REVIEW: Baldur’s Gate II Enhanced Edition

Wednesday, January 29th, 2014

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Baldur's Gate II Enhanced Edition | oprainfall
Title Baldur’s Gate II Enhanced Edition
Developer Overhaul Games
Publisher Atari
Release Date November 15, 2013
Genre Western RPG
Platform PC, iOS
Age Rating T
Official Website

Baldur’s Gate II Enhanced Edition is a HD remake of one of those seminal Bioware classics that I’ve just never gotten around to playing until now. There are a few reasons for that: 1) I haven’t finished Baldur’s Gate yet because, 2) both Baldur’s Gate games are rather obtuse, especially starting out, partially because 3) I’m largely unfamiliar with the Dungeons & Dragons rule set. Aside from a rather substantial amount of time I spent in Planescape: Torment, the closest I came to anything related to Dungeons & Dragons was the original Dragonlance trilogy of novels. It’s hard to know going in what you’re going to want to be, and, since you must create your character before learning what challenges lay before you, it’s easy to create a character you aren’t actually going to like (a perennial problem of the Western RPG). Though, thanks to my time with Planescape: Torment, I did find out what type of character I would most like to play as, so I decided to give it a shot.

Baldur's Gate II Enhanced Edition | Amnesia Option

Note Option 2

Fair warning: If you haven’t played Baldur’s Gate yet and want to, you’ll want to pass on Baldur’s Gate II for now. The events take place shortly after the ending of Baldur’s Gate, and make a lot of references to that game’s plot. A good number of characters return from the original Baldur’s Gate, so they may reference events you don’t know about, but there’s usually an amnesia option in the dialogue trees for those who haven’t played the original Baldur’s Gate. For this reason, though I don’t feel that the story is impossible to grasp, I feel like there’s a lot I’m missing out on and many of the major plot twists have now been spoiled for me. If you have the means, play Baldur’s Gate first. Actually, the main twist is tied to the central theme of the game, so, to talk about it, I’ll need to put up a spoiler, so fair warning. SPOILERS: The player protagonist is a demigod, the offspring of Bhaal, the god of murder. A mad sorcerer, Jon Irenicus, knows of this, and is attempting to force the child of Bhaal to assume the powers that his lineage gives. END SPOILERS In addition to the main story, there are side quests dedicated to telling the stories of each of the characters. There are many playable characters, with four new ones in this release (they continue stories from Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition, so, again, fair warning).

Baldur's Gate II Enhanced Edition | Zoomed

So, what makes this version worth paying $25 for, when the original is $10 on sites like Well, it is designed to take advantage of modern screen resolutions (so no letterboxing or stretched sprites), and the text and user interface are designed to take advantage of this new real estate. But PC nuts will mention that there is a mod to set the game to run at a higher resolution (not as elegantly). Though, a newcomer trying out this mod will find the text in the game too small to see easily (though there’s a mod to fix that, as well). I’m still going to give the new version the point, because it adds one thing: zooming. You can zoom in and out at anytime using the mouse wheel. You no longer have to strain your eyes to see the action and text that was meant for 640 x 480 resolution. I’m really not sure that it makes the Enhanced version worth that much more than the original (after all, I picked all the original version Infinity Engine games, both Neverwinter Nights games, and Temple of Elemental Evil for $17.99 on sale). If you’re really, really, really into Baldur’s Gate, maybe, but otherwise, I’d wait for a sale. 
Baldur's Gate II Enhanced Edition | You Must Gather Your Party

The graphics have aged fairly well, I think, though there are a lot of reused character models. But you won’t see pixelization unless you zoom in all the way. The music is generic medieval fantasy. There’s no problem with it – it’s just okay. Overall, I’d say the presentation is acceptable. It’s inoffensive, and conveys the necessary information. Though “You Must Gather Your Party Before Venturing Forth” will get old really fast.

More Adventure Awaits on Page 2 ->

About Guy Rainey

I’m Guy Rainey. I’m a hardcore Nintendo fan, a PC enthusiast, and a Sony sympathizer. Also an amateur/aspiring game creator. I love any game that puts story as the main focus of the game, so that means JRPGs are my favorite genre almost by default.

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  • Mechanical Rhythm

    This seems much less of a review and more of the reviewers opinion on what RPGs should look like. Some of the criticisms are legitimate, such as the dodgy pathfinding and reliance on playing the previous title (pausing and autopausing in combat is not a problem, its a simple matter of pressing space), but the spells per day system isn’t a negative aspect at all- it forces you to use your noggin with spell memorisation and usage instead of just spamming lightning bolts when it suits you. It also confuses me as to why grinding your way to victory is considered superior to working out how to achieve tactical success. I was under the impression that most games are a lot better when they legitimately challenge you instead of processing you to a point where losing is not a threat.

    In essence, I feel this review is clouded by the reviewers bias towards his perceptions of what RPGs should do. While Baldurs Gate is certainly not my favourite RPG (or even my favourite D&D game), the game needs respect for what it is. It’s a D&D game, its GOING to do things differently from practically every other RPG out there, even WRPGs, and that’s not actually a bad thing. Back in its day Baldurs Gate 2 was (and still is) considered one of the best RPGs of all time. It’s just not a JRPG. While the Enhanced Edition may not add an awful lot to the original (not fixing the pathfinding is pretty lame), its still a classic that deserves a significant amount more affection than what this review gave.

  • Guest

    I have to admit, I’m a little confused that we’re complaining about a D&D game having D&D mechanics. Yes, it’s very different from a JRPG, it’s virtually a different genre. If you go into an old Western RPG, especially one based on the D&D system, and expect a JRPG, you’re going to be heavily disappointed. Please review the game by itself, without bringing in your personal bias towards JRPGs.

  • Iyamtebist

    Okay I have to ask. Why does this review exist? You made it clear that you have a Japanese bias when it comes to RPGs, so why are you reviewing a game that is supposedly one of the best WRPGs of all time just to say that you do like it due to your bias when the publisher provided you with a copy for the purpose of a fair review. This is no better than what other mainstream sites do with niche games whenever they ignore them simply for being niche due to their own obvious western bias. I find it hard to believe that there was not someone else working for this site that was more qualified to write this review.

    Now the reason I am disappointed with this is not because I am unhappy that this game received a low score, in fact I am not even a fan of WRPGs myself. The reason why is because this is one of the few sites that actually gives niche Japanese games a chance as much as popular Western ones, but to brush off Western games the same way that several mainstream critics have done with niche games would just be downright hypocritical. I may not like something like Call of Duty, but I do not want to see reviews that bash them for being FPS games.

    Again, I mean nothing against you personally, it is just that I do not want to see one of the few reputable gaming journalism sites end up going in this type of direction and I figured I would express my concern as early as possible because I really do not want to see these kind of things become commonplace.