I have a confession – I am a massive nerd. I grew up playing Dungeons and Dragons. Most of my time was spent on 3e and 3.5e, but I had a not insignificant teething period on AD&D, with its many mechanical intricacies. I lived and breathed THAC0, saving throws, special abilities, and character class restrictions for a time, until it made way for ECL, feats, and ability bonuses. Subsequently, BioWare’s Baldur’s Gate was my first real RPG. I felt comfortable with the rules when I first played it as a wide-eyed teen back in ’98. The scope of the story and complexity of the rules has irrevocably shaped my expectations of what to expect from an RPG. Baldur’s Gate is the yardstick to which I measure all party-based RPGs, and while some have since eclipsed it in terms of the overall package of story and gameplay, none have come close to instilling the sense of overwhelming wonder that I felt upon first leaving Candlekeep.

I know it’s a tangent, but I feel it is important for me to make clear my love and respect for the series, before you read the words below, because what I have written is only out of love.

Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition is a modern day update by Overhaul Games of the BioWare’s classic. Overhaul, founded and headed by BioWare/ Interplay alumni Trent Oster and Cameron Tofer, both of whom worked on the original title, along with many of the other BioWare greats like BG2, Neverwinter Nights, Mass Effect, and Dragon Age: Origins, seem to be the right studio for the task. With the intimate knowledge of the engine and the content that the team undoubtedly have, as well as the reverence for the original story and characters, at the very least the remake has been treated with respect.

In which lies the inherent issue with Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition – it is perhaps too faithful to the original.

I can understand why they’d want to keep so much of the original – series fans would complain if a new direction was taken, and the original game is quite strong by itself. The problem is that many of the enhancements just aren’t obvious enough. I’m torn by that – I don’t want the enhancements to be obvious, because I want MY Baldur’s Gate experience, just the way I remember it. It shows the developer’s skill and familiarity with the series, too, to be able to add new content that does not feel out of place. It’s just, for a re-release, I want something extra – something to modernise the experience enough to justify the purchase.

For those new to the series, the game is an epic tale of loss, wonder, and divinity reborn as you, Gorion’s Ward, set out from your sheltered home of Candlekeep. Upon the road, you and your adoptive father Gorion encounter a party of strangers, headed by the evil Sarevok. Gorion is killed, leaving you with a simple task – meet two adventurers in an inn not far from you. The story naturally opens from there, allowing you almost complete freedom in how and when you will follow your quest for your adoptive father’s murderer and experience the greater, overarching purpose behind that dreadful act. The world map is vast, and each location has some new task or interaction to explore. Baldur’s Gate’s world of Faerun is wonderfully rich and full. There are many dozens of side-quests, ranging from simple item retrieval to complex negotiations between several factions. The game is hard, slow, and long, and amazingly, wonderfully, beautifully deep.

The game follows the six person party structure, with the main player character as the protagonist, and five other NPC party members available at one time to supplement your skill set. There are quite a number of recruitable NPCs smattered around the world, each with their own distinct personalities. The complexity of the role-play mechanics are intimidating in a way, and wonderfully adaptable. Following the basic mage/fighter/rogue class triad, and expanding upon it with divine magic, different forms of arcane magic users, to basic fighters and specialised rangers and paladins, the PC customisation options are extensive. Throw in well over 100 hours of gameplay time to full completion and a daunting difficulty curve, and you have the ingredients of a truly classic, truly epic RPG in the tradition of Dungeons and Dragons. The original game, in and of itself, has always been one of the very best.

The epic story is as strong as ever.

The core game is great, and all of the original, plus the expansion Tales of the Sword Coast, are included and remade in full, but for an RPG the mechanics have not aged very well at all. To those used to the streamlined approach taken by more modern RPGs like Dragon Age: Origins, the mechanics will at first appear obtuse. This is a fault of the AD&D system, which relied on an unintuitive reverse bonus system for resolving the semi-turn-based attacks – the dreaded THAC0 (to hit armour class 0). Basically, your character starts with requiring a roll of 20 to hit an opponent with an armour class of 0. What this means is that an opponent with an armour class of 8 is being attacked by a creature with a THAC0 of 18, the attacker requires a roll of 18 minus 8 (10) or higher to hit. This round-about way of approaching attacks is difficult to understand wholly or on the fly, beyond the unintuitive general rule of lower is better.

