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Baldur’s Gate 2 Enhanced Edition

The Bhaalspawn saga comes to an end in one of the most unforgiving and engrossing D&D games to date. Baldur’s Gate 2 is still in my top 5 games of all time, and one I still play every few years. It’s one of the few RPG’s that never held the players hand in the sense that you really had to think; planning your team, spells and positioning or a simple fight could end in disaster. Shadows of Amn and Throne of Bhaal together hold over 100+ hours of gameplay and with the Enhanced Edition we get new quests, companions, maps, items and the arena mini game.

 

The Enhanced Edition runs in wide screen with a more attractive user interface. We can hide the UI sidebars to keep the screen less cluttered which is a nice touch. Three of the new companions are from the first Enhanced Edition and the last new companion is a much needed thief in Shadows of Amn called Hexxat. They are all well voiced, and each have their own side quests which will get you some powerful items or much need gold early on in the game.

Neera (an elf wild mage) was an interesting character whom I took into my party early on, after I encountered her in the Bridge District. The other wild mages give some new quests from her story, but if you’re like me and complete them all in one go, you will find that, for story reasons, the quests become uncompletable, which is frustrating. But her story is quite enjoyable and she is a nice addition to the party.

Hexxat is very mysterious as we first meet her in the Copper Cornet, and I ended up really liking her. Let’s just say, she’s more than meets the eye, but certain parts of her story disappointed me for reasons that will become clear when you play the game. Hexxat’s quests are pretty simple with some nice experience, making them quick and enjoyable.

 

After playing through the entire game, there were a few bugs I came across; one wouldn’t allow me to exit buildings, attack or search boxes. A simple restart of the game fixes the problem, but it becomes annoying having to do it every few minutes. The only other big game-breaking bug was in Chapter 5 where a story problem occurred. Nothing I did to fix it helped, and in the end it was impossible for me to continue so I had to skip the remaining parts of the chapter, which was upsetting as I’ve always liked the particular part of the world where chapter 5 plays out.

 

The two enhanced editions were wonderful a great experience to replay, but I feel the new areas and companions don’t really change much of the original game. For Shadows of Amn and the rushed Throne of Bhaal, I would have liked to see some of the original quests that were removed. To get some of the cut content we have to download the mods Unfinished Business and Ascension but that’s for another personal play through.
Overhaul Games could have really made this game their own by giving us content that was meant to be included rather than adding their own content.

Verdict:

All in all, Overhaul did a great job as there where no crashes and just a few bugs that didn’t ruin the overall experience, and it was a joy to replay this classic for about the 10th time. I do believe the Enhanced Editions are worth the price but I wish the developers had done a little bit extra to fill the areas that Baldurs Gate 2 missed. An example would be the strongholds – once you complete the quest chain they become pointless. My only regret is not taking one of the new characters with me into Throne of Bhaal to see what their epilogues were, but that leaves something to do on another playthrough. The new content doesn’t add much too the original, but it is nice to have. I am glad to re-experience this game for the nostalgia and many fond memories from over the years. Overall, it was a very enjoyable experience, and if they decide to do enchanced editions of more games, i hope they consider Icewind Dale and  Planescape: Torment (my personal favourite), but until such a time, you will not be disapointed playing Baldur’s Gate 2 Enhanced Edition.

Sean McMahon

A gamer who enjoyed the golden years of gaming with Sega & Nintendo, I have mostly moved onto PC games from replaying older games or MMO's.

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