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Default Baldur's Gate: EE impressions

December 3rd, 2012, 10:11
I assume that everyone who reads this has already played the original BG, so I'm not going to describe basic gameplay and what not.

I did not yet play all the new content, as I intend to play through BG1 three times in rapid succession where I try out some of it each time. There's a reason for that: The three new characters all come with a unique questline, but squishing them all into the same party would cause certain problems:
- Their alignments are completely off.
- They would create a somewhat poor party composition, or at the very least force you to use all six character slots to form a basic party.
- There seems to be bugs related to combining the new NPCs. I've read several threads over on the official forums where one or more of the new questlines simply stop, and I suspect it has to do with dialogue scenes appearing in the same place/time for the new NPCs.

Anyway, I brought along Rasaad (the monk) and will bring the wild mage the next time. I also tried out Dorn (blackguard) a bit just for the sake of it. So far, I really like both Dorn and Rasaad, and feel they fit very well in the setting. They also come with decent questlines, which is well worth doing. Not a big fan of the wild mage yet (I've already started my 2nd character), but that could change. She seems like a bad combination of Mission (KotOR) and Aerie (BG2).

My party this time around was fairly weak:
- Main char (Cleric/Mage multiclass)
- Imoen
- Rasaad
- Khalid
- Jaheira

I always go with 5 people as it's easier to cap XP that way. That hasn't really changed - the new quest areas do not reward enough additional XP to make a big impact on the amount of XP you get, and the XP cap has not been altered.

As you can probably see, the party above is.. well, rubbish to be honest. Still, I recommend changing the setting from "normal" to "core", which is always the setting I use in D&D games. It offers the true D&D rules.

At any rate, going with such a weak party is not recommended. Rasaad is one crap fighter. Monks generally get more powerful at level 12+, so in BG1 they're borderline useless. I hope (and assume) Rasaad will re-appear in the BG2: EE, because his character and story is more than interesting enough. He'll be more at home there. As it is, he can't even touch the toughest enemies in BG1, because they're all immune to normal weapons, and his fists don't get +1 until level 9. He *can* use a sword, but he'll be sitting at 1 attack per round which means he's hitting like a wet noodle.

Normally, this would not be an issue, but BG: EE is *not* BG1 + Tutu. They've not only added voices to a lot more NPCs and fixed the interface/resolution, they've also fixed a bunch of other issues that BG1 had. Examples: Summoning is now limited to 5 creatures, Drizzt is no longer easy to confuse so he'll pretty much tear your party apart in seconds and so on and so forth. Bottom line: BG: EE is actually harder than BG1.

From a technical point of view, it runs pretty smooth on all my PCs (tried on 3 out of 4), but I have heard of people experiencing various issues. I have experienced a few issues though that I really feel they should fix:
- Unresponsive mouse: From time to time, the mouse will act strangely. Sometimes it refuses to allow dragging to select the party. At other times it will require several clicks to actually perform the action you want the selected party member to perform.
- Journal: All in all it works out fairly well, but there's a whole bunch of quests that doesn't complete right, so you end up with a bloated journal that is hard to keep track of.
- Broken quests: I've only experienced one, the geas/curse quest in Baldur's Gate, but I know there are more. Most, if not all, seem related to the new characters. I suspect the geas quest is related to Rasaad and his quest.
- Put in an option to enable old movies: Some of the new cinematics are decent enough, and they do scale much better on higher resolutions, but a bit too many are simply missing. Also, if they're going with this style in BG2: EE they're going to have a serious problem, as the cinematics there are far more advanced.

And that's about it. Beyond that, it's overall a better experience than the original by quite a margin. Unlike BG Tutu, which grants it the rules of BG2, it now feels like it has the same polish and quality as BG2. It's a surprisingly big boost to be honest.

There are two things I have yet to try:
- The Black Pits: Is the only way to access this the main menu? If so, I'll have to give it a whirl later on.
- Import to BG2: I hope this feature works before BG2: EE is released, but I haven't tried it yet.