For its part, Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition does its best to help the player to understand this outdated system by displaying the total THAC0 for each equipped weapon in the much improved inventory screen, rather than in the character screen, like its predecessors. This allows quick comparison between weapons. Enhanced Edition also displays the damage range in the inventory screen, which is a pleasant addition, however it seems to neglect the damage bonus granted by high ability scores.

Attack and THAC0 is displayed, with a breakdown of where each reduction comes from, but the inventory fails to list attack speed, which is a complicated mechanic introduced in the original Baldur’s Gate to adapt the initiative system of the PnP game into the PC title. For the lay-person, attack speed can usually be ignored, but those who want to create power builds, or even when going up against a powerful spellcaster where attack speed matters, the stat isn’t shown in the inventory screen, rather back in the character screen like the original. Arguably, attack speed belongs on the character screen, but if you’re going to put a breakdown of what makes up your armour or THAC0 on the inventory screen, and even part of your total damage, then doesn’t it also make sense to group attack speed there somewhere too? Likewise, the inventory AC breakdown doesn’t show elemental resistances or saving throws, which are again relegated to the character screen. I can see what they were doing by putting the most key information on the inventory screen, and it is largely an improvement over the original, but I would have perhaps liked to have seen a more comprehensive streamlining of the way the information was displayed.

The inventory screen gets a few tweaks, like the bar on the right hand side that provides weapon to hit and damage, and armour class information.

The screen that received the largest improvement, however, is the journal screen. Quests are conveniently grouped in expandable lists, which makes viewing active quest details a much less exhausting process than the original. The simple decision to streamline the journal process and bring it into line with more modern design processes shows what the team is capable of at its best.

the game has not changed that much, either. The game still has the original sprites and backgrounds upscaled for HD and widescreen. You can now zoom in and out of the main screen with the mouse wheel, allowing you to appreciate the action from a closer, if pixellated, point of view. The sprites and graphics look dated, but authentic. The main UI has received a few tweaks, too, with a colour change from gold/green to gold/blue. The AI and select all buttons have been enlarged and moved, and the entire UI stretched for widescreen. An unfortunate side-effect of stretching the UI is large gaps between skill buttons, leaving a large gap every four tiles or so. This extends to spell lists, which results in a segmented spell bar. It looks clumsy and wasteful, and is one of few parts of the game that gives an unpleasant feeling of hurriedness.

Zooming in with the mouse wheel reveals the slight improvements to the original sprites. Disregard the blurriness of Imoen, in purple, and my PC Mystral, in red, who are wearing Cloaks of Displacement.

Spells and on-screen effects have received the bulk of the noticeable graphical changes, with some gaining a completely new look. You’ll notice a new depth to colour and movement in the effects, which adds a nice graphical touch and added spectacle to magical combat in particular.

Cutscenes have been remade in the comic book cut-out style. While they are undoubtedly pretty, the style and delivery of this cartoon-like aesthetic is somewhat jarring when compared to the tone and delivery of the rest of the game. Some will love it, and I appreciate the work that has gone into these gorgeous sequences, however for me it doesn’t quite capture the high fantasy spirit of Baldur’s Gate’s Faerun.

Gnoll: An Artist’s Impression

The worst change to graphics is the lack of graphics options, which extends to “fullscreen”. That’s it. No other graphics options are on offer here. Luckily, the game is so lightweight to run on a modern system that it doesn’t have an impact on performance, but not having graphics settings is a travesty for a PC game. Strangely, the .cfg file in the game directory lists several graphics options as changeable. I hope that this is an instance of early review code oversight, and not indicative of the finished product.

Sound is mostly the same as the original, with the familiar background tracks and ambient sounds playing their part in creating the world. Combat sounds as solid as before, and characters retain their voices. Some new voice work has been added for players to customise their characters with, as well as keeping the original six voice sets.

