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Recounting Bioware's Baldur's Gate II 90

radicalskeptic writes "In the latest installment of Gamespot's series modestly titled 'The Greatest Games of All Time', the editors review Bioware's RPG classic from 2000: Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn. The article is a broad overview of the game and touches on the game's innovations, comments on its historical significance, and includes a section devoted to BGII's romantic subplot. Gamespot concludes that 'all in all, Baldur's Gate II is a towering achievement in the history of role-playing games, giving you a huge world to explore, plenty of well-drawn NPCs to argue with or get romantic with, and an engaging story that's simultaneously epic and personal.'"
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Recounting Bioware's Baldur's Gate II

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  • Baldur's Gate II [gives] you a huge world to explore, plenty of well-drawn NPCs to argue with or get romantic with...


  • Revisit? I am playing it for the first time right now!! It is, however, a very good game. Got to love Minc and his critter.

    • The char's name is "Minsc", not "Minc". Always remember that. That, and to...
      "Go for the eyes, Boo! Go for the eyes!! AAAAARGH!!!"
    • Minsc is no Jan Jansen.
    • Well, it's definately not the first time, I've had it and the expansion since they came out. But I love the game so much that when I recently cracked the play disc, the first thing I did was track down another one and buy it. I've beaten that game so many times, it never gets old.
    • I think I've only played through the starter dungeon up until you end up in Baldur's Gate. :( I never even finished the first Baldur's Gate, but I got through to about chapter 5. Somehow the first seems a bit dated now with the low resolution and inability to hide the UI elements, but I'm afraid that I'm missing out if I just head to BG2 again, skipping the rest of BG1. What'd ya think?
      • Well, you dont need to have played BG1 to play BG2. Although, some of the character references and some allusions to previous adventures might come up during the plot, as well as explaining who exactly your character is. So while playing BG1 will make it easier to understand the plot, its not required playing.
        • Yeah, but you see... it just seems like such a waste of a good story. I wanted to finish BG1, but for some reason I burnt out I guess. And seeing as how BG2 starts where BG1 finishes (if I recall), it seems like a big spoiler and BG2 seems much more fun if you've finished BG1 (and you could import your chars if I remember right!).
      • I'm in the same boat. I played it all the way up to Chapter 5. I had just flooded the mines and was heading to Baldur's Gate. Unfortunately, I now own a 1.67 GHz Powerbook, and when I try to play it, everything is so stretched that it looks awful, and the game plays at a million frames per second. My other option is to play it in a window, but that just seems wrong.
    • His critter?!?! Never underestimate the power of the miniature giant space hamster! Boo has a name, curse you, a name!! (And it's Minsc, too *shakes head*)
  • Hands-down the best RPG and RPG series ever created.
    • I wish I had mod points for you. Its the only CRPG that I replayed from scratch multiple times. I also made sure I had a complete set of CDs, with a burned set of mod packs and patches, stored safely away for the future ... over time it will get harder and harder to play.

      Only thing that came close to Shadows of Amn was Planescape -- it too was genre bending.

      I think we've lost alot with the emphasis on 3d graphics. I miss the isometric view and artistic vision of the game designers.

      RIP Black Isle.
  • Call me pathetic. But I have a standing game of BGII still on my hard drive and I haven't yet finished the game! I stopped somewhere around the first level of watchers keep. I just don't want this game to end! I have started and restarted different parties around 5 or 6 times over the last few years, but have yet to actually go the distance to finish it off once and for all. I guess some games can do that to you. Its like reading a good book. You know that you will have to finish it eventually...but all the
    • From one fan to another, I recommend you finish the game. It sounds like you have ToB too so you'll get the real final ending (until someone decides to make a BG3 without any of the original team - rumours abound for the past couple of years that this is on the cards).
    • The original is just as good. I recently bought the Icewind Dale Collection too so when school finishes up in five weeks, I can start playing it. Plus I have KotOR 2 as well to play. And potentially Neverwinter Nights and those modules... I wish these other games had modules that could be played as well.

      I really wanted to go through and replay the game again but considering the time it took me, I don't know if I would be willing to. But at the same time, the game is so open-ended that you could almost pl
  • by Forgery ( 613737 ) on Wednesday March 29, 2006 @06:42PM (#15021530)
    The Giant Space Hamster:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giant_space_hamster [wikipedia.org]
    "Go for the eyes, Boo, go for the eyes!"
  • Been a while, but I think the busty ladies in town used to say:

    "Hey sexy, would you like to take a look at my titties?!"

  • Best combonation... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by steveo777 ( 183629 ) on Wednesday March 29, 2006 @06:53PM (#15021623) Homepage Journal
    EVER! Minsc, Boo (the Miniature Giant Space Hampster) and Lilicor (the talking sword). It never gets old listeng to their banter! Okay, Boo doesn't say much, but Lilicor's occational outburst never fails to bring a smile to my face.

    The romances were always kind of stange, though. The one with Jahiera was just wrong. Her husband died not 4 days before she starts macking on you (I know the patch fixed this, but still...). Aerie is too annoying to complete because she's got a consitent mindset of a 14 year old. Never got around to doing the one with the drow. (Now that I think of it, all the male romances were with elves...). I haven't played a female charecter, but I've listened to some of Anomen's rants and he complains about everything.