Anyway, what are your impressions? I assume many here are playing it by now, so it should be interesting to see if our opinions different and by how much.
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December 3rd, 2012, 13:46
Those quest bugs sound pretty serious. Developing on a complex rpg is one thing to pay for. I wonder if they had sufficient funds for a comprehensive QA…

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December 4th, 2012, 15:15
Originally Posted by ToddMcF2002 View Post
Those quest bugs sound pretty serious. Developing on a complex rpg is one thing to pay for. I wonder if they had sufficient funds for a comprehensive QA…
Indeed, there's a few serious show stoppers in there. I really hope they manage to fix those bugs fast, as it doesn't take more than one really bad experience to give people the impression that it's a poor game. Beyond those bugs it's excellent, but people aren't going to care about that if they come across something that's game breaking.

Also, I've played quite a bit more now, and I don't mind Neera anymore. She seems decent enough, and it's certainly interesting to finally have a wild mage NPC.
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December 4th, 2012, 15:31
I've only been able to play a few hours, but so far I like it. I haven't experienced any quest bugsx, but then I haven't gotten very far (nor picked up any of the new companions).

There are two things that are annoying me. The first is that while I LOVE the zoom feautre, I had that it zooms all the way back out when you enter a new area. It's particularly noticable when you enter a building and all of the sudden the playable area is about 15% of the screen. Not a deal breaker, but annoying.

The second is that unless I am misremembering it, the escape key used to allow you to exit cut screens, return to the game from inventory, map, etc. and it no longer seems to. Clicking during the cut scenes seems to get out of them, but that's not intuitive to me and I really don't like having to click (or use a keyboard shortcut) to get back to the game screen.

I haven't experienced any of the blurring issues I've seen reported, so overall, the GUI just looks so much crisper and appropriately sized compared with how it looked in vanilla BG or even BG:TuTu.

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December 4th, 2012, 15:32
Your take Maylander is definitely more positive than what I've been reading around the the internet on this game that's for sure.
So I hope they are able to quickly patch this game before it gets dragged down too much to recover.
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December 4th, 2012, 20:05
The Journal problems are annyoing but not deal breakers, I am sure a patch will fix those right up. The new NPCs are from pretty good; Dorn has pretty good stats and his dialogue is fun, he even interacts with the Wild mage. She is a novelty but since my own char is a Sorcerer she might be a bit rebundant and her Wild magic is simply not that necesary for me. The monk is just worthless which is a shame becauise his whole mystic deal seems to be pretty well developed but he is just dead weight during a fiight. I dont mind the new cutscenes at all but having the old ones as an option would be best.
The game has crashed on me several ocasions and to be brutal honest if the only thing that it had going was that having the code was going to make it much more responsive for the AI, bugfixing and overall stability then it is a failure.
I am having fun with it but then again it is Baldurīs Gate; not even Trentīs soul patch could ruin that
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December 4th, 2012, 21:05
Seems to be a problem with much reduced spawns, making the game a bit of a cakewalk.

http://forum.baldursgate.com/discuss…ck-of-monsters
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December 4th, 2012, 23:28
I tried Black Pit last night. I only got to play like an hour or so, but I liked it. It starts off piss easy (naturally, since your party members are level 1 and no equipment beyond basic weapons - no armor, just 1 weapon each) but then difficulty goes up pretty quick. I was starting to struggle a bit from 4th battle and that means there are still 11 more to go.

Once you win 1-2 battle, you are given money to buy equipment and you have to spend it very wisely. So far, I've received gold from mad drow twice and both were same amount. The thing is, as you level up, there are more things to buy but not enough gold which makes it quite challenging too. I like it a lot so far, but I'm not sure if there are any replay values to it. I don't think you can access this in main game - it seems entirely separate content.