The main featured content for Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition revolves around the three new characters and their respective quests, and the new adventure The Black Pit. Three NPC party members are recruitable – a wild mage called Neera, a monk called Rasaad, and the all-new Blackguard Dorn. I’ve been hanging out with Neera and Rasaad for a while now, and, while I’m an Immy/Minsc/Khalid/Jaheira/Branwen kind of guy myself, I have to say the new NPCs aren’t bad. Neera is not quite Edwin in magical ability, but she makes up for it with a bubbly personality and charming presence. I can safely say that Neera is my favourite new NPC, and is even up there with the likes of Minsc and Xan. Rasaad is the first NPC monk in the series, and, while low level monks suffer under the low level cap, he’s not a total loss. Their personal side-quests are not long compared to NPC side-quests in Baldur’s Gate 2, however they are focused and well-written. All three characters are also fully voiced, which is a great touch. Overall, the new characters are a solid addition to the game.

This is Neera, my favourite new addition to the game. She’s very well-written, and a good asset to a party in need of a non-evil arcane spellcaster.

The Black Pit module, however, does not follow the high quality of the character quests. In essence, it is a series of 15 ring matches, with a loose narrative holding it together. In between each fight, you are able to restock from an increasing pool of magical weapons and items. The XP and gold rewards flow thick and fast, although you’ll quickly find yourself replaying some of the lower level battles for either more gold or XP, as the difficulty of the fights ramps up quite steeply. As a quest, the narrative and choices do not hold much for a dedicated RPG fan, although what’s there is solidly written and fully voiced. As a tool for testing builds and quickly power-levelling a PC for import with some nifty and unique magic items, however, it is a rather effective tool. I suspect that this was the main reason for including this short module, as the variety of combat situations gives an effective overview of the more difficult challenges presented by the main story.

The engine itself has had an overhaul, bringing it up to speed for modern systems, however the key upgrade is the inclusion of features from Baldur’s Gate 2 and Throne of Bhaal. Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition features all of the classes introduced in 2 and ToB, meaning you can start the game from scratch as a kit, or a class like the sorcerer or monk. This is a very welcome addition to the original, and an essential one for anyone who has played the original with either TuTu or BGT. The game also implements the tab to highlight feature of ToB, which can break some of the early hidden items, such as the (spoilers) Ankheg plate in Nashkel, or the Ring Of Wizardry in The Friendly Arms Inn. Some of the old exploits also still exist, such as the import high level character tactic, which is arguably made worse with the inclusion of The Black Pit campaign being accessible right from the beginning. Others, like multiplayer soloing, and single player soloing for XP are still there, as is kicking a paired party member and then leaving the building to retain the other half of the pair in your party.

There are one or two other noticeable gameplay changes. There are some new, beautiful character portraits – I counted fourteen. Potions now stack above 5, which is useful for inventory management. The ground inventory is expanded to two columns, allowing more room. Skull Trap has had its casting range increased, reducing accidental friendly fire. Character circles around party members reflects the colours of their clothes. A character’s action will display on their portrait. I’m sure there are other minor changes that I either haven’t noticed or haven’t encountered yet, but it’s nothing truly game-changing. Personally, I would have liked some of the enhancements added from later RPGs, like action queuing, or AOE radius indicators, or even something like the Take 20 action from Neverwinter Nights, just to prevent clicking on the same locked chest half a dozen times just to make sure. The mechanics are dated, and there are many small tweaks that could have been made to the gameplay to enhance accessibility, however I understand and respect the desire to keep it as pure as possible.

The Black Pits module consists of fifteen cage fights, starring your custom party of six. It is a good way to test out your party balance in combat situations, but lacks narrative depth.

I am unsure who the audience for this game is, exactly. Those who love the original and replay it every few years will find that the price-point of $20 may be too high, when compared to the $10 for the original game on GoG. It would be hard to justify a re-purchase for a game already owned, especially for an experienced player with a good knowledge of available mods. On the other hand, newcomers to the series may find the dated mechanics and graphics too much of an obstacle and want to pass this over for something a little more modern. I suspect that iOS and Android tablet capability may interest both of those markets, however those who buy the PC version don’t get a copy of the portable versions. There is a decent amount of new content here, but apart from the new character quests and Black Pits, most of the fixes and content can be found in free mods for the original games.

