that my level 1-3 caster is doing.

    However, since the choices at low level is only "Cast my 1 or 2 cool spells or use my crossbow/wand" and my choices at higher level is "Which of my 12 spells should I cast here", the lower level game is less complex. This makes the game easier for new players to think through as they learn the intricacies of the game. Also, keep in mind that healing is more effective at low levels. A cure light wounds (d8+lv IIRC) averages 50% of most players HPs, versus a Cure Serious Wounds at 4th level (4d8+lv) which averages 25-30% most character's MHPs. You're dealing with a lot less status ailments at low level, as well.

    I'm not going to make a case that low level combat is more fun over all. Many veteran players of D&D might even agree with you (Pathfinder addressed a number of the issues with low level play, including low level casters not having enough toys). However, I find the viewpoint that it's better to have a new player to start with BG2 instead of BG1 mighty hard to defend.
    Co-Host on RPGBacktrack. Follow me on Twitter and sub to my blog if you would like!
  • AzilisAzilis Member Full Members
    edited September 2014
    jcservant wrote: »
    I'm not going to make a case that low level combat is more fun over all. Many veteran players of D&D might even agree with you (Pathfinder addressed a number of the issues with low level play, including low level casters not having enough toys). However, I find the viewpoint that it's better to have a new player to start with BG2 instead of BG1 mighty hard to defend.

    Based on my own experience I think he's right. All other things being equal except for the starting level, BG1 would have been the better starting point for a new player. The problem is that BG1 was kind of a slog until you reach the city of Baldur's Gate midway through the game. The dungeons, particularly early in the game, were dismal (visually uninteresting with some poor encounter design), and the story was only moderately interesting.

    Baldur's Gate 2 on the other hand dropped you into an enormous city right after the tutorial dungeon. You could wander off in any direction and find countless interesting things to do and characters to talk to. There were extremely powerful and daunting enemies willing to take you on early in the game that you might just be able to handle if you knew what you were doing . . . and if you didn't (as in my case), you walked away from those encounters with the feeling that if you gained a bit more knowledge and another level of experience, you just might be able to best them next time. And there were tons of questlines that played themselves out over the course of a couple hours of gameplay that almost felt like self-contained games in their own right.

    Maybe some new players would be overwhelmed, but I loved it. I don't think there's any chance BG1 would have made me seek out other games like it had I played it first. I doubt I would have even finished it.
  • Phillip WillisPhillip Willis Certified Polygameist RPGamer Staff
    edited September 2014
    It's all in context. If BG1 is played first, you don't notice its flaws as much, because most criticisms you (and others) raise about the game is how much better BG2 does in certain respects. Having played them in order myself, I wasn't thinking anything of the sort. The game has a 90%+ metacritic score. BE2 is two points higher. Point is that they're both great games, by most people accounts, especially when played in order (which puts things in proper context). Of course, if you play BG2 and then play BG1, must of the appeal of BG1 fades away quickly, since BG2 does make a number of improvements. It's like playing Super Mario 3 before trying SM1. If you do so, you will wonder what people saw in that first game.

    Now, again, I'm not a huge advocate for either game. As I mention above, I feel that the psuedo real time combat was a poor fit for the D&D combat system, which is a pure turn based system at its core. The game wasn't a 90% for me, at all, but closer to 75-80%

    It's funny, Azilis, but a testament that everyone has varying tastes that many of issues (when contrasting the two) you listed I liked better in BG1. Personally, I liked that BG1 didn't waste too much time with Candlekeep and let me get out and fight early. Right now, my wife and I are playing Divinity which, after a few battles, puts in you a larges city (similar in scope/size to BG2) and I just felt like it was too much text, plots, sidequests and characters for me to slog through before I finally got to more adventuring and fighting. I, personally, don't like running into hard enemies early on. It reminds me of early JRPGs, and the way they used hard enemies as a soft barrier to keep you out of certain lands until later. Again, I think this is something Divinity does (and you certainly DO feel like you might make it through those fights if you had everything optimized *just* right).... but that just ends up tickin' me off when I die over and over (because, of course, I'm not on that level of playing, I suppose). And yeah, some of the deeper questlines are driving me a bit batty for reasons I won't go into right now. Hmmm...the more I talk about this, the more I'm sure Divinity: Original Sin is for you, Azilis. Have you checked it out?
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  • TheAnimeManTheAnimeMan Member RPGamer Staff
    edited September 2014
    In general it is never a good idea to play an actual second game before the first. The only exceptions I can think of are with precise series.

    1. Final Fantasy, where nothing is the same
    2. Lufia 2, which allows you to see how Lufia 1 occurred. Problem is, like in this case, there are improvements to the general system that would make playing the first game tedious cause you already had expectations from the second one.
    3. Series where it's just a number of how many they made and nothing more.

    This is like if you played some of the PS2 Tomb Raider games before palying the first game then deciding oh I wanna play the first game. But by doing so you can't because the mechanics, gameplay, and even graphics got improved and you're left with WTF.