    I think the best part about BGII was the Infiniti Engine's, well, infinite ability for mods. There's a whole community devoted to modding it. So, now, there isn't any lack for content. I would, however, love another iteration. Good work Bioware!

    • As a fellow old school gamer I have to say that this game was the absolute best RPG experience created. If I have to have "cred" to have a valid opinion, then my gaming resume certainly gives me more then enough. AD&D since 3rd grade, beat Dragon Warrior 2,3,4 (never finished 1 though), played and beat Ultima 2, 3, and 4. Phantasy Star III and IV. Played tabletop RPG from FASA and TSR and other. ANYWAY Of all the Video Game RPG's, this is clearly the best and ultimate experience. Ultima games are a
  • meh... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Jurrasic ( 940901 ) on Wednesday March 29, 2006 @07:25PM (#15021876)
    Even though I am a huge old school RPG gamer (if you haven't won Ultima IV, you have no RPG cred with me)and player of AD&D from age 10, I really could not get into Baldur's gate (or BGII) in the slightest. The first time I loaded BG with high expectations, the first thing I see is that annoying 'hehe, it's me Emowyn!' girl giggling and following me around. I started to grate my teeth right then, she's the only fictional character I disliked on sight more then Jar Jar Binks and after she followed me again after the death of my mentor, I told her to piss off and stop following me and she called me a 'rum duke' so I killed her and deleted the game off my HD and never looked back.
    • Re:meh... (Score:2, Informative)

      by Aglassis ( 10161 )
      Did you also throw away the Lord of the Rings books after the Tom Bombadil section?

      BG2 is like the LotR in that it has silly parts. But those parts in no way trivialize the epic nature of the story. You should try BG or BG2. Perhaps warm up by playing Planescape: Torment. If you like Planescape: Torment, then you will probably love BG and BG2.
      • Good point. Another factor as to why I never gave it another chance was probablly that I was into a huge EverCrack addiction at the time of Baldur's Gate, and everything else, including my own family, had a hard time competing for that time available away from EQ. From what I have heard from a LOT of people, I should really give Planescape Torment a go. Perhaps when Oblivion fever dies down, I will dig it up.
        • Re:meh... (Score:5, Informative)

          by VStrider ( 787148 ) <giannis_mz@yahoo ... inus threevowels> on Wednesday March 29, 2006 @08:35PM (#15022377)
          From what I have heard from a LOT of people, I should really give Planescape Torment a go.
          Add one more in that list of people. Planescape: Torment is the best RPG you can get on a pc. The BG series was very good, though not up to par with torment.

          The story is very original, the game is very well written. It seems they had DMs on the design team.
          You get quests, not your typical fedex quests(you know, go fetch this and bring it back then take this to this guy etc), but quests where you'll need to think. It's not like BG, you don't have to finish all quests to continue, and some you never will. Some quests you won't discover at all. The ones you'll solve, some you'll solve them right away and some after a long time. You can pick up any items you'll find, some of them might have something to do with a future quest or they might be totally useless. But you cann't carry everything with you. And you cann't be certain which items are useful. Sometimes, even garbage might be of some use.

          You don't choose an alignment for your character, it chooses you. (soviet russia comes to mind) Depending how you play your alignment will form accordingly.

          I could tell you alot more but I'll let you see the game yourself. As you probably realised, this isn't for gamers but for D&D players. ie. if you expect and demand to open every door, solve everything, collect everything and see everything there is to see, then you might be dissapointed. If on the other hand you are a D&D player and you've been dissapointed before by the rest of hack'n'slash mighty magic pseudoRPGs, then you're in for a treat with this one.

          I've talked in the past with friends who finished torment and each one's gameplay and experiences was totally different.
          • I'd have to completely agree, Planescape is without a doubt a benchmark in what an RPG should be. Too often are they made where a generic story and engine is designed, and you feel like you are playing a game engine with scripted elements and a check-box path through it.

            Planescape dealt with characters and situations brilliantly, and the unique alignment and reversal of death's meaning added a true feeling that there was no path defined for you to follow.
    • I never really cared for BG1, either. But I think BG2 is perhaps the best RPG I've played.
    • Why'd you stop? The game LETS you be an evil friend-murderer. You'll meet up with chaotic henchmen and get have fun killing town guards and priests and robbing the shops.

      Sadly, the overall quest is still "kill some evil guy", which doesn't make sense: I'd rather work for him. But still, it's well suited to allowing you a life of banditry and crime.
      • Work for him? NEVER! Either he works for YOU, or he has to die. Simple as that. :)

        • Re:meh... (Score:3, Interesting)

          by 2008 ( 900939 )
          Ha, that would be a cool thing for an evil character to aim for - scorched Earth, no living things left in the entire game.

          I think a lot of the enemies respawn though :(

          Maybe there should be a mod to prevent enemies spawning more than once and track how many kills to go? Something like in Doom where it would give you "25 of 37" enemies but with "1124 of 30095".

