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Baldur’s Gate series playthrough

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A little while ago, I posted in The Witcher 3 thread that I had decided to finally invest some serious time into all those RPGs in my backlog. I wanted to take notes, print out maps, and give a lot of thought into the decisions I would make while playing. It’s funny how my mind works sometimes, though. I started playing The Witcher, then felt like going back to the game that apparently inspired it, Neverwinter Nights, only to be drawn by the early Infinity Engine games shortly after.

As it turns out, I’m currently playing this for the first time:

I chose the Enhanced Edition re-release of 2012 because I didn’t want to mess up with mods (and won’t pretend to understand how they work). It’s pretty interesting for me, really. I’m surprised by how fun and well written the conversations are, how involved the plot is (of course to some degree) and how open the Sword Coast is. After getting through the first few mandatory quests and plot setups, the game lets you wander pretty much anywhere on the map and unlock half a million side quests. This is sick!

I’m currently at Chapter Four and have postponed the main storyline to explore all this stuff. I’ve been doing just that for seven hours; exploring the wilderness, meeting strange people and collecting an insane volume of gems and sparkling stones. The Dungeons & Dragons rules are not as complicated as I thought originally. But then again, I was much younger when I tried to play this when it came out. I used to think it was ridiculously hard. Either I’ve become smarter or this new edition was toned down a bit. Or both. Smile

So I was curious to know if anyone around here has played it recently and what you think of it. Obviously, this is an old classic that many, many people have played already but I like this forum and thought I’d ask. Smile

Jade

     
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For personal reasons, I missed a lot of the games that were released in the late 90s, and while I played what I had missed adventurewise during the noughties, I never fully did RPG-wise. And so I only started BG1 a year or so ago. I played it all the way up to the start of chapter V (when you’ve explored all the countryside and enter the city of Baldur’s Gate); then external circumstances made me stop playing, and I have yet to get back to it.

I guess it was OK. But the fact that I haven’t gone back to it, despite being very much in an RPG mood at the moment, tells me that I can’t have liked it all that much. I think it’s mostly the D&D system. I hate, hate, hate that thing. I’m sure it’s great for tabletop play; but in a computer game, its mechanics are idiotic and unimmersive as it gets. Combat is tedious as fuck (and BG1 has an awful lot of it). And I can’t stand how the system constantly punishes you for not being already familiar with it and its twelve million quirks.

Planescape: Torment was fantastic, but that was despite the D&D system—and it was never as weak as when it put it front and centre, i.e. when there was a lot of combat (ugh, Curst). What made PS:T great was the world, the story, the characters. Unfortunately, BG1 didn’t wow me in those departments: the world was generic fantasy, the story mostly involved running around maps killing stuff, with a vague conspiracy somewhere in the background, and Minsc is the only character I can remember.

I’ll get back to BG1 one day, especially because I want to see what the fuss about BG2 is all about. But—I thought I’d do that after playing Pillars of Eternity, but then GOG released Galaxy and I reinstalled Betrayal at Krondor to test it and I ended up replaying that. I wanted to replay BG1 after that, but I somehow found myself wanting to see how Might & Magic VII had stood the test of time instead. And then the Fallout 4 news made me want to see how Morrowind looks like with all the new graphics mods, and so now I’m playing that.

I’m sure one day I’ll run out of excuses and get back to BG1. But clearly it didn’t wow me enough to make me excited about doing that.

     

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Kurufinwe - 24 June 2015 05:39 AM

For personal reasons, I missed a lot of the games that were released in the late 90s, and while I played what I had missed adventurewise during the noughties, I never fully did RPG-wise. And so I only started BG1 a year or so ago. I played it all the way up to the start of chapter V (when you’ve explored all the countryside and enter the city of Baldur’s Gate); then external circumstances made me stop playing, and I have yet to get back to it.

...

I’m sure one day I’ll run out of excuses and get back to BG1. But clearly it didn’t wow me enough to make me excited about doing that.