I suppose that criticism is one shared by most re-releases, and compared to others (cough… Capcom… cough), Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition does offer a lot more for your money. The Overhaul team could never be accused of doing a lazy port with this effort. It has clearly been treated with love and respect. I’m just not sure if that’s enough for me, though. Overhaul say there are over 400 improvements, and I believe them – I really do – I just can’t see that many. Maybe if I had a thousand hours to spend with the games side-by-side I could be able to see more of the improvements, but I don’t, and even if I did, I’d be comparing the outdated original, when I usually play with at least the Baldur’s Gate Trilogy or TuTu mods installed, either of which do a great job of improving the original already.

It comes down to what you want from the remake. If you replay the game annually and are looking for something new, want to play on a tablet, don’t own BG2/ToB, or don’t have the time to look for and install a few mods, this is worth a look. If you are new to the series and relatively computer savvy, or want to buy the entire Baldur’s Gate series, I am not sure if I could recommend this game to you just yet, since the older titles hold up perfectly well with one or two simple mods, and for half the price. What I would instead say is wait. Wait until Baldur’s Gate 2: Enhanced Edition is released next year, and for the modding community to get their teeth into the updated engine. Wait for the amount of extra content already made for the original release to be introduced into the Enhanced Edition.

Baldur’s Gate was a near-perfect game, and the Enhanced Edition has most of the rougher edges polished. As a standalone title, you’d be foolish to miss it. But it isn’t a standalone title, and I can’t pretend it is. By itself it is much better than the original – and it is the best commercially available Baldur’s Gate – but compared to the entire series with mods added, it is a slightly inferior product. For now.

I don’t want to leave this review on a sour note. What the Overhaul team have achieved is wondrous, and nothing can take that away from them. Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition is the same game I love. I just wanted more from it than I got.

(Reviewed on PC. Review code provided by Overhaul Games/Interplay. Thanks.)

ONLY SINGLE PLAYER SCORE

Story – 10/10

Gameplay/Design – 8/10

Visuals – 6.5/10

Sound – 7/10

Lasting Appeal – 10/10

_______________________

Overall – 8.5/10

(Not an average)

Platforms: PC, Mac, iOS tablets, Android tablets

Developer: Overhaul Games

Publisher: Beamdog

Lachlan Williams
Former Editor in Chief of OnlySP. A guy who writes things about stuff, apparently. Recovering linguist, blue pencil surgeon, and professional bishie sparkler. In between finding the latest news, reviewing PC games, and generally being a grumpy bossyboots, he likes to watch way too much Judge Judy. He perhaps has too much spare time on his hands. Based in Sydney, Australia. Follow him on twitter @lawksland.

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38 Comments

  1. Good review, but I feel you&#039re missing the point slightly – Trent Oster has stated that iPad (and Android to follow) is the main market for this game. The idea of commuting to and from work playing a fully functional Baldur&#039s Gate is mind blowing. Can you review the iPad version when it comes out (hopefully) next week?

    1. Thanks for the comment, David. I do address that point above, albeit briefly. Since the review code was on PC, I feel I have to review it as a PC title. I understand your point about the tablet functionality, and mention near the end that if you&#039re looking for a tablet title, this is one to watch. I think this would be a great game for the platform, if the interface works. Unfortunately, I haven&#039t tested the new tablet interface, which is supposedly different to the PC one, so I can&#039t offer my definitive opinion on that.

      I&#039d love to review the tablet version, but I don&#039t own one, so unfortunately this will be the only review I (or the rest of us) do on the title. Still, if the tablet version keeps what&#039s on offer here (it should, if you buy all the DLC) and wraps it in a workable interface, the game will be great.

      1. To add to David&#039s point, BG:EE is the first time the game will be available for OS X. That&#039s reason enough for me.

        You also don&#039t mention the multiplayer overhaul, though admittedly it&#039s still in beta, and MP was never a main draw for BG anyway. Cloud saves is also coming, which will be nice for those of us with desktops and laptops/tablets.

        1. I didn&#039t mention those points for a few specific reasons. I am reviewing on PC only, and don&#039t feel qualified to give an opinion on other formats. As for multiplayer, we&#039re focused on the single player experience here, and it wasn&#039t in offer to review anyway. Cloud saves also were not mentioned since they aren&#039t in yet. I also didn&#039t mention cross-platform saves, which could be useful in the future. I couldn&#039t test any of that, because it doesn&#039t exist for those buying today.

