Review: Baldur's Gate II: Enhanced Edition
Ahhh.. the memories of grand adventures, managing parties and battling baddies! Right? Right?! Well, I am sad to say, I missed the release of this game as I was off doing this thing called "Real Life" and getting married. Wait, I've never played this critical acclaimed series?! How dare you call yourself a gamer?! Relax. My gaming world was reduced next to nothing during the period of 1999-2001 so here I am today. Luckily, good things come to those who wait. Baldur's Gate II: Enhanced Edition is upon us thanks to the good peeps at Overhaul Games and boy was it worth the wait. As a newcomer, mayhaps I can shed a different opinion on a game who others know all too well. First off, I was completely lost at the beginning of the game. Honestly, I wondered what the devil was going on. No tutorial? No help. Yes! This game harkens back to a much cooler time in PC gaming where you actually to FIGURE STUFF OUT ON YOUR OWN. You can die quickly in this game. You can die often. Your choices matter. It's the ultimate sandbox before sandbox games even existing. After getting used to all the icons, spells, etc, I was hooked. And you will be too, if you enjoy anything even remotely RPGish. The gameplay is solid, polished and there are a ton of options to choose from in this huge adventure. Newcomers, veterans of the series and anyone reading this article, BUY THIS GAME. It's just that simple. The characters are deep and interesting, the combat is tough but rewarding and the world is vast and alive with details. They don't make 'em like they used to..
Graphics and Sound
So how do you score or analyze a game from the year 2000 in the year 2013? Well, I can say this, between the windowed, the full screen and all the scaling options, there is a plenty of ways to enjoy BGII: Enhanced. Honestly, these graphics aren't going to blow anyone away but I guarantee you will be impressed by the blood, sweat and tears put into the detail of this huge world. There are some pretty cool effects too, even by today's standard. I played both full screen at 2650x1440 and windowed at 1024x768. I must say that the windowed effect worked better for me, and also added to that old school flavor of the game. The nice thing too, you can even stretch that ol' winder and make it whatever size your want. Overall, this is a beautiful game in a nostalgic and detailed sort of way. Props to Overhaul for so many wonderful UI and graphical options!
The audio portion of the game holds up extremely well. The music is stunning even by today's standard in a soundtrack by Michael Hoenig of the Tangerine Dream fame. I had never heard the music before and oh how my ears loved it! The voiceovers are also stunning as each personality in the game delivers solid performances that really add to the world. Sound effects pop, sizzle and burn there way into your heart and mind. Sound dramatic? Well, it's just that good. Now I am definitely beginning to see why this game garnered to many awards and fans all these years later.
All this is fine and dandy but is the game any fun? Well duh, of course it is! This isn't for the Call of Duty crowd that wants quick, mindless action. As I mentioned, this is a game of patience, organization and exploration. It reminds me of a heavy RPG version of Dark Souls where you can die easily but it's oh so rewarding when you defeat a baddy or find new loot. This isn't an easy or small game, it's immense and the learning curve can be as well. That being said, I always was entertained, always anxious to see what lie beyond the next door, town or encounter with danger. In a world full of cookie cutter, yearly releases, this game stands out and also stands the test of time. You can pick it up the game up today on Beamdog or Steam. Go get 'em Tiger!
Whether a hardcore fan or a series newcomer like myself, Baldur's Gate II: Enhanced Edition is a glorious game for anyone who like quality. With new graphical features, options, content and more, this is a great deal for those looking to jump into adventure on modern PCs. While I wish there could be done more to the actual graphics of the game, this is as good as it gets for a 10+ year old title. Quit your job, order some pizza and get that toilet attached to your office chair; Baldur's Gate awaits..
4/5 Stars -- Digital Hippos Recommended