          And of course you can't get past 99.997% and win without suiciding...
          • And of course you can't get past 99.997% and win without suiciding...

            Fill me in here. You're playing Baldur's Gate. You mean to kill every living thing on the map. And then yourself.

            Well, given the backstory, and your own... unusual background, the murder of so many followed by ritual self-immolation might well produce a win condition. Bhaal would certainly have approved!

    • That's too bad. She actually developed quite well. She gets kidnapped, and comes back a little less chipper. Eventually she becomes quite powerfull, as does everyone. Being as you are an "old school RPG player" I'm surprised you found the situation as troublesome and lost hope for the entire game.

      Anyway, to each their own.
  • by __aaclcg7560 ( 824291 ) on Wednesday March 29, 2006 @07:35PM (#15021936)
    I remembered when Baldur's Gate came out with 5 or 6 CDs. It was a pain to be switching CDs every so often unless you had one of those multi-CD CDROM drives where you could load all the CDs into a magazine and the transition time between CDs was minimal. That was the hottest toy to get if you were playing that game. I was working at Accolade (which eventually became Atari) at the time. Most of the QA testers would stay until the early morning hours playing that game together. The game was eventually banned from the lab since too many zombies were living on three hours of sleep.
  • by fm6 ( 162816 ) on Wednesday March 29, 2006 @07:49PM (#15022045) Homepage Journal
    Most of the familiar characters returned from the first game, including Imoen, a somewhat naïve fellow orphan and fledgling mage/thief...
    When I play BG as an evil person, the first thing I always do is murder Imoen (irritating little twerp) and take that magic rose of hers.
    ...Jaheira, a druid harper who was obsessed with keeping your character on a path balanced between good and evil...
    Again, if you're playing as an evil character, it doesn't make sense to go looking for Jaheira — just head on south with those two crazy dudes. Which is another reason to dispense with Imoen — you don't need two thieves.
    ... and the fan favorite Minsc, an eccentric ranger who kept his pet, Boo, a miniature "giant space hamster," on his person at all times.
    Oops! Last time I met Minsc, I had to kill him, even though my character was a goodie-goodie. I was rude to his hamster, and he attacked me!
  • I guess I just suck but the end fight for ToB is FREAKING IMPOSSIBLE. By the time I get to the end I've used up all my spells and practically get one shotted. It's been over a year since I've fired it up to get owned again but good grief that's a nasty fight. Myeh, maybe I should just give in, reinstall, and use Gamefaqs.com
    • I gave up at the brown dragon in ToB, cant remember where exactly, but I never found out how to kill it, it seemed immune to everything but my highest rank cleric and mage spells and I didnt have enough of those to kill it. Never was good at killing Dragons though, all my other dragon kills consisted of throwing Cloudkill and hiding ^^.
    • traps all about traps
      • If you want to be cheezy, yeah, it's traps, but then why not just look up the cheeze guide some guy wrote for BG...
        The way to win any bg fight is to get rid of all protective spells with your mage and then whack it with all your fighters, worked for me every time, and I've finished ToB more than I care to remember, back in those days I wanted to play every possible character and every allignment...
        Of course I was in school and had no job pressure or anything...
        In fact I gave Arcanum the same treatment...
    • It's somewhat challenging, but doable...your characters should all have godlike abilities at that point. The easiest way would be to (ab)use the mage spell Project Image (and perhaps Simulacrum as well) and go on a rampage with multiple calls to Dragon's Breath, Comet, Timestop, Summon Planetar etc.Be sure to cover your mages with your fighters (who should all have Greater Whirlwind and +5 weapons, to make sashimi of those pesky monsters that you face). Also highly recommend the elemental summons and so on,
    • I thought this was an awesome ending as you had to use all of your skills and gear to the maximum, after getting thrashed mercilessly several times I went back through several different areas selling evey non-essential item and maxing all my characters out on scrolls, potions and gear. With everything set I beat it on my first try, challenging but satisfyng. To me BG2 was the ultimate RPG and ToB was an indulgent present for those who toughed it through. That final battle, insane!
      • Well, all this talk has made me want to play again, so I reinstalled BG2 ToB, refound my old save games loaded it up... and was totally lost haha. So now I'm replaying through IWD to relearn everything, then either finish off my game or restart from scratch, going all the way back through BG1. Nastalga can sure be time consuming sometimes!!
  • I'm sure lots of people are asking the same question, and I'm asking it too. Where are more games that are based on this engine? Are we ever going to see any?

    Just like the original SSI gold-box engine spawned a lot of cool games, so should BG2.
  • I played through as a monk, and it got ridiculously easy later on. I barely needed my other party members. Other than that, great stuff. The guy who did the voice for the main baddie (I forget the character's name) was fantastic -- probably the best voice work I've heard in any game.
  • Best Quotes (Score:2, Funny)

    by alexgieg ( 948359 )
    "No one crosses the Shadow Thieves... and LIVES!!!"

    "Silence, dog! Your only purpose is to die by MY hand!"

Computer programmers do it byte by byte.