BLOG Remembering Baldur’s Gate 2
Yesterday he introduced us to his love of Resident Evil games. Today, blogger Johnny Rose discusses the role-playing joys of Baldur’s Gate 2:
Looking back on Baldur’s Gate 2
Back in issue 182 of SFX there was an article on the best sci-fi and fantasy games ever released, but as I scanned down it I noticed one glaring omission from the list, a game which was, to my mind, one of the greatest games ever released.
And that game was BioWare’s epic (and believe me I don’t use that term lightly) masterpiece Baldur’s Gate 2.
Taking the role of the spawn of the now deceased God of Murder you must guide yourself and a party of up to five NPC’s as you move towards your destiny. Allowing you to choose either to embrace your murderous heritage and slaughter your way through the game, or turn away from the seed of evil present within you and try to fight the good fight.
Good or Evil (or Neutral… If you happen to be born with a heart full of neutrality) the choice is entirely up to you, and whichever path you take does play a large part in dialogue options and mission types, as well as the NPC’s that’ll be happy to be part of your little band. Basically don’t be surprised if you burning down an orphanage results in the paladin in your party attempting to remove your head.
The sheer size and epic scope of the game plays a huge part in making it special, with so many small missions and interactions with the people that inhabit the world, and battles against myriad monsters, from Dragon’s to Orc’s to Goblins, and pretty much everything in between. Certainly you can choose to run through the game with positively indecent haste, but if you take the time to do the myriad side quests, and actively explore the world you’re in you’ll find it to be clever, arch and delightfully immersive.
Something else that helps to separate this game from a lot of the other fantasy RPG’s on the market is the quality and quantity of interactions that you have with the NPC’s in your party, and further than that the interactions that they have with one another and the rest of the world at large. Each of the NPC’s have their own side quests, and unique dialogues at key parts of the game, and it never gets old hearing them pop up with an interjection. Depending on your race and gender choices you’ll also be able to play out a romance with several of the NPC’s (though not at the same time!).
Before we go any further it would be remiss of me not to point out that this game is set in the D&D campaign setting world of Faerun, though with the 4th edition reboot having since come and gone this world and the world of the books have a number of differences. Still the world is, to a large degree at least irrelevant, as it’s the people in that world that really make the difference.
On the off chance that, on reading the word ‘Faerun’ your eyes glazed over with visions of Dark Elven anti-hero’s I implore you to leave these preconceptions at the door and simply view the game as being a remarkable piece of high-fantasy computer RPG work.
One other thing that this game has going for it is an immense game-mod following, there are literally thousands of edits for the scripting, NPC’s, weapons and virtually everything else. From simple bonus merchants, to new areas and missions to new NPC’s that you can take with you on your quest, there’s something for almost everyone out there in the wide world of game mods. What’s most impressive about this following is that it’s still continuing even now, and the game is approaching ten years old.
The cast of characters is huge, literally hundreds of defines enemies and NPC’s, and many more faceless monsters, all entirely determined to ensure that you’ll never get to fulfill your destiny, no matter what that may be.
If you haven’t played this game I urge you to track it down, you should be able to do so easily enough. Look beyond the surface of the near ten year old graphics and see the quality of the scripting and storyline.
Trust me, it’ll be more than worth it.
Find out more about Baldur’s Gate series of games at Wikipedia, or visit the official BioWare site here – these guys are currently making The Old Republic for LucasArts. This blog is a personal article by Johnny Rose, one of our site contributors. Are you a gamer? Share your RPG memories below…