You’re halfway there if you still have to enter Baldur’s Gate. Tongue

The prize lies at the end, though. Baldur’s Gate 2 is one of the best RPGs ever made, and is miles ahead of BG1.


I first played these about 6 years ago. I used mods to play BG1 with BG2’s graphics and HUD, and to get some in-game changes that I considered important (like no more enemy respawns in maps I’ve cleared).
The “trilogy” (BG1+2+expansion packs) was an amazing journey that only got better as it went further along.
There’s a reason I consider BG2 to be top-tier. Cool

     

Now playing: Blade Runner (post-CPT) | The Witcher: Enhance Edition (on hold) | Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc (on hold) | Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy (3DS)
Recently finished: Whispers of a Machine (CPT) - 4/5 | Beneath a Steel Sky (CPT) - 3/5 | 3 in Three - 3.5/5 | Puzzle Gallery: At the Carnival - 2.5/5 | The Fool’s Errand (replay) - 3.5/5 | The Dig (replay) - 4.5/5 | Return of the Obra Dinn (CPT) - 4/5 | Beavis and Butt-Head in Virtual Stupidity - 3.5/5 | League of Light: The Game (CCPT) - 3/5 | realMyst: Masterpiece Edition - 2.5/5 | Contradiction - 3/5 | Tex Murphy: Mean Streets - 2/5 | The Last Express - 3.5/5 | South Park: The Fractured But Whole - 4/5 | Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis (replay, CPT) - 5/5

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Thanks for the detailed reply, Kurufinwe. I can really relate to what you’re saying here, albeit in a slightly different way. I usually play adventure games and shooters as they come out, but RPGs have always remained unplayed and tossed in my backlog, despite being excited to play them and even pre-ordering them. I think it’s because they’re simply too long and require a serious amount of involvement and dedication; finding the proper amount of time for that isn’t always obvious. Sometimes I wonder if RPGs might not be the most unplayed genre there is—lots of people buy them but how many actually completes them?

As for the D&D system, I agree it’s overly complicated. The Infinity Engine games also fail miserably at explaining the nuances and intricaties of D&D to the player. But I find the interface—and the handy journal and map annotation features in particular—largely compensates for any design faults tied to the core rules and restrictions. Ultimately though, I think we’re better off without D&D, and I’m only enjoying it now because of its nostalgic and historical values.

Timothy, you know it’s interesting because for me the whole point of going through the first game is that I’ll finally be able to experience what is considered by many, yourself included, to be the most influential RPG ever made. So I can’t wait! Smile

     
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Baldur’s Gate was a great game, but Baldur’s Gate 2 was superior in every aspect and I consider it one of the best RPGs ever made. Excellent storyline, memorable characters, dramatic and humorous lines of the hughest quality and of course an extremely staple gampeplay combat system that stands up to this day. Had a well made expansion too.

     
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Sefir, that’s another nice comment about Baldur’s Gate II; makes me want to be done with the first game sooner rather than later!

Speaking of which, I think I’m going to stick with the main storyline from this point onward. This week, I didn’t have as much time to play as I had hoped, and frankly, all this wandering around doing side quests has bored me a little. I mean, I praise the game for giving you that freedom, and yet it drags the pace down way too much for my liking at the moment. Or perhaps I was just tired these last few days.

I’ve also altered the thread title by adding the word “series.” I’m planning to get through the whole thing after all. Smile

     
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Jade - 26 June 2015 01:15 AM

I’m planning to get through the whole thing after all. Smile

Took me over 200 hours. Wink

     