          It really is a great game, and will be a stunner in a few years.

  2. I&#039ll just be glad to have a version that runs reliably on my computer. Tutu/BGT (as well as vanilla) both crash my computer constantly, probably because of the wonky DirectDraw/Open GL mechanic. I&#039m talking hardlock, have-to-hold-the-power-button-down crashes. Not fun. IWD in BG2 runs ok for whatever strange reason, but can&#039t be full screened without some serious problems.

    1. I&#039ve personally never had any problems with either TuTu or BGT, however I recognise that some do. I know when I booted up my original, unmodded BG1 for this review I experienced a large amount of visual glitches. Did you make sure to install BG/BG2/ToB, and then install the mods? Many won&#039t work without ToB installed.

      It is good to have a working version, and, as far as remakes go, there are certainly worse ones out there. If you want to play the original BG, and mods aren&#039t working for you, I have no reservations in recommending this game.

      1. I did. I have never had any problems in the past either, but my new computer, for whatever reason, rebels at this game. I tried vanilla and modded, and unfortunately couldn&#039t get either working reliably. When I saw they were releasing a remake, I just shelved my efforts to fix it and preordered the enhanced edition. I was able to make IWD in BG2 work with a lot of fiddling, which was good enough for me in the meantime.

        1. Looks like this is the game for you, then. Hopefully, it will get lots of mod support and we&#039ll see a lot more new content.

  3. I have a few points of contention with this article:

    1. I am a little confused by your comments on attack speed in the inventory screen. The important "Number of Attacks" stat is clearly listed in the screenshot of the inventory. This is by far the most important "attack speed" stat in the game. Weapons speed factors only determine how early in a round the character can attack, which is mildly important, especially for backstabbing, but overall a pretty useless stat in the game. I feel the attack speed comments may be misleading to a lot of readers. I realize the "lay-person" remark was included to help with the issue, but it is still misleading.

    2. The complaint on the gaps in the skill buttons on the bottom of the screen seems to neglect the benefit they provide. Those buttons are mapped to the F1-F12 keys and so the spaced out appearance provides a much more intuitive mapping of UI button to keyboard hotkey.

    3. You say the range on Spell Trap has been increased. Spell Trap is a 9th level Mage spell which is a caster-range buff granting immunity to spells. I assume you mean Dispel Magic?

    Otherwise, this is a great review and I agree with many of the points raised.

    1. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

      1. Number of attacks is clearly displayed in the inventory screen. I agree that this is an important stat, and those unfamiliar with the core ruleset may confuse attack speed and number of attacks. I sometimes forget not everyone is as familiar with the core rules as I am. As for attack speed, I find that it is important for dedicated mage slayers to know if and when their attacks will interrupt casting, especially since lower level mages lack adequate protective spells. Not all players will need it, but the placement of THAC0 breakdown in the inventory felt to me like it could have also included speed factor.

      2. My f row lacks the gaps between keys. I can see how some would find it useful, but for me the shift seemed unnecessary and gave the appearance of wasted space. Those gaps could have gone to more ability hot buttons, instead on empty space.

      3. My mistake – I meant "Skull Trap", not "Spell Trap", and my editor didn&#039t pick up that particular discrepancy. I shall amend it right away. Thank you for pointing that out.

      I hope I have answered your queries sufficiently. Feel free to continue the conversation, if you would like to discuss anything else further. This review is my opinion, and a difficult one to come to at that, and I welcome any questions or input you or anyone else nay have.

  4. Good review, but I feel you're missing the point slightly – Trent Oster has stated that iPad (and Android to follow) is the main market for this game. The idea of commuting to and from work playing a fully functional Baldur's Gate is mind blowing. Can you review the iPad version when it comes out (hopefully) next week?

    1. Thanks for the comment, David. I do address that point above, albeit briefly. Since the review code was on PC, I feel I have to review it as a PC title. I understand your point about the tablet functionality, and mention near the end that if you're looking for a tablet title, this is one to watch. I think this would be a great game for the platform, if the interface works. Unfortunately, I haven't tested the new tablet interface, which is supposedly different to the PC one, so I can't offer my definitive opinion on that.

