Geplaatst: 23 juni
The greatest game ever made.
I was going to preface the review with the greatest WCRPG ever made, or perhaps the greatest RPG ever made but neither of those really describe the scope of this game's promise. Sure, you'll probably end up having more hours in other games. If you play a multiplayer game and you're playing for the people, you aren't really going to credit the game for those relationships but as I stare at my original BG II: SoA case sitting on my shelf, I'm supremely happy that I bought the Steam Enhanced Edition. BG II quite simply has everything you can want out of a video game.
Unlike so many RPGs, BG II has the perfect balance of linear story, and branching exploration. In fact, it's one of the few RPGs I've ever played that has successfully achieved that goal. In BG II, you pursue a tense and captivating story, but the game allows you to explore Amn and the surrounding countryside at your leisure. The result is an experience that doesn't feel like a plot train, nor like a meandering sandbox devoid of purpose. Every main quest and its satellite components fit neatly in the plot mythos, creating a truly organic and wonderful experience.
Thematically, the location of Faerun is as rich and varied as high traditional high fantasy can be, rivaling even that of Tolkien's creations. The game features a large, exotic sister city to Baldur's Gate (Amn), rife with political intrigue and a myriad of hidden secrets. Walk past a bar a dozen times, and yet on the thirteenth a new adventure allows you to find an underground cellar with new, untold dangers. The cavernous Underdark, hidden druidic groves, pirate ships, desolate islands, dark forests, castles of every imagination, ruins and even planar travel await you in this game.
The variety is staggering but theme alone doesn't propel this game's story. A plot full of surprises, twists, moments of worry, panic and dread make this game something that you experience, not play. The game organically develops, unfurling the finale like petals in a flower, instead of so many other, formulaic RPG plots. Perhaps the characterization however, is the game's strongest storytelling element. A diverse array of characters exist, both comically memorable and fearsomely grim and they not only interact with the protagonist but also with each other, with staggering consequences.
After playing through BG II and its expansion ToB, and logging over 150 hours with the original release, I am now happy to introduce other gamers to this forgotten classic. With rich and deep tacitcal gameplay, endless customizeability and properly functioning multiplayer, everyone can now enjoy this gem of a game. And because the game has such low system requirements, noone is left out.
I played this game 15 years ago, as an adult but even as a grownup, I was still transformed by the depth and breadth of this amazing gaming experience. Fifteen years later, middle aged as I am, I still appreciate what a special title this really is. From art design, to music, to gameplay this title will give you exactly what you put in.
Buy it, sit down, steep yourself in the lore. Go slow and luxuriate in the rich tale that will unfold. As a gamer, I can think of no better gift to my peers than to recommend this game.