While many people still try to say PC gaming is dead or dying, and that games being developed for it are a waste of time. I like to tell those people that without PC gaming, there would be no consoles. I mean, let us be honest, all games are made on PC ( so to speak). With that weak ass defense in mind we have a new and improved version of a classic RPG that has certainly earned it's place in the Gaming Hall of Fame, Baulder's Gate 2. With a total of two expansions created for it, Baulder's Gate 2 Enhanced comes with new party members, the two expansions Shadows of Amn and Throne of Baal, even The Black Pots 2: Gladiators of Thay gameplay addition. Hell, you even get multiplayer with this game. The content is certainly there, but how does it hold up with the new age of gaming and should this game have stayed a classic? Well my feelings are certainly mixed and remaining objective was no easy task.
Kidnapped. Imprisoned. Tortured. The wizard Irenicus holds you captive in his stronghold, attempting to strip you of the powers that are your birthright. Can you resist the evil within you, forge a legend of heroic proportions, and ultimately destroy the dark essence that haunts your dreams? Or will you embrace your monstrous nature, carve a swath of destruction across the realms, and ascend to godhood as the new Lord of Murder? Storytelling at it's finest the game based off the tabletop D&D universe delivers on classic fantasy themes of saving the world from certain destruction while dealing with your own person choices and demons.
A large variety of gameplay tweaks have been made to make the game not only more accessible for newcomers, but also accessible for current generation hardcore PC gamers. This goes from autosaves to user interface changes that veterans of the series will notice right away. Beamdog certainly has done a good job making sure the game runs well at higher resolutions. The Black Pits addition is a glorified arena mode but it adds an extra level of challenge to the game for the people who have already bested the story mode. While these new additions are welcomed, they may not necessarily be worth it for people who already own the games on GOG.com. Since there, thegame has been consistently updated for the last 10 years. What makes this new enhanced version worth it? The four 100% new characters.
I will let you experience their stories and gameplay styles yourselves since that is half the fun, I will tell you that the game feels relatively new with Neera, Rasaad, Dorn and Hexxat. Baulder's Gate 2 offers a more indepth and class influenced ability system which allows the characters to play uniquely and unlike a few modern RPGs having every character blend together gameplay wise. I am looking at you Skyrim. Leveling up and collecting better and better weapons is always best done in the RPG format and in Baulder's Gate 2 you have to work for everything. In a day where games were difficult to enhance the replayabilty of a game the enhanced edition certainly does not disappoint.
Speaking in a manner of gameplay, it plays well if a bit glitchy due to the new platform from when it was first released, some quests become glitchy or the textures of newly loaded areas look out of place because it did not render correctly. While these are not in every version of the game, they do tend to appear. Beamdog is doing their best to patch the game as much as possible. By the time of writing this review, the problems are becoming less and less apparent. The visuals and audio improvements are some of the bigger selling points of Baulder's Gate 2 Enhanced. While I always try to mention that graphics never hurt a game, but never really make a game better, the new graphics of Baulder's Gate 2 are gorgeous. They really enhance the atmosphere of the storytelling.
The environmental design and level design are brilliant and make almost every western RPG released in the last 10 years look like rail shooters. The game revives a clever sense of game design from when developers didn't rely on brand name to sell a game. Despite the Baulder's Gate name being well known in the PC community it is not a name that will come to mind when newer PC gamers are listing off their favorites. The graphics look updated, but the game still feels rather old, which may be the downside if a veteran is playing the new version.
There is literally hundreds of hour worth of content in Baulder's Gate 2, from the story to the extra side quests the core game and its expansions reminded me of the old days of the RPG where everything wasn't handed to you on a silver platter. The story is the best part about this franchise because so much time was taken to create new and old lores for a massive universe that is Dungeons and Dragons. This is a game that still feels dated despite the updated audio and visual upgrades. Barring a few glitches, this is one of the best RPGs I have played. This enhanced version is the best way to play to date. I give Baulder's Gate 2 Enhanced Edition a 9/10.