You are a child of Bhaal, the God of Murder! The essence of hatred, tyranny and death shall follow you, wherever you go!!!
Oh, Oh, spaghettios!!!
Long ago, a friend gave me a copy of Baldur’s Gate 2. I never got far into it, and I was left thinking that cRPGs just are not me. However a lot of time passed, and my tastes became more refined, and I was reminded of the game at the start of March of this year. I decided to give it another shot, and on April 21st, I’ve beaten the game, so now, I’m writing a review!
Baldur’s Gate 2 is a sequel, but thankfully not having played the first game doesn’t make things too confusing. Quickly you’re told that you’re the child of the God of Murder, and you had some previous adventures at Baldur’s Gate. The game doesn’t bombard you with events or terms from the old game, so that’s not a problem.
The game starts with you being trapped by a wizard called Jon Irenicus, who wishes to experiment on you, due to your heritage. Some of your old friends help you escape, but then a group of cowled wizards appears, whom are known as THE COWLED WIZARDS! They arrest Irenicus and one of your team members for using magic, which is forbidden in this city. So now it is up to you to rescue your friend from these wizards, and get revenge on Irenicus (if there’s time left).
The story isn’t ridiculously complex, and I do appreciate that. I felt like it was a decent story, but considering how this is a pretty „open-world-game” I’d best focus on the gameplay if I’m to pass judgement.
In this game you’re able to create your own protagonist. Gender, race, class, weapons proficiencies. It’s all up to you. So obviously I was a green-skinned, spear-wielding half-elf druid, with an avatar drawn by my friend. And if you think that’s stupid, many years ago, I chose to play as sorceress Edea and Shiva from Final Fantasy VIII…
The character is of course mute, but in dialogs, you get to pick the answers that he/she says. Naturally your team will consist of recruitable characters that you pick along the way. You can ( like me) stick to the friends that helped you out of Irenicus’es dungeon, or you can pick out a whole new bunch.
You mostly travel the world, do quests all the time, because they usually give you a lot of experience points and money… unless you’re in the middle of a story mission, those are quite important, so you can’t venture onto the world map and do other things. One example in the middle of the game has you stuck like this for more than 10 hours! Ouch!!!
I must say that the game expects you to know it really REALLY well, because if I knew what was coming, I’d be playing it much differently. For example, I wouldn’t have 2 mages on my team, I would not think that 2 druids can substitute a priest, and then there’s the decisions you make in the story… I confess, there’s actual things that I read spoilers on, and I feel no regrets over, since they saved me a lot of headache!
While not being familiar with the first game is no problem in regards to the story… it is an issue when it comes to fighting. Your characters start at level 8. At that point, they have a bundle of abilities, mages and priests especially. So … how do you know what all the spells do? Eh, you could try them all out, but that would take forever, so I myself just looked up a FAQ giving the spells ratings, and based on that, I knew which were the most useful. I’m grateful the game at least had a tutorial to guide me through the basics. Speaking of that, the tutorial also featured a character called Xan
He’s like the coolest stick-in-the-mud ever! He’s always a pessimistic whiner, but the performance of Jeff Bennett makes him sound hilarious! Sadly, he wasn’t recruitable, so I downloaded mods for the game, because… those exist!
Actually, with a little tinkering, you can unlock a console prompt to manipulate the game, which is sadly needed, because the game could get a bit glitchy at times.
For example, talking to one NPC should trigger a fight, but that didn’t work, or there’s an event featuring a monster ambush, where the monster can’t be killed, until it talks to you, which just doesn’t happen.
Or how about romance? Yes… you can have romances with characters in the game, and I tried to form a relationship with Jaheira, which was so glitchy, that cheating was my only way out!
Ehh, I should wrap this review up quickly, my head hurts… Playing the game was frustrating, because:
-I had to keep switching to proper weapons for fighting undead
-I had to switch to special +3 weapons for fighting some big strong bosses
-I had to make sure I had the right weapons for fighting golems
-I had to have fire or acid magic for fighting trolls
-I didn’t entirely get what weapons were the best to have
-I probably could have formed a better party
-I didn’t like the inventory system
Blah blah blah, basically the game got irritating to me at one point, and I didn’t even beat all the quests that I started, because I was getting bored.
But if that’s so, then why did I play it to the end? Just to show that I can? Well… no. It’s because I thought the story was engaging, and the characters were interesting. Jaheira, Minsc, Keldorn, Imoen, and Xan. We went through Hell, and lived to tell the tale!
I can tell that these sort of games are not for me, but I’m not blind to the great qualities that they have. After many years, this game is done, completed, finished, and I won’t need to ever wonder anymore about how it ends. That is certainly a good feeling! Baldur’s Gate 2 is worth to recommend….. if you’re the right kind of person.
PS: I am aware of the „Throne of Baal” expansion, and that characters can be exported and used in „Neverwinter Nights”, but I don’t care. I beat the game, I’m done!