      I'd love to review the tablet version, but I don't own one, so unfortunately this will be the only review I (or the rest of us) do on the title. Still, if the tablet version keeps what's on offer here (it should, if you buy all the DLC) and wraps it in a workable interface, the game will be great.

      1. To add to David's point, BG:EE is the first time the game will be available for OS X. That's reason enough for me.

        You also don't mention the multiplayer overhaul, though admittedly it's still in beta, and MP was never a main draw for BG anyway. Cloud saves is also coming, which will be nice for those of us with desktops and laptops/tablets.

        1. I didn't mention those points for a few specific reasons. I am reviewing on PC only, and don't feel qualified to give an opinion on other formats. As for multiplayer, we're focused on the single player experience here, and it wasn't in offer to review anyway. Cloud saves also were not mentioned since they aren't in yet. I also didn't mention cross-platform saves, which could be useful in the future. I couldn't test any of that, because it doesn't exist for those buying today.

          It really is a great game, and will be a stunner in a few years.

  5. One of the potential benefits of this release, and the one that may – in the long run – make BGEE the definitive version of the game to own, is that several features of the game that were previously hard coded have been externalized for easy(or rather possible) modification. This means that in the future we may see mods that only work with BGEE, kind of like a lot of popular Morrowind mods required that you owned its expansions.

    Granted, this isn&#039t really a reviewable feature, but it is worth noting for those that may currently be trying to decide between GOG and Beamdog.

    1. Oh, I fully agree. The updates that this engine should allow – and I haven&#039t played around with it yet – are mods. The Overhaul team are fully behind modding. Unfortunately, that&#039s not the product I have right now, so all I can say is that if you want more content and are willing to mod, the originals, right now, are better value for money. Once modders get their noggins into it, this will almost certainly be the best edition.

      If you can&#039t or don&#039t mod, this is the perfect update.

      1. hmmmm, question, you keep mentioning that you review it as it is Now, but will you update the review when you have more info about it?

        I know you have to be even handed in reviewing, but to me, it sounds like you got an early version. This seems to be a problem with some reviews i&#039ve seen, where once it&#039s posted, it stands regardless of patches (empire total war comes to mind, most reviews i&#039ve seen were before the first patch and point out issues that weren&#039t there after the day 1 patch, if i&#039m remembering correctly).

        Either way, just curious. TY for your time

        1. Thanks, Mike.

          I am not sure if I will update this review over time, however we will post newsworthy developments as they appear, and may revisit this title for a second opinion article when BG2:EE comes out. Or perhaps do an entire retrospective comparison some time in the future.

          As for the early version, yes and no. The code I was on for PC is almost identical to full retail code available today, or so I understand. Any features missing from this code are also missing today, such as cloud saves (to be added at a later date), cross-platform multiplayer/saves (to be added at a later date), even multiplayer at all (to be added in the coming days, I believe), or the community modding future, which will undoubtedly take off. If you were to buy it today, you&#039d play a practically identical game to what I have played.

          I agree that letting a review stand regardless of future improvements can be problematic, however we&#039ll do our best to detail significant updates or improvements when they happen, and, as I said earlier, possibly do another retrospective review much later down the line.

          1. thank you for your answer, i&#039ve often wondered, and i know most reviews are just given a game, told to review it, and alot of times, doesn&#039t get the 2nd opinion.

            I&#039ve preordered this from day 1 it was available. But i found most of what you said honest, and almost gave you a sense of division, as if you wanted to be nice for the love of the game, but needed to reach out to the modern audience. But i love the fact that this is old school, clunky, and requires time to understand. The hand holding in newer games drives me crazy, and while your comment about the journal being streamlined sounds like heaven, i&#039ve glad they left the rest unchanged, as i don&#039t like the direction modern gaming is heading. BG1 made you think and grow, forced you into situations you weren&#039t ready to handle. Most games now a days don&#039t, and that&#039s the reason i loved it so much, and probalby you as well. The depth, basically.

            Great review though. I really enjoyed it and thank you for your response to my post.

