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-   -   Rediscovering Baldur's Gate (http://www.rpgwatch.com/forums/showthread.php?t=20317)

crpgnut May 8th, 2013 15:37

Rediscovering Baldur's Gate
 
When Baldur's Gate came out in '98, I was one of the eager throngs waiting in line for a copy. Yes children, games use to come out on CD's, just like music and you had to go to the store to get them! Installing the game reminded me of the C64 days of yore, as it came on 5 CDs. I vaguely remember enjoying myself, but was overwhelmed with the size of the actual city of Baldur's Gate.

Flash forward 15 years and a week ago, and I installed the game anew for another trip to the Forgotten Realms. I'm only in the 2nd chapter, but there are several nice touches in this great oldie and also several things that make you glad that technology has advanced.

"They don't build them like they used to"

1. One of the most wonderful things about Baldur's Gate is that, compared to today's games, magical loot is rare. You won't find bandits wearing Daedric in BG, they're lucky to have leather. Weapons are almost always cheap short swords with nary a +1 in sight.

2. Hand holding is for normal people, not geeks. If you're not very careful in BG, you will die. I'm not super careful and I die, alot! If you're facing against people instead of creatures, you better take care or your hand will be reaching for the sky for the final time; until reload.

3. Dungeons are rare. You'll spend much more time outdoors than creeping around dungeons. This is only logical. How many ruined places are actually safe enough to handle habitation? Most of the early game will have you traveling outdoors seeking bandits, marauding creatures, missing husbands, etc. Dungeons are saved for the major questlines, making them special.

"Thank Mystra for technology"

1. Walking speed and emptiness are major stumbling blocks to enjoying this game fully. BG is full of maps that have 1-5 encounters with the rest of the map being totally empty of anything to do. Uncovering the fog of war is a necessary evil if you want to maximize xp, but it is a chore, not a joy.

2. Boy have UI's come a long way. The main viewing area of BG is about 1/2 of your screen real estate. The rest of the game is this huge clunky UI that always gets in the way and serves very little purpose. I have not played BG EE or even the Tutu versions of BG, but the vanilla game offered on Gog. Not sure if the other versions addressed the UI.

3. "Go for my eyes, Boo, go for my eyes". BG has aged very well graphically, but I still squint at my characters trying to see what they have equipped. Your party's avatars are very small, as is all the creatures you face. Technology has greatly improved even tile graphics, and it is the most sorely missed piece in the game. I have high hopes that the enhanced edition has improvements in this area.

Conclusion

I'm in chapter two, having finished as many sidequests as I could before tackling my first dungeon, the Nashkel mines. I have 3 rolled characters (paladin, mage, thief), Kivan, Imoen, and Branwen in my party. I hate party members that require other party members, so I left Minsc and Dynaheir in Nashkel and Jaheira and Khalid in Beregost. Imoen will go by the wayside when I find another fighter.

PetrusOctavianus May 8th, 2013 15:43

Personally I wouldn't dream of replaying Baldur's Gate wihout TuTu or BGT, Widescreen Mod, BG1 NPC Project and Sword Coast Stratagems.

GothicGothicness May 8th, 2013 16:17

Quote:

Originally Posted by crpgnut (Post 1061197017)

3. "Go for my eyes, Boo, go for my eyes". BG has aged very well graphically, but I still squint at my characters trying to see what they have equipped. Your party's avatars are very small, as is all the creatures you face. Technology has greatly improved even tile graphics, and it is the most sorely missed piece in the game. I have high hopes that the enhanced edition has improvements in this area.

BG has aged very well graphically ? Do you mean to say because the graphics was outdated even when it was released, it doesn't appear that much more outdated today?

crpgnut May 8th, 2013 17:26

Quote:

Originally Posted by GothicGothicness (Post 1061197029)
BG has aged very well graphically ? Do you mean to say because the graphics was outdated even when it was released, it doesn't appear that much more outdated today?

