Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition Review (PC, Xbox, PS4, Switch)

Click here to visit the Baldur’s Gate Enhanced Edition (PC, Xbox, PS4, Switch) description page for more information.

Baldur’s Gate Enhanced Edition (PC) Review

~by Manhalt (October 2022)

Trailer: Baldur’s Gate Enhanced Edition

Introduction

Baldur’s Gate Enhanced Edition is a remaster of Bioware’s Baldur’s Gate. It was Bioware’s second game and what really made them stand out as a developer. They would continue to put out great games until they were eventually sold off to Electronic Arts where they just haven’t been themselves since. Baldur’s Gate was an attempt to truly build a game around Advanced Dungeons and Dragons 2nd edition. If you aren’t familiar with the ruleset and go into this game, you will easily be frustrated because the game does not hold your hand to teach for better or worse.

Gameplay

I’ve mentioned in the introduction about the game’s mechanics being based on the 2nd edition of Advanced Dungeons and Dragons for better or worse. If you never played D&D before, then you might not understand the underlying rules in the mechanics. This can very well put you in a horrible position early in the game. I’ve played the 2nd edition before, but it has been so long and I’ve played other editions that I forgot how unforgivable some of the rules can be towards players. I started out as a conjuration mage and I would summon a familiar and use it to attack, but at some point I realized my constitution was in the red and was slowly decreasing the longer I played and I had no idea why. After some Google-fu, I learned that the familiar dying causes your constitution to take a permanent -1 penalty. 

The game doesn’t go out of its way to tell you any of this and doesn’t give the player a simple way to view what current penalties are on the player character. I had to download a character editor to see all the penalties on my character and I think I had a -5 from my familiar dying. What I described above is the worst part of using the ruleset because if you aren’t familiar with it, you will be at a disadvantage and usually I’m against using any kind of guides on my first playthrough, but that was not true with this game.

It is a CRPG at its core and I enjoyed it for that. I feel like the mechanics are dated and need to be updated, but I knew going into it that it would feel dated. I did find myself being “cheap” when attacking enemies or going through dungeons. My favorite tactic would be to cast invisibility and find a group of enemies and cast fireball just out of their visual range. I would slowly wipe out enemies and clean up the rest with my party. I also found myself camping a lot to keep my health around max, because enemies hit so hard so you could find yourself with a dead couple of party members fairly fast early in the game.

Gameplay Grade: B

Visuals

The remaster helps smooth out some of the pixels of the original graphics of Baldur’s Gate, but it still feels like a RPG from 1998. If you are hoping it feels like a newer game then you will be disappointed. Beamdog touched it up and I still enjoy the D&D aesthetic and the world it paints. It fits the game and what it is trying to do, but doesn’t necessarily stand out.

Visual Grade: B

Story (Spoilers)

You have to leave where you grew up, because your father deems it so but you are not sure why. He tells you to get ready for adventure and before you know it, you head out. Before you make it far, you run into a couple of bandits, your father tells you to run and meet friends of his in a town close by. You persist on staying but he promises to meet you there. This is the opening to the game and you soon find out that you are special; you don’t know why but you will find out!

I’ll say the story is decent to get you moving for your adventure, but where the game really shines are the characters you add to your party. Each character feels like they have a past and are alive in this world. I had several interactions that I enjoyed with the companions, especially a Drow Wizard who fell out of the sky. The storyline of the Wild Mage was also a good one. She was being chased by a group who wanted to use her powers for themselves, but even though that premise is a trope, it was done well. I think my favorite interaction was with a Dwarf Fighter who joined my party so I could help him with his own quest. His supplies for his store were lost to bandits on the road and wanted help investigating. I completely forgot about the side quest and kept working towards the main story, he eventually got fed up with me not helping and just left the party in anger. 

Story Grade: A

Overall Grade: B+

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