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Head 2 Head Review: Baldur's Gate 2

The Match-Up:
Name: Michelle M. (a.k.a. Mish) e-mail me

Favorite Genres: RTS, RPG, Adventure, Action/FPS, Sims

Favorite Games: TA: Kingdoms, Baldur's Gate, The Sims



Name: Tristinian (a.k.a. Commodus) e-mail me

Favorite Genres: RTS, RPG, Adventure, Action/FPS, Sims

Favorite Games: Baldur's Gate, Half-Life, Unreal Tournament, Red Alert, Jedi Knight

Mish: I have something to confess to everyone. I love RPGs. and when the little birdie at my window informs me of a new RPG, my heart flutters with excitement. So after a few RPGs that came out that were more hack and slash oriented than i would have liked, i heard that Baldur's Gate 2: Shadows of Amn was coming out. And yet i was hesitant in my joyful expectation...afraid that i would be disappointed. yes, i doubted.

Tristinian: Well, let's be honest. You assigned Icewind Dale a decent mark in your review, but it wasn't a wonderfully high one for the very reason that you did expect something more like Baldur's Gate...something that had more substance. And i for one can agree. I thought Icewind Dale was a little empty on the adventure side and that if you really wanted hack and slash, Diablo 2 was your game. But BG2 is here and let us praise Helm...

Mish: hahaha...very clever. As with the original, i find that I cannot say enough wonderful things about this game. It is an ass-kicker of a game and a great sequel to a great classic RPG. I cannot think of one thing that i would change about BG2...the scenery is great...the new characters are in depth...but let me stop gushing-we've got work to do here!

"The formula that made BG1 a hit has been tinkered with here to max out what this engine and RPG format can offer..."

Tristinian: Let's take a look at BG2 in a structured way , because i don't want people to think that BG2 is a perfect clone. Everything has indeed improved...the formula that made BG1 a hit has been tinkered with here to max out what this engine and RPG format can offer. The graphics are still a wonder to behold on many occasions with the texturing being as sweet as ever and resolutions of insane proportions are now possibilities...

Mish: Oh i totally agree with you...it is not a clone. Yes the graphics are better and as for resolution, you are now able to play the game in a supported 800x600 (unsupported 1024 and higher) instead of the usual 640x480. This opens the game up graphically to users with kick-ass computers as well as pleases the gamer with a computer like mine that needs a tune-up or two. But in general the config. options are DETAILED. Impressive. Anything from hotkey settings to eliminating the foot-step sounds from the game. The cool thing is the storyline...

Tristinian: Oh yes, the storyline doesn't exactly start off as you would expect as your main character begins the game trapped in the dungeons of a mysterious captor. But the storyline makes you think about what lies ahead at all points in the story-something Torment did exceptionally well. Baldur's Gate 2 simple takes Baldur's Gate 1 and shines it off for all to see-the soundtrack is still delicious to the ear and magic has been improved as well in terms of effects and visuals.

Mish: Like a quality game product, BG2 had parts in the game that had me on the edge of my seat, heart pumping, afraid to die. I have not felt fear akin to that since Nocturne. Throughout the game i kept trying to solve the plot-hell-i must have had at least 10 theories in regards to the plotline. A lot of seasoned AD&D players will notice that some spells are familiar and some are not so familiar.

"BG2 had parts in the game that had me on the edge of my seat, heart pumping, afraid to die"

Tristinian: More spells-more everything! Fact is, Baldur's Gate 2 is one of the largest RPGs i've ever seen and i'd say it'll take you quite a while to finish it should you choose to be all 'heroic-like'. But, like a good RPG, if you are a plot freak you can skip a lot of the little side-quests (AND THERE ARE TONS OF THEM) and zoom ahead faster. Still a massive game though-about as massive as the game manual that comes with it! It's huge...trust us.

Mish: I am a side plot person...i will look through every door...twice. I will do almost every side plot, too. Of course the best part of every RPG is creating your character...yes i spent almost 20 mins creating the perfect character...a goddess of the 'rhelm'. And not to mention, I was really impressed with the little hints that were given at certain points of the game such as during loading and saving sequences. The hints really helped alot-especially for someone like me who jumps into the game and reads the manual afterwards. I believe in consequence-based learning. But, but, what many were probably waiting for were the classes. Some new ones add some spice to BG2.

Tristinian: The Monk class and others have been added to BG2 which is yet another way Bioware has expanded upon the original. And this I think sums up the game. Bioware has brought so much to this latest version of BG that it is hard to think that anymore could be added. They have loaded this game from top to bottom. Wonderfully at that. But, this is where i begin my negatives...(gasp)

Mish: Before you get into the negatives, let me say a few more words of praise. If you are a BG fan from the first game, you will love this. If you are new to the BG family, you will love this. The pulsating energy, the power that just flows out of this game is gripping. it reaches out, grabs you by the throat and just shakes every bit of courage out of you. You will be a weeping mess of apologies if you pick up any other game before this one.

"BG is as great as they come, but it's time to move on..."

Tristinian: Damn you love the drama...geez...lay it on why don't ya? Let me be frank here. If you are new to RPGs you have no choice but to get this game, the original BG and Planescape: Torment for that matter. If you-like myself-have lived through the 4 classic Infinity Engine games from Bioware (BG1, Torment, Icewind Dale and now BG2) you might be thinking what i am thinking. Which is, i feel as if i have been sitting at a table of edible delights and i am now comfortably full. Each treat i have eaten has been delicious and almost every piece of yummy goodness that I've stuffed in my gaping maw has outdone the last in terms of quality(almost-read above on ID). But, if i am to eat ONE more piece of the same type of delight...i'm not only going to get a little ill, but i am not going to want to eat much more of it the next time. Want it simply? BG2 is great-as great as they come-but it's time to move on...

Mish: I understand what you are saying and i agree somewhat. i would love to throw in a 'but' somewhere but unfortunately i cannot. Yes, we have seen alot from Bioware and to you guys and girls at Bioware, you have made one happy woman here. I do think that it is tine to send a few more people to the think tank to drudge out something different. Do not change the chemistry nor the profound originality that has made BG an object of worship...i say, bring on new ideas, bring on new legends, bring on new frontiers. i bestow a mark of 98%. long live baldur's gate!!!

Tristinian: Well, i give it an 89% myself-it's so solid it's scary. I really appreciate the game a lot, but generally, Neverwinter Nights should be the next natural step in the evolution of Bioware's RPG chain...let us move on-this is what i say. And as long as this is done, i can't help from saying that this has been the best engine-based series ever or even the best RPG series for that matter. BG2 is the perfect ending to a perfect beginning.


Mish's Mark
Mish's Final Words
Tristinian's Final Words
Tristinian's Mark
vive le Baldur's Gate!!!
Wonderful, really. But as much as i like it-let's move on to new things.

First out of the 'gate'...:

Speaking of Baldur's GATE you might wanna get used to these gates-you're going to see them a lot in this game if you like shopping at the Adventurer's Mart.


Looks like the Shadow Thieves have taken a few cues from 'The Sims' judging by the way THIS bedroom set-up looks.


You probably saw the screenshots of this temple before the game came out, but when we got here, we wanted to take a screenshot of it again, just to show you how nice it looks.