Other than what Maylander mentioned already, I got only few things to add - I've experienced minor graphical glitches but nothing game breaking as of yet (but then again, I'm only up to friendly arm inn) and another thing that really piss me off is AI. Once my party members kills of enemy assigned to them, they stand around like retards until I give them another command which can be quite frustrating and annoying. I don't know if I remember this correctly, but in BG2, party members actively engaged in the battle even after the enemy assigned to them is killed off to aid another party member (although I'm not sure if that's the case for the original BG1).

I have met Dorn but he more or less told me to piss off and haven't met any other new NPCs yet. My planned party for this run is:

PC - Half-elf Figher/Cleric
Minsc
Jaheira
Imoen
Neera
Rasaad

So I'm in for quite weak party myself.

That's it from me so far!

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December 5th, 2012, 00:09
Originally Posted by coaster View Post
Seems to be a problem with much reduced spawns, making the game a bit of a cakewalk.

http://forum.baldursgate.com/discuss…ck-of-monsters
Seems to have been intentional.
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December 5th, 2012, 08:21
Originally Posted by azarhal View Post
Seems to have been intentional.
I really don't understand why?
To make it easier for casual players?

I wont play BG on Hardcore, but I don't want to breeze through it.
I'm sure none of the playerbase wanted them to nerf it.
Its supposed to be tactical combat even on normal.

I need a big patch before diving in with my money for this one.
Would be nice to play during Christmas vacation though.

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December 5th, 2012, 09:38
AI related issues:
Make sure you manually go to customize -> scripts on every NPC and set them to "standard attack". Before you do it, they'll have some really strange behavior. On standard attack, they'll be a bit too offensive for me, but at least it's better than running in despite being ranged or simply doing nothing at all.

Also, make sure the AI is turned on (button in the bottom right corner - it has always been an option iirc, but now it's activated with the "a" button, so it's easy to accidentally turn it off).
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December 5th, 2012, 11:27
Originally Posted by azarhal
Seems to have been intentional.
Originally Posted by Crilloan
I really don't understand why? To make it easier for casual players?
Yeah, probably so that people don't get chunked on the way from Candlekeep to the Friendly Arm by 10 bandits with bows. Hopefully modders will be able to adjust the spawn numbers (even better if there was a slider in the gameplay options, but I doubt this will happen).

Edit: new patch out, fix list:

Multiplayer connecting to non-host bug fixed
Fixed Right click map crash bug
Crash reporting has been improved
Dorn stuck in Kryll cutscene fixed
Fixed crash for OpenGL drivers that don't support compression
Fixed Neera dialogue problem with Edwin in party
Fixed Rasaad dialog loop
Fixed Dorn movement on early Kryll letter retrieval
Version # now displays on main screen
Added support for 'Program Options', 'Maximum Frame Rate'
Fixed function key assignment issues
Updates to English, French, German text
Improved Mouse Wheel support
Min/max damage correctly displays strength modification
Help tooltip says 'Help' instead of 'Rest'
Fix for Half-Orc Biography
Fixed Dorn looping dialogue problem
Fixed Neera and Rasaad item descriptions
Fixes Gallus in the Black pits proficiency selection
Added toggle for hardware mouse cursor
Disabled stairs in tutorial until Belt tells you to use them
Lothander / Rasaad bug fixed
Flaming Fist reputation loss bug fixed
Neera plot Thayan bodyguard XP fixed
Fixed party members attacking each other bug
Bastard sword strength requirement description updated to 11
Tranzig not using spells fixed
Fixed Neera is busy and won't rejoin party bug
Added autosave for Start of Black Pits
Last edited by coaster; December 5th, 2012 at 13:05.
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December 5th, 2012, 23:58
I've explored up the the Friendly Arm Inn now, and yeah.. it seems like there are a lot less enemies than I remember.

On the maps themselves, I've yet to encounter more than one monster at a time. I did encounter 2 half-ogres in a random encounter between maps, and that was the only battle I had to flee from so far. Other than that though, I've only had to battle lone gibberlings, xvarts, and wolves. It completely changes the dynamics of the early-game compared to the original.

