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Planescape: Torment & Icewind Dale Enhanced Edition Pack

Posted by GG Goblin On November - 1 - 2019

Two very different classic RPGs come to modern consoles in one enticing package.

 
The Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition Pack, which recently launched for modern consoles, would be a mighty undertaking, offering hundreds of hours of classic RPG goodness to anyone who could overlook the slightly aged nature of the games. However, Beamdog were not content with simply offering these classic games to console gamers, and also launched the Planescape: Torment & Icewind Dale Enhanced Edition Pack. Fans of these Dungeons & Dragons set RPGs will likely struggle to see the light of day if they also take on these vastly different games alongside Baldur’s Gate. But still, so much nostalgia.

 


 
Unlike the Baldur’s Gate Pack, which could be carried through to one massive adventure, the Planescape: Torment & Icewind Dale Enhanced Edition Pack include two completely separate games that couldn’t be more different. Of course, there are all of the enhancements that Beamdog have made to make the games more accessible to modern gamers on the big screen, and Icewind Dale includes the expansions Heart of Winter and Trials of the Luremaster, ensuring that players are taking on the best possible versions of these 20 year old games.

 
Planescape: Torment is the most unusual of the two games, making a vast departure from Baldur’s Gate’s systems to offer something much more narrative driven. The player takes on the role of The Nameless One, a blank slate of a character that will develop as the player progresses. Blessed with immortality, the player awakens in a morgue before heading off on an adventure to find the source of their immortality and why they forget their previous life every time they die. This adventure will take the player through the D&D Planescape setting, meaning trips to a variety of very different planes of existence.

 
The real difference here is the games focus much more on dialogue and narrative, with combat being a much more secondary consideration. Most encounters can be negotiated and talked through, rather than relying on battle, and decisions carry weight. The players alignment will change according to the decisions and actions they perform, and as such different NPCs will react differently, leading to ample replayability. The game features incredible writing, often with high levels of humour. Much of this comes from the interesting cast of characters, including the floating skull that will accompany the player from the beginning of the game, offering sarcastic comments. Planescape: Torment was a very different game to those that came before, and as such really stood out.

 


 
Icewind Dale, on the other hand, is a much more traditional fantasy RPG. Set in the frozen north, the player takes control from the off of a team of heroes, doing what heroes do. While the setting feels much more normal, the actual gameplay seems to have gone the other way from Planescape: Torment, in that Icewind Dale is much more focussed on the combat, almost funnelling the player from one encounter to the next. In this respect, the game is more akin to a dungeon crawler than a traditional RPG, although many of the same systems are still present. With the inclusion of the two expansions, again there are many, many hours of gameplay to be found here.

 
So, two very different games, but both using the same engine, and as such carrying some familiarity between them, and with the also released Baldur’s Gate Enhanced Editions. Still, they are twenty year old games, and it is the enhancements made by Beamdog that make them playable on modern consoles. The visuals have not been remade, but rather been tweaked to look slightly better on the larger screens. That is to say that, for the most part, they still look really old, especially the cutscenes. Small enhancements have been made that make the characters stand out more, along with interactive objects in the environment, making the game a little easier.

 
The multiple menus in the games have also been cleaned up and mage easy to access and navigate through radial menus assigned to controller keys. There is also the option to move characters, or the entire party, directly with the controller rather than relying on an on-screen cursor. This works very well, although players will likely want to swap between the two control methods as and when they need more precision. Both games include a variety of difficulties, which is probably a godsend as these games are known to be particularly tough. They can be made more difficult for those who really enjoy a challenge, as they can both be made easier. However, it is only Icewind Dale that includes a story mode difficulty which makes the player more powerful and stops them being able to die. Given the tricky nature of the game, this is a welcome addition, but it feels like an oversight that a story mode was not included for Planescape: Torment.

 


 
While shorter overall than the Baldur’s Gate package, there are still many many hours of content to be found in the Planescape: Torment & Icewind Dale Enhanced Edition Pack. The quality of the port over to the modern consoles is not in question, as they run very well and are supremely playable. However, the games have not ages particularly well and many modern gamers will struggle to fully invest. That being said, anyone who fancies finding out why these games have almost legendary status, or those who simply want to engross themselves in deep and detailed fantasy worlds/planes of existence, picking up the Planescape: Torment & Icewind Dale Enhanced Edition Pack would tick those boxes.

 

 ★★★★★★★½☆☆ 



 

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