Way back in 1998, BioWare blew my mind with Baldur’s Gate.
With its pausable realtime gameplay, brilliant dialogue and an absolutely massive world to explore, it had me hooked. Though despite spending tens of hours with it, I’m not sure if I ever completed it.
Still, that didn’t stop me from jumping into Baldur’s Gate II: Shadows of Amn as soon as it was released two years later. Though again, God knows if I ever completed it.
With Baldur’s Gate 3 on the horizon, perhaps it’s a good time to for me to revisit both Baldur’s Gate and its sequel and refresh my memory of its events. The good news is that it’s easier to do now that the enhanced editions of both games have been bundled together and released on PS4, Xbox One and Switch. In fact, I’ve spent some time with the Xbox One version already.
If you’re thinking of picking up Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition Pack, do so knowing that Baldur’s Gate looks pretty terrible these days, and Baldur’s Gate II is only marginally better. While menus have been given a spruce and are very presentable, the in-game graphics are pixely and just, well… old. Also, with movement mapped to the left analogue stick, you can now walk into people which makes them awkwardly move around the screen.
Once you get past the initial horror of how dated these games now look, however, you find that they’re just as engrossing as ever. Good writing never gets old, and neither does a story, and so Baldur’s Gate and its sequel still impress. Characters have personality and motivations that you really have to consider. You’ll grow to love some of your fellow travellers, while others you’ll take along with you with gritted teeth just because they’re useful. Though they’re free to not particularly like you, either, and could leave your party at the drop of a hat.
The combat is still pretty fun, too. Being able to pause the action to issue commands was amazing back in 1998, and it’s still great now. You can really play to your strengths, commanding the characters best equipped to deal with certain foes on their way without being quickly overrun. And with these being the enhanced editions of the games, there are a range of difficulty options so you don’t have to get frustrated if you do find yourself at an impasse.
Difficulty options aren’t the only things added to these enhanced editions of both Baldur’s Gate and its sequel. The expansions for both games are also included, and there’s a new horde mode for each of them too. Throw in the aforementioned improved menus and a smattering of other extras that enrich the experiences they provide without changing them, and you have a package that’s a must for any CRPG fan. But it’s not cheap.
Available now for £39.99/$49.99, Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition Pack is perhaps a tad pricey compared to its PC counterparts. But is does boast a hell of a lot of content, and even multiplayer. If, like me, you fondly remember the series and wish to get back up to speed before Baldur’s Gate 3 releases, it’s certainly worth picking up. And if you’ve never played the Baldur’s Gate games before there’s never been a better time as long as you’re prepared for dated visuals.
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