          2. I&#039m glad you liked my review! Thank you.

            If you liked the original, you will like this. You are right – I was very divided by this game. On the one hand, the mechanics are familiar and strong, but the gameplay – especially THAC0, is incontestably outdated by modern video game standards. It&#039s also very hard, and quite slow, which is not for everyone. It&#039s as deep as ever – bordering on obtuse, and that, for better or worse, is not always desirable in a modern title. I also wanted some more streamlining, like attack radii for AOE spells, like NWN has, just to take away some of the unnecessary complications. I love it, and I want people to play it, but I want people to play the best version of BG, and currently, that&#039s the original with mods. I don&#039t doubt this one will get a load more user content, but I can&#039t base an opinion on predictions.

            I am looking forward to keeping an eye on this one, though. It should be a lot better than the (modded) original in a year or two.

  6. I'll just be glad to have a version that runs reliably on my computer. Tutu/BGT (as well as vanilla) both crash my computer constantly, probably because of the wonky DirectDraw/Open GL mechanic. I'm talking hardlock, have-to-hold-the-power-button-down crashes. Not fun. IWD in BG2 runs ok for whatever strange reason, but can't be full screened without some serious problems.

    1. I've personally never had any problems with either TuTu or BGT, however I recognise that some do. I know when I booted up my original, unmodded BG1 for this review I experienced a large amount of visual glitches. Did you make sure to install BG/BG2/ToB, and then install the mods? Many won't work without ToB installed.

      It is good to have a working version, and, as far as remakes go, there are certainly worse ones out there. If you want to play the original BG, and mods aren't working for you, I have no reservations in recommending this game.

      1. I did. I have never had any problems in the past either, but my new computer, for whatever reason, rebels at this game. I tried vanilla and modded, and unfortunately couldn't get either working reliably. When I saw they were releasing a remake, I just shelved my efforts to fix it and preordered the enhanced edition. I was able to make IWD in BG2 work with a lot of fiddling, which was good enough for me in the meantime.

        1. Looks like this is the game for you, then. Hopefully, it will get lots of mod support and we'll see a lot more new content.

  7. I have a few points of contention with this article:

    1. I am a little confused by your comments on attack speed in the inventory screen. The important "Number of Attacks" stat is clearly listed in the screenshot of the inventory. This is by far the most important "attack speed" stat in the game. Weapons speed factors only determine how early in a round the character can attack, which is mildly important, especially for backstabbing, but overall a pretty useless stat in the game. I feel the attack speed comments may be misleading to a lot of readers. I realize the "lay-person" remark was included to help with the issue, but it is still misleading.

    2. The complaint on the gaps in the skill buttons on the bottom of the screen seems to neglect the benefit they provide. Those buttons are mapped to the F1-F12 keys and so the spaced out appearance provides a much more intuitive mapping of UI button to keyboard hotkey.

    3. You say the range on Spell Trap has been increased. Spell Trap is a 9th level Mage spell which is a caster-range buff granting immunity to spells. I assume you mean Dispel Magic?

    Otherwise, this is a great review and I agree with many of the points raised.

    1. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

      1. Number of attacks is clearly displayed in the inventory screen. I agree that this is an important stat, and those unfamiliar with the core ruleset may confuse attack speed and number of attacks. I sometimes forget not everyone is as familiar with the core rules as I am. As for attack speed, I find that it is important for dedicated mage slayers to know if and when their attacks will interrupt casting, especially since lower level mages lack adequate protective spells. Not all players will need it, but the placement of THAC0 breakdown in the inventory felt to me like it could have also included speed factor.

      2. My f row lacks the gaps between keys. I can see how some would find it useful, but for me the shift seemed unnecessary and gave the appearance of wasted space. Those gaps could have gone to more ability hot buttons, instead on empty space.

      3. My mistake – I meant "Skull Trap", not "Spell Trap", and my editor didn't pick up that particular discrepancy. I shall amend it right away. Thank you for pointing that out.

      I hope I have answered your queries sufficiently. Feel free to continue the conversation, if you would like to discuss anything else further. This review is my opinion, and a difficult one to come to at that, and I welcome any questions or input you or anyone else nay have.

