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Baldur's Gate (Windows)

90
Critic Score
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
4.0
User Score
5 point score based on user ratings.
Written by  :  Kate Jones (453)
Written on  :  Nov 14, 2001
Platform  :  Windows
Rating  :  1 Stars1 Stars1 Stars1 Stars1 Stars

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Summary

One of the worst RPGs ever

The Good

Oh how much I wish I could love this game. Before the game was released I eagerly waited it hoping the world would see another oldschool RPG but alas, the result was big load of crap. At the first glimpse the game looks nice, it feels like any epic big RPG, you got a massive world you can walk in, you got many characters and such... the feeling is there. And the music is somewhat nice, although it's way too little of it. I guess that's all the good I can say.

The Bad

First of all... the D&D system. I *hate* it. When making characters, a player essentially presses reroll a thousand times to gain super stats. The element of race is very weak, and it just seems that Elves has more intelligence and stuff like that, which makes it far too specific. Any mage will automatically select an Elf because he's better with that kind of stuff, that's it, the selection of class controls which race you are. To me, it gives me the feeling that the race element isn't there, the advantages should either be removed (so that real roleplayers can select whatever race he likes to roleplay without thinking about disadvantages) or be non-specific (so that the race only slightly bends in that general direction the player wants to play). You never get the feeling you're growing since you gain levels so darn sloooooow, and there's almost no choices when rising in levels and the stats element is so weak, it just isn't fun. The D&D rules are obviously made for board playing where you have a single game you play for months and months, and this *isn't* the case with most games (unless you like playing games like Diablo with the same character over and over again in years.). The makers should play games like System Shock 2, Ultima Online, Ultima Underworld, which I personally think are very good examples of games with excellent RPG systems. Another bad thing about the D&D system... dices... most random elements is based on the single throw of a dice. This is a waste, computers are capable of doing extreme mathematical jobs, and combat is based on the throw of a dice??? For instance a game like Jagged Alliance 2 uses very advanced algorithms for calculating the trajectory of a bullet, as the end result the random element is very balanced. This is not the case in Baldur's Gate, you select an enemy and pray to god you hit. Okay, I'll stop with my bashing of the D&D system and actually go onto the game itself, the readers who like D&D system should just ignore this paragraph anyway.

The combat system is insanely simple, you can pause the action with spacebar, and you give limited orders to your characters. Basically almost in every fight you'll just want to click on your characters and click on the enemies and hope you win. There's little element of tactic or challenge... I hate the combat system. One thing which intrigued me at first in the game was the thief element, you go into houses at night and steal stuff... sadly, that element is weak, you essentially picklock the lock, go into and look into each drawer for anything worthwhile. There's no element of sneaking, or anything thief-like. I'm not sure how the element should be like, but anything else besides this anyway would do I guess. Anyway, after one breakin you're doomed to be bored with that.

The game takes 5 cds, and you feel like you're playing a game which is 15 years old when you needed to change diskette all the time... why? Why the heck did they do this? I'm not sure why it takes so many cds, there's not many cutscenes, there's not much spoken dialogue... the only logical solution is that every 2d background is stored like one gigantic bmp-alike file. Which would be simply stupid, since the backgrounds are simple and dull, and in that case why didn't they just go for a tilebased system? This is just a complete waste of space. And for those who don't have big enough harddrive to copy all the cds, be prepared to do a good deal of cd swapping.

The storyline is one big cliche and boring, there's little replayablity value since nothing is different the second time around, the sounds are nothing to brag about... the game is plainly dull.

The Bottom Line

The last line in my "bad" section sums it up nicely... dull, dull and dull. For those who like the D&D system and who like light RPGs with little to offer will perhaps like this game. Hardcore gamers should burn the game at sight. The funny thing is that the crappy engine has actually been used for one addon, two spinoff games, and even the sequel used the same engine, and they all use a massive amount of cds. A waste of space.