If they felt the need to make such a drastic change, then they should have at least included the option to have the original encounter rate as well. As it stands now, I'm hugely disappointed by this, and I won't be doing a full playthrough until it's adjusted or until someone can mod it back.
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December 6th, 2012, 00:03
It's mainly present in the starting areas. It's hardly something you notice later on, as most tougher enemies are hand placed, and not affected by reducing the random spawns. It basically just means there's less kobolds to kill, not that the game overall is any easier. If anything, Sarevok is harder now than he was before, as is the Greater Werewolf in Balduran's ship. Drizzt is virtually invincible now, but I usually just help him in both BG1 and 2.

Also, the only tough random encounters BG ever had are 2x Wyvern and 4x Ethercap (randomly pop up when you travel in the Cloakwood Forest). They're still present.
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December 6th, 2012, 00:15
Well.. I'll have to disagree with you here. I really enjoyed some of the random encounters in BG, and I liked how they could be quite difficult when your party was still low level.

I don't like being able to waltz through the forest now without any fear of running into something that could actually be challenging. And yes, the game is quite easier, at least in the early-game which was always one of my favorite things about BG1.

It's an obvious attempt to make the game more accessible to the mainstream audience. I don't have a problem with that, but like I said, they should have included the option of having the original spawn rate for those who prefer it.

It's good to hear that they didn't nerf any of the boss encounters.
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December 6th, 2012, 02:20
yeah it's been mostly single opponents, although the half-orcs around the Friendly Arm Inn seem to have come in pairs.

So, is there a way to install it on another machine without completely redownloading everything? I don't mind the activation or whatever, but I'm looking to put in on my laptop and don't really feel like having to download the whole 1.8Gb again.

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December 6th, 2012, 05:24
maybe I can actually fire up a magic-user successfully on this "easier" version, lol

The early ambushes have always been one of the hardest parts of BG, one of the things that puts a lot of people off the game. I can see why they would go for the nerf.
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December 6th, 2012, 08:30
So, they made the best part of the game trivial now?

I was going to leave it alone, but that's just stupid. You don't market your opportunism as an homage and then do something like that.

I used to love how the early parts would kick your ass if you weren't careful, and how you slowly evolved from weaklings to a respectable party. In fact, it's one of the things I love about classic RPGs in general - in much the same way I love the Gothics.

Of course, I'm "elitist" and "sad" enough to actually enjoy a challenge now and then.

Not only is this EE an amateur hour bunch of code with half-assed UI changes and cutscenes (with some removed, even) - they've also decided to change some of the fundamentals?

Also, is it true that the added Arena content is separate from the main game? As in, you can't find it in the main campaign map? If so, that's just sad.

Yet, people who already own the BGs and have access to fully modded and upgraded versions gleefully handed over 20$ for this cash-grabbing travesty. Sigh….
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December 6th, 2012, 09:10
Originally Posted by blatantninja View Post
So, is there a way to install it on another machine without completely redownloading everything? I don't mind the activation or whatever, but I'm looking to put in on my laptop and don't really feel like having to download the whole 1.8Gb again.
Yes, I just copied over the game files from one to the other. It's no problem.

Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
I used to love how the early parts would kick your ass if you weren't careful, and how you slowly evolved from weaklings to a respectable party. In fact, it's one of the things I love about classic RPGs in general - in much the same way I love the Gothics.

Of course, I'm "elitist" and "sad" enough to actually enjoy a challenge now and then.
As I've already pointed out several times: The game is overall harder now, not easier. Get a grip.
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December 6th, 2012, 09:17
Whether or not the game is harder overall isn't the point. We're talking about a particular segment of the game that's been changed. You seem to be in denial.

I still like what they've done with BGEE in most other aspects, but changing the dynamics of the random encounters was not a wise decision imo.
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