    28 years of gaming and still going strong
    and now a mostly annoyed Father with first son. And now a father again to a second son :D

    Winner of the 2015-2016 Fantasy gaming Pool
  • SpartakusSpartakus One Knight Stand Full Members
    edited September 2014
    I've never seen the appeal of BG2 either, nor the first one. I bought both when BG2 was new and given their reception and how the games were portrayed in magazines (I was into fantasy RPGS after all) I felt it was a safe purchase, but after repeated attempts at getting into them they eventually ended up gathering dust. They're still lying there, looking like I bought them yesterday.

    The main problem for me is that I got into RPGs in the first place by playing JRPGs and when playing BG I really missed having a strong, central storyline that pulls you along and characters I could get emotionally invested in. The gameplay felt clumsy and awkward, especially inventory management, and the battles were rather unimpressive affairs with tiny character models hitting each other with sticks and dinky fireball spells. So drab compared with what I was used to.

    That being said I did enjoy Elder Scrolls and Might&Magic RPGs at the same time, so despite lacking the JRPG qualities mentioned above these titles must've gotten something right that BG didn't. I can't pinpoint what it was though.
  • Phillip WillisPhillip Willis Certified Polygameist RPGamer Staff
    edited September 2014
    I can understand your sentiment on most of that stuff, Spartakus. Unless one is a D&D affectionado, that battle system is nothing to write home about. Heck, even if you are, the move to real time turned some of us off. The inventory system could seem like a pain .

    But the story in BG1? Characters? Their interaction? Definitely above the average spikey-hair teenager saves the world JRPG (though, IMHO, not above the best). You get to pick from numerous, interesting PCs to round out your party, and their banter is so much fun to listen to. Granted little, (outside of one thing, for me), shocks you in the plot....but after playing dozens of JRPGs, there's little under the sun there. But, it's interesting enough, and there's dozen of sidequests to add to it. It really felt good. I'm not going to put the storyline above the masterpieces of that age, but between that and the character interactions, it was good, or even great. BG2 was even better.

    And, if saving the world isn't your thing, you can even choose evil and go on a killing spree. Now, you specifically mention the plot pulling you through and bringing your characters together.... I guess I would agree that it doesn't necessarily do that. I always felt that the typical "Save the world plots' found in JRPGs where certain treads of that plot also tie into the characters' backstory ("Luke, I'm your FATHER") were a bit contrived and cliched by that time. BG was a breath of fresh air for me. And, hey, I love myself some JRPG. I'm just saying that the story/characters in BG1 do something different than your typical approach, and they do it well. Give it another chance! (And put the combat on easy settings. Seriously. Lot more fun for most who don't like the combat).
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  • daveyddaveyd Turn-based lifeform PAFull Members
    edited September 2014
    I'm pretty ambivalent about this game. I never played it all the way through and have yet to play Throne of Bhaal. The first time I playing BG2 I think my hard drive died. The next time I played it, I couldn't manage to beat Irenicus (the 2nd battle with him)... Tips I've seen included employing really cheesy tactics like running off screen until his magical buffs run out. On subsequent playthroughs I got bored (certain areas really drag on with all the combat).

    And I really don't like the combat in Baldur's Gate much. Real-time with pause is a poor substitute for tactical turn-based combat. IIRC You can set the game up to make it pseudo turn-based (auto-pause whenever it's your character's time to make an action) but it's still doesn't work as well as turn-based, because as soon as you unpause, everyone is acting at once (and the pathfinding is simply atrocius). And as JCServant mentioned, the D&D rules don't translate as well to real-time because they're made for turn-based. Combat is often very tedious, especially for melee classes who have very few options... And there's a lot of enemies to slice through in some areas.

    Inventory management is a pain, but the enhanced edition does fix that to an extent... I'm not sure how buggy the enhanced edition of BG2 is at this stage but the enhanced edition of the first game works great.

    What I do like about this game is the basic storyline and the characters / party interaction. There are some interesting quests with multiple outcomes and resolutions. Not any huge choice and consequence, but at least there's some opportunities for role-playing different alignments.

    I also like that I can carry over my character from the first Baldur's Gate game (which I have completed a couple of times). It's great feeling to take on your character for this long epic journey, even if the game really drags on in places. For the most part I like creating characters for Baldur's Gate (aside from having to roll for stats). Even though I don't like the D&D 2nd edition rules (2.5?) Baldur's Gate is based on nearly as much as the 3rd edition (3.5?) that Neverwinter Nights and Temple of Elemental Evil are based on, I really like all of the options available and getting to plan out the character build. Unfortunately, a lot of the most interesting abilities are only available at the high levels, which I've yet to get to.

    Some day I'll try to go all the way through. This game often makes best RPGs of all time lists and in some ways I can understand why. It's a pretty huge game, open-ended and with a lot to do... It's challenging and doesn't hold your hand (which I generally consider a positive). And at least the quests are less generic than in games like Skyrim. But I certainly wouldn't argue with anyone who said this game has serious flaws.
    Currently playing (on PC): Hard West, Eisenwald: Blood of November, Dungeon Rats, Wasteland 2, Tahira: Echoes of the Astral Empire

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