This was my first CRPG, so the rose tinted glasses are firmly on.
Baldur's Gate combines an epic storyline and tactical, party-based combat with an explorable open world, in a way few future games have: most have either become more linear in their pursuit of story (future Bioware games) or focus on the open world at the story's expense (Elder Scrolls). Combined with the hand-drawn style world map full of areas that only appear on it when you walk off the edge of a zone in a funny direction, this results in a remarkable feeling of existing in a real world that's bigger than your own tale.
Baldur's Gate (plus its expansion, Tales of the Sword Coast) kept me engrossed for a whole month, playing solidly, and even then I hadn't found or seen everything.
It has its problems of course: being based on the D&D 2E ruleset, it has ridiculous mechanics like resting (which means you don't want to use your best magic, for fear of it being unavailable later), and I wouldn't recommend playing a pure fighter or other non-magical character: all you can do with those characters is point and click during combat, so you'll feel disconnected from your own character as a result of spending most of your time with NPC spellcasters.
Save up your consumables for the end: the final encounter is a large difficulty spike.… Full Review »
This game demands a SERMON from the grot: Reverance for this game is NOT nostalgia. Aside from the fact that the graphics settings do not scale properly with modern monitors, this game still earns a healthy 9/10 in 2012 on the basis of brilliant design. This game has great writing, great art, great style, great writing, and FANTASTIC character development. How many modern gamers have even played dice and pencil D&D with a good Dungeon Master? Baldur's Gate brought the core experience into the digital age. It will soon be released again, in open sale competition with Diabolo 3 and Guild Wars 2. Enough said. Newer games do it different, but very few have done it better. The real mystery is how after 14 years no team has had the ability to better this game. Maybe someone will finally realise that it is a whole lot of fun to have a class system that allows about 30 completely different builds. Maybe they will also note that when each characters can be built in 30 ways and you have 6-8 characters in a party, that the possible combinations, will naturally be LIMITLESS. Those who would fly need an open sky. Designers all, heed this profound observation and learn from it. Diversity eliminates the possibility of boredom. Simplifiying games cannot make them better, because the human mind is a bright and curious thing, that demands higher challenges. It's not perfect. It's not the best D&D based computer game. Low level D&D is not always fun. So it scores 9?10 not 10. Despite that this game holds many secrets as to how much better games could be made if designers studied here. If they learned the secrets Of Baldur's Gate and improved on them. So we pray! So may it be!… Full Review »
10'Legendary' is a term much bandied about these days but this game is one than genuinely deserves the adjective. Many people consider this game to have single handily have saved the single-player RPG genre on the PC just when it looked dead. It represents a definite turning point in the history of gaming. This can be hard to appreciate today because even I'll concede that the graphics are dated. But the truth of the matter is that RPGs have never been about graphics anyway. What made Balder's Gate innovative it was the first RPG to actually use NPCs to advance the story in a mission critical way. It put their stories, their personalities, their goals on a footing that was equal to your own. What made it show-stopping was the nature of those personalities. They were all different, all unique, and they all didn't necessarily care about you. You had to not just manage combat but manage people if your little band was going to finish the game.
Yes, the combat can be unbalanced at times. There are a few bugs. But if you cannot laugh when Minsc shouts, "Go for the eyes, Boo" there is something wrong not with the game but with your life. If you want, you can break this game down and find all it's flaws; they exist. But if you don't cheer sitting in your chair when Minsc shouts, "Butt kicking for Goodness!" you have no heart. This isn't just so much a game as it is an experience. That, it seems to me, is what an RPG is all about. It's about creating experiences; it's about making memories. It's playing your role to the hilt and loving it. Baldur's Gate might not have been the best, some people argue the sequel is better, but it was the first to offer that immersion in a way no other game had up until that point in time. If you haven't played this game you should. Because this is where it all began.… Full Review »