Basically, yes. Baldur's Gate doesn't look that much worse than it did on release. It is still better than Jeff Vogel's stuff, which is brand new.

crpgnut May 8th, 2013 17:28

Quote:

Originally Posted by PetrusOctavianus (Post 1061197021)
Personally I wouldn't dream of replaying Baldur's Gate wihout TuTu or BGT, Widescreen Mod, BG1 NPC Project and Sword Coast Stratagems.

Since I never finished it the first time, I wanted it unmodded. The NPC Project might be something I'd be very interested in on another playthrough.

PetrusOctavianus May 8th, 2013 18:58

Quote:

Originally Posted by crpgnut (Post 1061197036)
Since I never finished it the first time, I wanted it unmodded. The NPC Project might be something I'd be very interested in on another playthrough.

You should at least use the Widescreen mod to play on higher resolutions. As you noted the play window is very small in vanilla BG1. 1200X800 or therabouts should play much better without overdoing things (on the highest resolution you can hardly make out your characters or the text). Not only does it play better (IMO) but it also looks much crisper and less pixelated.

BillSeurer May 8th, 2013 20:17

"You won't find bandits wearing Daedric in BG, they're lucky to have leather. Weapons are almost always cheap short swords with nary a +1 in sight."

Only at the very start. Eventually you end up with Kobolds having tons of magic arrows and etc.

redman5427 May 8th, 2013 21:40

Quote:

When Baldur's Gate came out in '98, I was one of the eager throngs waiting in line for a copy. Yes children, games use to come out on CD's, just like music and you had to go to the store to get them! Installing the game reminded me of the C64 days of yore, as it came on 5 CDs.
Those were the good old days of gaming. I remember flipping that box up and down in a game store trying to decide between that and the new Krondor game. Baldurs gate won out because of the "weight test" but I still own both of them now. Back then, game store employees actually played pc games and could tell you all about them. I still have the box,disks,manuals,maps and strategy guide for it.

JDR13 May 9th, 2013 02:45

Quote:

Originally Posted by BillSeurer (Post 1061197054)
"You won't find bandits wearing Daedric in BG, they're lucky to have leather. Weapons are almost always cheap short swords with nary a +1 in sight."

Only at the very start. Eventually you end up with Kobolds having tons of magic arrows and etc.

I never felt like I had a lot of powerful weapons and armor in BG1. Yes, you can stock up on fire arrows by farming Kobold commandos, but anything stonger than +1 in melee weapons is a rare find. BG2 is a completely different beast in that aspect.


Quote:

Originally Posted by redman5427 (Post 1061197059)
I still have the box,disks,manuals,maps and strategy guide for it.

Same here. I got rid of a lot of my boxed games in recent years, but I kept anything that had to do with D&D. I still have all the BGs, IWDs, PST, etc., with everything that originally came with them. I also collected all of the official strategy guides for them in recent years. Nerd cred!

ToddMcF2002 May 9th, 2013 03:03

I loved BG but I find myself disagreeing with alot of your commentary. I like the walking speed and exploring the beautiful hand crafted landscape. You prefer tile graphics??? WHAAAAAA???? I also like the fog of war and revealing it all section by section. Love the dialog and voice acting.

The UI I totally agree with you. Like the others I cannot fathom playing without the high resolution mods. The pixel art is drop dead beautiful in high resolution (caveat - not so easy to play on a small screen)…

xSamhainx May 9th, 2013 04:00

Call me crazy, call me stupid, but I prefer BG over Baldur's gate 2 graphics any day. In fact i prefer the game entirely over bg2. It's a masterpiece and will always be my first true CRPg love :date:

I consider anyone who hasn't completed BG to be lacking true geek cred. Just sayin

Arhu May 9th, 2013 11:21

Quote:

Originally Posted by crpgnut (Post 1061197017)
1. One of the most wonderful things about Baldur's Gate is that, compared to today's games, magical loot is rare. You won't find bandits wearing Daedric in BG, they're lucky to have leather. Weapons are almost always cheap short swords with nary a +1 in sight.

Uhm.. ;) Funny, because that's what I thought about BG — and D&D in general — compared to Realms of Arkania, which I was coming from. Getting more powerful weapons mostly meant higher quality or different types. Gods could bless weapons after lots of prostrating so at least the swords wouldn't break all the time, for gods' sake. And even those CRPGs were loaded with magic compared to the Dark Eye world, which it was based on. BG had magic galore.

