I often heard people saying this game lacked depth. For me it didn't. It is a very subtle game where you have no clue what is happening story wise until close to the end. But when you find out what was going on all the time, all the pieces and hints you came along during the game add up to a big picture. Despite the main story there are countless side stories going on, that really **** you into the game. It is an absolute linear game! No doubt about that. But for me it always was far from boring. In this game it is the uncertainty of what is actually going on that makes up for the lack of side questing. You don't need side quets here. The main quest is what is all about. I always had an urge to find out what the solution to all the strange events actually is. I just can't see how it is lacking depth. Sure, your party is not really involved in the story other than finding out what is going on. That again makes it so interesting. Your party is just as uninvolved as you yourself are sitting in front of your PC. That again let's you be so unbelievable involved. It actually could be you exploring this cold and inhospitable land of ice. The game play is top notch by the way. Spell casting and the round based fighting system are great. Everything is spot on. And what makes this game great even after 17 years, is the environment. The images are beyond beautiful. Sure it is an old game with ancient graphics. But that doesn't impair the perception of this strange, magical and beautiful land, that you can enjoy every second of playing. It is diversified and every area you travel to has a distinct look to it. But all of what I described so far wouldn't be as great as it is without the phenomenal soundtrack. Right after you step out from the cozy tavern into the freezing heart of the Icewind Dale for the first time an overdose of ambiance surrounds you. I've played my fare share of video games over the years. Never did I feel the same.
I don't want to compare this game to BGII. BGII is a masterpiece in it's own dimension. But for me personally so is Icewind Dale.
I'm reviewing here Icewind Dale (IWD), it's expansion Heart of Winter (HoW), and the expansion of the expansion, Trials of Luremaster (ToLM) in one blow. The original one, not Beamdog's Enhanced Edition.
Icewind Dale shares the same Black Isle's Infinity Engine that powers other great DnD RPGs such as Planescape Torment (PST) or Baldur's Gate (BG) saga. The combat system is just like Baldur's Gate. It involves six-second rounds concealed behind an appearance of real time combat with the option to pause combat whenever you need (and you'll need it) and jargon terms like THACO, AC, save roll and so on.
Sadly, the game in lacks where it counts. In spite of visual and combat similarities, this beast is much different to BG than I first thought. Gone are the interesting companions with backstories and desires that join your party along the way. Here you start your adventure with six silent and functional playable characters that answer swiftly to your clicks and whose attributes and skills you can customize from the ground up. The story is relatively simple and not told in an interesting way. NPCs are mostly the classic saint-or-evil stereotypes you find on hundred of video games. The first two big dungeons do a disservice to the game, they are 100% barren and essentially act as padding between you and the corresponding boss. Fortunately, after that you start to find some engaging locations, NPCs and quests. The game gets a bit of traction and you finally start to care about this universe and the people that live in it.
Whereas BG was a semi-open world game where you could explore and discover its different areas in any order (with the usual story related restrictions), Icewind Dale takes a totally linear approach. You can't travel to a location if it isn't on your map, and it won't be on your map until you are assigned the primary quest that takes place there, which won't happen until you solve the primary quest you are currently involved in. You'll find and solve all the side quests as you follow this straight line that is IWD, though there are a couple whose resolution require some on purpose backtracking.
Icewind Dale focuses on dungeon crawling and combat but it does not excel in it. For example, on the first floor of certain dungeon you'll be fighting reptile people, on the next one trolls, once you go downstairs again, undead. I would probably equally complain if enemies were always of the same type, but that's because the key here is that certain dungeons are just too long for the sake of it. Nothing really interesting happens as you descend from one floor to the next, just a succession of forgettable mob slaughters until you reach the final boss which offers some decent opposition, whereas I still recall lots of memorable encounters from BG Saga.
On the other hand the expansions are brief but better focused. The backstories and NPCs you find there are engaging and the raw dungeon crawling is less jarring. Unfortunately Heart of Winter has one of the most underwhelming final bosses I have ever met in a video game, rivalling with the last one you fight in Blade: Edge of Darkness. Trials of Luremaster, accessible from the first area of Heart of Winter, consists of a dungeon were you have to kill monsters and solve some riddles à la BG1's Durlag's Tower. Not bad at all, and it has some captivating lore to reveal reading tomes, scrolls and having conversations with NPCs.
I now realise I have mentioned "Baldur's Gate" in six of the seven paragraphs that make this review up. There is no better indicator to what I would rather have been doing while playing this game.
One of the weakest IE games. Very light on story while heavy on combat. Story is rather generic. Lacks the large world of the BG games opting instead for smaller areas with multiple levels (ie Towers, Dungeons). The story in the Heart of Winter expansion is much much better though.
This game is basically a poor version of Baldur's Gate (uses the same engine). This game lacks the open world and is much more on rails. The story is linear and feels uninspired and the environments don't really feel alive either.
Its pretty good game actually look better from Baldurs Gate but my problem is with some nasty bugs in this game and i don't even remember if i install patch or not. LOL This is crazy that you buy game and must check twice to be sure that it is not broken version, and do efforts to fix it before **** actually found bugs in both ID1 and ID2 where Baldurs Gate 1 was fine am completed it without problems and in BG2 am also dont see any problems. So am guess that entire ID series must probably have some lack of quality.
SummaryA completely new Advanced Dungeons & Dragons adventure with an epic storyline in the tradition of "Baldur's Gate." Includes 3-D technology developed for "Baldur's Gate II" that allows for incredible spell and environment effects. New spells, equipment, and abilities provide a higher level of gameplay. [Interplay]