11th November 2006
I recently got the sudden mood for an old D&D style game, and remembered I have a bunch of the Beamdog re-releases on GOG. So I booted up Baldur's Gate and went for a Paladin - because I distinctly recall the game being hard as hell for casters.
I find it rather enjoyable, although it definitely doesn't hold your hand. Writing isn't the greatest either, and the game is obviously full of fetch quests as is to be expected. But the gameplay makes up for it. Well. Some of it.
If you just follow the path the game lays out for you, you'll very quickly find out that you need to save often and in multiple slots, because the world is unforgiving. Some quests you find along the main story feature enemies that are so much more powerful than you that they can quite literally instant gib you if you dare upset them.
This brings me to an interesting question, though - is this good design? Placing characters and quests that you're not meant to do early on, along the path of your initial adventuring route?
And what are some of Baldur's Gate's features that you wish were present in more games?
Last edited by Serio 5 months ago
7th December 2003
I played Baldur's Gate in the distant past when it was released (20 fucking years ago, omg I'm old!), it was an awesome experience back then, but those were different times. Games, including RPGs, have come a very long way and are now much bigger projects (budgets are orders of magnitude higher). I think that these games are still kind of fun to play is a testament to their quality.
When I think back to the RPGs of the 90s Baldur's Gate was a good game, but certinaly not the best. The sequel, Shaodws of Amn, Fallout 2 and especially Planescape Torment were at the top and still are a lot of fun to play today.
Gameplay wise I remember that BG was difficult, mostly because of the annoying respawn-mechanics. If I remember correctly enemies tended to respawn in areas of the map that were out of your line of sight, which could really ruin your day if you didn't have sufficient healing power (e.g. run out of healing spells, rest, rest interrupted by group of enemies...).
As for placement of difficult enemies; not really a big issue for me as this happens a lot in RPGs; it is a gentle "come back later", which forces you to backtrack if you are a completionist and thus saves developers some time making new maps. Also, if you want to make sure players only ever meet enemies at the right difficulty you either have to restrict the world quite a bit or let enemy level scale with yours (which somehow feels gimmicky to me).
Not sure BG had many features that translate well into modern games; it was a combat-heavy RPG and subsequent games have clearly improved and made combat more fun. The party interactions are a good element of BG games, but it probably isn't unqiue (haven't played the last batch of promising isometric RPGs from recent years).
11th November 2006
It's interesting you mention it being combat heavy. That's definitely true. Compared to the later games such as Planescape, or even modern games such as Tyranny, or Pillars of Eternity, the game features far more combat than dialogue. Which is the opposite of what you'd really expect.