  8. THAC0 IS HARD

    WHAT ARE ALL THESE NUMBERS

    HELP

    WHERES THE COOLDOWNS

    MY FACE IS AN ASS OH NO MORE SHIT IS SPRAYING OUT

    1. I hope you have a designated driver with you tonight.

    2. MATH IS HARD
      I SHOULDN&#039T BE EXPECTED TO COUNT TO TWENTY IN A VIDYA GAME! TIS A DISGRACE

  9. One of the potential benefits of this release, and the one that may – in the long run – make BGEE the definitive version of the game to own, is that several features of the game that were previously hard coded have been externalized for easy(or rather possible) modification. This means that in the future we may see mods that only work with BGEE, kind of like a lot of popular Morrowind mods required that you owned its expansions.

    Granted, this isn't really a reviewable feature, but it is worth noting for those that may currently be trying to decide between GOG and Beamdog.

    1. Oh, I fully agree. The updates that this engine should allow – and I haven't played around with it yet – are mods. The Overhaul team are fully behind modding. Unfortunately, that's not the product I have right now, so all I can say is that if you want more content and are willing to mod, the originals, right now, are better value for money. Once modders get their noggins into it, this will almost certainly be the best edition.

      If you can't or don't mod, this is the perfect update.

      1. hmmmm, question, you keep mentioning that you review it as it is Now, but will you update the review when you have more info about it?

        I know you have to be even handed in reviewing, but to me, it sounds like you got an early version. This seems to be a problem with some reviews i've seen, where once it's posted, it stands regardless of patches (empire total war comes to mind, most reviews i've seen were before the first patch and point out issues that weren't there after the day 1 patch, if i'm remembering correctly).

        Either way, just curious. TY for your time

        1. Thanks, Mike.

          I am not sure if I will update this review over time, however we will post newsworthy developments as they appear, and may revisit this title for a second opinion article when BG2:EE comes out. Or perhaps do an entire retrospective comparison some time in the future.

          As for the early version, yes and no. The code I was on for PC is almost identical to full retail code available today, or so I understand. Any features missing from this code are also missing today, such as cloud saves (to be added at a later date), cross-platform multiplayer/saves (to be added at a later date), even multiplayer at all (to be added in the coming days, I believe), or the community modding future, which will undoubtedly take off. If you were to buy it today, you'd play a practically identical game to what I have played.

          I agree that letting a review stand regardless of future improvements can be problematic, however we'll do our best to detail significant updates or improvements when they happen, and, as I said earlier, possibly do another retrospective review much later down the line.

          1. thank you for your answer, i've often wondered, and i know most reviews are just given a game, told to review it, and alot of times, doesn't get the 2nd opinion.

            I've preordered this from day 1 it was available. But i found most of what you said honest, and almost gave you a sense of division, as if you wanted to be nice for the love of the game, but needed to reach out to the modern audience. But i love the fact that this is old school, clunky, and requires time to understand. The hand holding in newer games drives me crazy, and while your comment about the journal being streamlined sounds like heaven, i've glad they left the rest unchanged, as i don't like the direction modern gaming is heading. BG1 made you think and grow, forced you into situations you weren't ready to handle. Most games now a days don't, and that's the reason i loved it so much, and probalby you as well. The depth, basically.

            Great review though. I really enjoyed it and thank you for your response to my post.

          2. I'm glad you liked my review! Thank you.

            If you liked the original, you will like this. You are right – I was very divided by this game. On the one hand, the mechanics are familiar and strong, but the gameplay – especially THAC0, is incontestably outdated by modern video game standards. It's also very hard, and quite slow, which is not for everyone. It's as deep as ever – bordering on obtuse, and that, for better or worse, is not always desirable in a modern title. I also wanted some more streamlining, like attack radii for AOE spells, like NWN has, just to take away some of the unnecessary complications. I love it, and I want people to play it, but I want people to play the best version of BG, and currently, that's the original with mods. I don't doubt this one will get a load more user content, but I can't base an opinion on predictions.

            I am looking forward to keeping an eye on this one, though. It should be a lot better than the (modded) original in a year or two.

  10. THAC0 IS HARD

    WHAT ARE ALL THESE NUMBERS

    HELP

    WHERES THE COOLDOWNS

    MY FACE IS AN ASS OH NO MORE SHIT IS SPRAYING OUT

    1. I hope you have a designated driver with you tonight.

    2. MATH IS HARD
      I SHOULDN'T BE EXPECTED TO COUNT TO TWENTY IN A VIDYA GAME! TIS A DISGRACE

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