Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition Twitter Commentary, Part 9
By Dwip January 19, 2013, 9:58 pm Comments (1) RSS Feed for this post

This is part 9 of my expanded Twitter commentary on Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition. You can find the master list of all parts here.

If you’re just tuning in, there are spoilers below the fold. Go play the game, then come back here.

My frustrations with Safana are by now well documented and I won’t continue to bore you with them. Far back I realized I wanted a new thief, and I’ve never actually bothered to use Alora, so I decided what the hell.

She’s not actually that bad, though her 100% in pick pockets isn’t wonderful. She and Imoen played well off of each other as a scout/trapfinder team until Alora got enough levels to take over all of the scouting duties on the team.

Her voices got kind of annoying after a while, but unlike Safana she was pretty amusing. And actually contributed to the team in combat. Overall I’d say I liked her, though the Baldur’s Gate part was unfortunate.

So, maybe you’re like me, and you like to walk into random houses in games just to see who you’ll meet. Most times, it’s commoners. Sometimes, you wind up with a quest.

Sometimes, you suddenly find yourself involved in a fight with 5 ogre mages.

That was somewhat surprising.

Kagain was sort of funny to use. Until you get him the gauntlets of dexterity and a low AC, he’s extremely mediocre. Get him that low AC and he’s suddenly a monstrous killer of men all over the Sword Coast. Ultimately, he was in close competition with my main character for most effective party member in combat.

Being evil, though, he requires a certain amount of accomodation, which among other things meant keeping a neutral reputation, and every so often nipping into somebody’s house and murdering them in cold blood to get that -7 reputation hit. I wish there was a better way to not have to game the system here, but it worked out.

One of the problems with splitting up Baldur’s Gate city into 9 maps, besides it looking pretty chopped up and not nearly as cool as a huge map would be, is that the links between maps essentially make no sense. There are a lot of times, and the NE map jumps to mind here, where fast traveling from one side of the city to the other puts you in a completely illogical position, and you’re better off traveling to the map next to it and walking in. You end up making a lot of accomodations for that inner wall.

The sewer exits, of course, make absolutely no sense whatsoever, and trying to figure it out is a sure path to insanity.

I always kind of liked this movie, and thought it gave a nice intro to the tower, and helped make Durlag’s feel important. The lack of it in BG:EE was a slight letdown.

What I didn’t miss was this:

The sunrise/sunset movies honestly just got in the way and were intensely annoying every time I was walking around town and SUDDENLY MOVIE. Don’t miss them at all in BG:EE.

Before Imoen got her thief abilities back, I had her using a sling. One of the virtues of slings is that you almost never run out of ammo, and so I kind of put off getting Imoen a melee weapon. Once she got her bow back, however, it seemed like she was forever embracing her inner monk and trying to punch guys to death. Buying a +1 shortsword isn’t all that hard (you can pick one up in Beregost or Baldur’s Gate for cheap), but I kept forgetting every time I was in town, until I finally picked one up at random from a loot drop in Durlag’s Tower.

It’s sort of like whoever wrote Alora tried as hard as they could to make her a reference for absolutely everything, most of it 30 years old. I’m not sure if all of her lines we pop culture references, and I’m sure there were a couple that went over my head, but a good chunk of them were.

This was pretty amusing, until I heard “Come on people now” for the 394th time.

It really is interesting to me how well I remembered trap placement in Durlag’s Tower especially, but also pretty much from here until the end of the game. Even in rooms I didn’t even remember existing or where I didn’t remember monsters, I remembered all the traps. Apparently they made an impression.

In our pencil and paper D&D games we call this sort of thing Standard Door Opening Procedure, and do it with a couple of flourishes. And there really is an art to it when done in an old school dungeon like Durlag’s Tower. In Dragon Age 2 I’d just walk in the door, but here it pays to be methodical, and it really pays to make sure you’re not frontlining the dopplegangers in the next room with your mage.

In which I take a break from Durlag’s Tower after the first dungeon level to go finish off the werewolf island.

And look, I’ll just come out and say it – Dragon Age: Origins did a way better “conflict involving werewolves” questline. It’s not that the ideas on werewolf island are altogether bad, it’s that they don’t gel together in interesting ways. Unlike DA:O, where you get to make some choices about how you’re going to deal with the werewolves, Baldur’s Gate pretty much makes you kill everyone. And honestly, the story I wrote in my head where the werewolves all sailed back with me and we were all cool with each other is probably a more interesting story than the one I actually got.

Too, the writing feels pretty off, and I don’t much sound like I do in the rest of the game, never mind the extreme railroading.

On the other hand, Dradeel.

Also, lest I beat too hard on the new writers about lore, cannons are pretty damn new as of the 1360s DR. Balduran certainly wouldn’t have had any, and their appearance on the island is whack.

I think about stuff like this, yes.

Leaving aside the fact that Karoug apparently has a bug where he can endlessly regenerate at extreme speeds, leaving him invulnerable, he’s also immune to anything but +3 weapons, and ther are only a scant few weapons at that bonus: the Werebane dagger, Kiel’s cursed morningstar, the +3 sling, the +3 quarterstaff, the bastard sword +1, +3 vs. shapeshifters, maybe the Flame Tongue longsword, Xan’s Moonblade, Drizzt’s scimitars, the Short Sword of Backstabbing, the Sword of Balduran, the +3 two handed sword (and the cursed berserking version), and seriously I hope you have a fighter with swords and knew before embarking on a lengthy questline that you were going to need a sword, because unless you for some unfathomable reason made a quarterstaff fighter you’re basically done.

This is abysmal game design, and it’s absolutely beyond me how anybody thought this was a good idea. They obviously recognized the potential because of the Werebane dagger, but there’s absolutely no way you’re going to be able to win with that thing.

This isn’t quite as bad as the part of Icewind Dale 2 that made me throw the whole game out, but make no mistake: the werewolf island is the single worst part of Baldur’s Gate 1, and has almost zero redeeming features. It’s ill-concieved, overly railroaded, low on any sort of reward, and frustrating at every step of the way.

You can’t even sell the weapons when you get back. No store will take them.


Computer Games - Baldur's Gate Series, Gamecraft Comments (1) Trackback URL for this post RSS Feed for this post
Comments on Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition Twitter Commentary, Part 9
avatar Comment by Samson #1
January 20, 2013 at 1:02 pm

I console killed him too after nothing we did, even WITH a +3 sword, made even the slightest bit of difference. Even as his minions lay dead at our feet.

There was one other fight I consoled my way out of, but you haven’t mentioned it yet, so…

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