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Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition Pack

Posted by GG Goblin On October - 28 - 2019

The good, the bad and the getting on a bit.

 
Baldur’s Gate is an incredibly well known game. Anyone who was playing PC games before the Y2K bug got quashed will have at least heard of this game, as would anyone who is a fan of role-play games, or any player of pen and paper Advanced Dungeons & Dragons. And anyone who has played Baldur’s Gate, or the sequel Baldur’s Gate II, will have stories about the game. My own story involves a shopkeeper I knew that would sit and play Baldur’s Gate on a PC behind the counter of his shop. Baldur’s Gate was, and still is, an iconic game that inspired so much of what RPG fans take for granted today. Modern console gamers can now make their own stories and discover the iconic tales of BioWare’s classic with Beamdog’s Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition Pack, bringing hundreds of hours of content to PS4, Xbox One and Switch. This bundle includes Both Baldur’s Gate and Baldur’s Gate II, along with The Siege of Dragonspear, which links the two games together, and additional DLC in the form of Throne of Bhaal and the two Black Pits additions.

 


 
While this all sounds great on paper, a massive, sprawling RPG adventure that could potentially keep on running for months, the fact that these are enhanced versions of the game does not necessarily mean that they will be suitable for modern gamers, but more on that in a while. For now, know that those who are willing to put in the time and learn the archaic systems will be treated to a tale that will stay with them forever, and put them in good stead for Larian Studios’ Baldur’s Gate III when it is finally released.

 
Baldur’s Gate is set in the well know Forgotten Realms Dungeons & Dragons setting and will involve the player creating a character and then setting off on an adventure that will start with a simple objective before growing into something potentially world changing, as is often the case in fantasy tales. This isometric RPG has a remarkable freedom in how the player explores the world and interacts with its inhabitants. Many future systems were born in this game, and players will wander off the beaten path to find new side quests, or potentially find a new companion to join their party, with each new companion bringing with them skills and abilities that allow further options to become available to the player. The player’s character will build relationships with each of these companions, both for good and bad as acting in a way that offends a companion could lead to them eventually leaving the group, which could be devastating.

 
Baldur’s Gate II jumps forward a bit narratively, a gap that can be filled by the Dragonspear expansion, but allows the player to carry their character from the previous game forward. Again offering a mass of content that will run for hours and hours, this adventure feels a little less open in some ways, but more advanced in others. Either way, the player will still be picking up side quests, finding new companions and getting into all manner of combat situations.

 


 
The combat is very highly dependant on dice rolling as the game is proud to follow the pen and paper Dungeons & Dragons rule set as closely as possible. This level of randomness is perhaps one the most frustrating systems to be found in this enhanced version of the game, in that combat encounters will often drag on far longer than they need, and often result in failure, as a result of bad dice rolls. It is both hilarious and mind blowing to continually see combatants manage to completely miss each other in close combat, but this is the way the game was made, and it does become much easier as the player improves both in their understanding of the rules, and as a character in the game.

 
The strongest aspect of these two games, and their DLCs, is the story. The writing in both of the core games is absolutely stellar and will appeal to any fantasy fan, especially those who know of the Forgotten Realms. Beamdog were aware of this while also being aware I think of the limited appeal of this old-school isometric RPG, and so have come up with a solution. Playing the game as it was originally intended can be a frustrating, uphill battle. It is recommended to save as often as possible, as random deaths can happen at any time, not just in combat, and having a recent save game to fall back on will be essential. However, for players who want to enjoy the marvellously detailed fantasy world and the brilliantly crafted tales without any risk, Beamdog have included a Story mode difficulty, which removes the threat of dying.

 
Beamdog have done a great job of improving aspects of the game as part of the enhancement process, including making a keyboard and mouse game work very well on consoles. However, Baldur’s Gate I & II are still very dated visually. The highly detailed environments that once looked great on a 14″ monitor look a lot muddier and more blurry on the big screen, and it can be difficult to distinguish between NPCs. Add to this massive blocks of text to read through and a UI which is not the most intuitive, and many players will struggle to stick with it and enjoy the epic story.

 


 
Beamdog’s Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition Pack is a massive bundle of content that will keep RPG fans busy for many hours. While the older systems and visuals will not appeal to everyone, the games work very well on PS4 and will allow players to enjoy what is a legendary adventure. For RPG fans on PS4 who want to step back in time, Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition Pack will be a memorable experience.

 

 ★★★★★★★★☆☆ 



 

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