Now playing: Blade Runner (post-CPT) | The Witcher: Enhance Edition (on hold) | Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc (on hold) | Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy (3DS)
Recently finished: Whispers of a Machine (CPT) - 4/5 | Beneath a Steel Sky (CPT) - 3/5 | 3 in Three - 3.5/5 | Puzzle Gallery: At the Carnival - 2.5/5 | The Fool’s Errand (replay) - 3.5/5 | The Dig (replay) - 4.5/5 | Return of the Obra Dinn (CPT) - 4/5 | Beavis and Butt-Head in Virtual Stupidity - 3.5/5 | League of Light: The Game (CCPT) - 3/5 | realMyst: Masterpiece Edition - 2.5/5 | Contradiction - 3/5 | Tex Murphy: Mean Streets - 2/5 | The Last Express - 3.5/5 | South Park: The Fractured But Whole - 4/5 | Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis (replay, CPT) - 5/5

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Heavens! That is way more than I can spare. I’ve budgeted (yes, budgeted!) a total amount of 100 hours for the whole series. I hope I’ll succeed because I’m far from being a speed runner—quite the extreme opposite in fact. I tend to smell the flowers, explore another area, then come back to where I was and smell the same flowers again.

But isn’t it the only way to go about it?

     
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Jade - 26 June 2015 11:35 AM

But isn’t it the only way to go about it?

It’s how you get the most out of it, imo. Take it slow, try to do ALL the side quests. It’ll make Boo happy. Wink

     

Now playing: Blade Runner (post-CPT) | The Witcher: Enhance Edition (on hold) | Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc (on hold) | Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy (3DS)
Recently finished: Whispers of a Machine (CPT) - 4/5 | Beneath a Steel Sky (CPT) - 3/5 | 3 in Three - 3.5/5 | Puzzle Gallery: At the Carnival - 2.5/5 | The Fool’s Errand (replay) - 3.5/5 | The Dig (replay) - 4.5/5 | Return of the Obra Dinn (CPT) - 4/5 | Beavis and Butt-Head in Virtual Stupidity - 3.5/5 | League of Light: The Game (CCPT) - 3/5 | realMyst: Masterpiece Edition - 2.5/5 | Contradiction - 3/5 | Tex Murphy: Mean Streets - 2/5 | The Last Express - 3.5/5 | South Park: The Fractured But Whole - 4/5 | Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis (replay, CPT) - 5/5

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TimovieMan - 26 June 2015 04:14 PM

It’s how you get the most out of it, imo. Take it slow, try to do ALL the side quests. It’ll make Boo happy. Wink

lol! Alright, then. I’ll try to proceed as planned, though I can’t promise anything. Wink

     
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Great thread, I played played Barldur’s Gate lots of hours and I don’t think I ever finished the first one, but just cruising around exploring and talking with the companions was great.
I liked the combat system and I’m not familiar with D&D at all, made the combat feel a lot more strategic and not just blowing through all the enemies.
The second BG really is better than the first, just talking about it makes me want to start playing it again…

     
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Thanks wilco, I’m glad you like the thread. Smile

Three milestones tonight: I’ve hit the 30-hour mark, reached Chapter Five and have finally arrived at the eponymous city of Baldur’s Gate! I had a lot of fun during this session—recent progress have re-sparked my interest in the game. I must admit I have a rather strange relationship with Baldur’s Gate and RPGs in general; I’ve started it so many times but never went beyond Beregost or the Nashkel mines, my interest reliably shifting to something else every time. And yet my mind always wandered back to it and I kept thinking how impatient I had been on the last attempt. I’m glad I’ve had the will to keep my motivation going this time, even when the neverending exploration and side quests of Chapter Four discouraged me a little.

I think my favorite part of the story is the dialog, it’s written so well and I actually enjoy the lack of voice-overs. I find myself giving a specific voice to each character in my head, similar to what I do—and many people too I’m sure—when reading a comic book. I’m also liking the classic Infinity Engine chapter intros and their scrolling text and narration, and feel they add a lot to what is otherwise a rather simple plot, or so it is so far.

Alright, that’s it for this entry. Oh, as a final note, I’ve changed the host for the screenshots and in doing so, two of them were lost and replaced. But on the bright side, all screenshots will now be hyperlinked to the bigger versions, which might come in handy should I want to showcase a text excerpt or something like that.

And I’m… zzz… off to… b… zzzzzzzz.

     

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