Of course, compared to today's games … no comment.

wolfgrimdark May 9th, 2013 13:35

I think I prefer leaving my nostalgic memories in tact. I own the complete box set with all expansions - only game I have ever saved. I don't normally revisit games unless I am mind-numbingly bored and desperate … and that hasn't happened yet as there are always other things to do and play. I play the crap out of them and then retire them. I may return if an excellent DLC comes out very late, or expansion, but any good game that I like enough to get DLC means I am usually still playing when all the DLC does come out.

So I think I much prefer all my wonderful memories of BG as is without playing now and end up comparing them to modern games.

ToddMcF2002 May 9th, 2013 13:39

I quit about 25% through BG2 after a full BG run. I have to revisit it and this thread is motivating…

crpgnut May 9th, 2013 15:22

I was mildly disappointed with the Nashkel Mines, but it was my own fault. I had done as much stuff before the mines as possible, so I had 6 level 4 characters to fight kobolds. My tank Paladin was one-hit gibbeting them and could have done the whole dungeon solo. He has a -5 AC and is basically unhittable except on a natural 20 roll. I had much more trouble with the Ulcaster Ruins. Twice my pally ate a fireball in that dungeon and Branwen was bitching about healing the goody two shoes :)

crpgnut May 9th, 2013 15:28

Quote:

Originally Posted by PetrusOctavianus (Post 1061197046)
You should at least use the Widescreen mod to play on higher resolutions. As you noted the play window is very small in vanilla BG1. 1200X800 or therabouts should play much better without overdoing things (on the highest resolution you can hardly make out your characters or the text). Not only does it play better (IMO) but it also looks much crisper and less pixelated.

I'm playing at 1680X1050 resolution. The gog version allows that and everything is sized correctly. I guess that mod might be integrated.

blatantninja May 9th, 2013 15:53

I always felt that BG (and BG2) represented the height of 3-DIso graphics. It just wasn't going to get much better than that without going a real 3-D at high polygons.

I loved the openness of the IE games. I'm a 'level clearer'. I will explore every nook and crany on each map just to make sure I didn't miss anything. That said, now that this is probably my 20th play through of BG (I played it through 3 times straight when I first got it!), I do find level clearing a bit tedious. But that's on me, not on BG.

The only thing I never liked about BG was the lack of dungeons. Yes, Durlag's tower is excellent, but I didn't have Tales on my first two play throughs. The mines are ok, but not real dungeons. They more than made up for that in BG2 though.

crpgnut May 9th, 2013 16:58

I never got very far with BG2. I hated the idea of contingencies and counterspells. It seemed mages never got anywhere in BG2 because every spell was countered. I'm not sure I got out of the first dungeon.

PetrusOctavianus May 9th, 2013 18:41

Quote:

Originally Posted by wolfgrimdark (Post 1061197188)
I think I prefer leaving my nostalgic memories in tact. I own the complete box set with all expansions - only game I have ever saved. I don't normally revisit games unless I am mind-numbingly bored and desperate and that hasn't happened yet as there are always other things to do and play. I play the crap out of them and then retire them. I may return if an excellent DLC comes out very late, or expansion, but any good game that I like enough to get DLC means I am usually still playing when all the DLC does come out.

So I think I much prefer all my wonderful memories of BG as is without playing now and end up comparing them to modern games.

Personally I thought BG was nothing special the first time I played it. But when I add TuTu, Widescreen Mod, BG1 NPC Project, Unfinished Business and last but by no means least Sword Coast Strategems to the mix, it's definitely one of my favourite games.

blatantninja May 9th, 2013 18:51

Quote:

Originally Posted by crpgnut (Post 1061197236)
I never got very far with BG2. I hated the idea of contingencies and counterspells. It seemed mages never got anywhere in BG2 because every spell was countered. I'm not sure I got out of the first dungeon.

That's strange. I've played a mage several times through and did very well in combat (and I'm not very good at combat!)


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