Baldur's Gate Series

Few can argue the impact the Baldur's Gate series had on the PC RPG genre. In a time where the market was suffering from a slump, I first heard of the game shortly after high school. The nerdiest nerd I had ever encountered (last name Wakle, no less) slammed a PC game magazine on my desk and urged me with that high pitched, retainer slurping voice of his to read all about this awesome RPG that was coming. I had dismissed it out of hand at the time, not really wanting to show interest and become a nerd by association. I changed my tune a few months later when he brought the Baldur's Gate game box into class. It was expertly packed and loaded with 5 CDs -- the ultimate measure of quality.

It was the deep, resonant narrator's voice that first led me to believe that I was about to play something special. The town criers in Candlekeep hinted at a world far bigger than my own character and the game didn't waste much time before throwing you into it. The story and world building throughout the series was augmented by the D&D license, rather than limited. Same goes for the character creation and party management that managed to maintain the tactical nature of combat while keeping it manageable and fun. Memorable characters with their own demons like Jahira's mourning, Minsc's madness and Aerie's "Love me or want to beat me to death" fragility. Few games can truly withstand the test of still being fun and relevant a decade later, but the Baldur's Gate series is one of them. This is thanks in part to the excellent 2D artwork that holds up far better than old 3D models ever could.

So here's to the Baldur's Gate series! Special thanks to 'anyone' for posting a link to a mod that allows you to play these games and other Infinity Engine titles in glorious widescreen resolutions. Click "Read More" if you want to peruse a few extra shots of the games..

Comments

I can't help but think this is a response to Elysium's article on BioWare...

WipEout wrote:

I can't help but think this is a response to Elysium's article on BioWare...

Ha! The exact thought that first came to my mind. Accident? I think not!

I am astounded such a baseless conclusion would be reached! With the posting of that nice widescreen mod and everything else, it seemed too perfect to ignore

I like the new screenshot viewer, but is the Player's character named "Ima Deathbringer" in shots 3 and 4? These aren't from your personal saves, are they Certis?

Google search, my friend. Google search.

Eh, Bioware games are overrated. See this article.

I have such fond memories of these games. All the characters, and the side quests, and weapons and armor. They were always a great substitute for the short time I didn't have anyone to play real D&D with. In fact, I don't have anyone now. ::Runs to laptop to install BG2::

WipEout wrote:

I can't help but think this is a response to Elysium's article on BioWare...

*sniffles* Are mommy and daddy fighting about Bioware?

*A single teardrop falls to the ground...*

Oh and dont forget Baldurdash, home to many unofficial Baldurs Gate tweaks and fixes. (Morrowind and Oblivion too)

Technically, Baldur's Gate was the first game to use John Carmack's MegaTexture technology... in 2D ... before he even invented it !

Anyone else remember all the ballyhoo about how the game took so much space because it minimized the reuse/tiling of textures, and most of it was uniquely pre-rendered ?

Nyles wrote:

Eh, Bioware games are overrated. See this article.

That's interesting, I'd link you to this article: http://www.gamerswithjobs.com/node/3...

which reasonably contradicts that one.

I don't trust that link, Mex, and I ain't clicking it.

edit: But I cut and pasted, and I guess no one was sneaking up on me with a kitty cat. Guess I'm paranoid.

I still haven't played the expansions for BG1 or BG2 yet. I picked them up on the cheap, but it's been such a daunting undertaking, because it's been so long since I've played either BG game that I'll want to start each from scratch and play through completely.

And yet, I don't really have a singleplayer game going on right now. And with the new widescreen mod... is it time I stop making excuses?

shihonage wrote:

Anyone else remember all the ballyhoo about how the game took so much space because it minimized the reuse/tiling of textures, and most of it was uniquely pre-rendered ?

Sure, as far as I remember from the reports, the artists actually had the complete map of Baldur's Gate (the city) painted and put on the wall as a reference, it was reported to be huge.

All that self-referential linking will eventually cause a singularity which will swallow the earth.

Quintin_Stone wrote:

I still haven't played the expansions for BG1 or BG2 yet. I picked them up on the cheap, but it's been such a daunting undertaking, because it's been so long since I've played either BG game that I'll want to start each from scratch and play through completely.

And yet, I don't really have a singleplayer game going on right now. And with the new widescreen mod... is it time I stop making excuses?

Maybe. Or maybe it's time to create more awesome excuses. Eh? Eh?

BG and PS:T both have a very soft and cushy place in my heart. And you're right Certis, they have held up better than a lot of nicer looking games. Makes ya think, don't it? Yeah, it does... *ponders life*

Too deep?

For the record, I _did_ say that Baldur's Gate was the deservedly praised game on which Bioware built an empire, so I agree with Certis. Now, if he'd picked, say, KOTOR then we'd probably have to call the police for a domestic dispute.

Andor wrote:

Maybe. Or maybe it's time to create more awesome excuses. Eh? Eh?

Ooh, good point!

The BG series is right up there with Fallout in my opinion. Just reading this article makes me want to find those old discs.

Played BG 1 and 2, but never tried Planescape: Torment or the Icewind Dale series. Any opinions? How do they stack up to BG?

Damn you people! Now I have to buy the whole shebang now.

Heretk wrote:

Played BG 1 and 2, but never tried Planescape: Torment or the Icewind Dale series. Any opinions? How do they stack up to BG?

Torment has a stronger plot and places less emphasis on combat; Icewind Dale has a lighter plot and places much greater emphasis on combat.

Both are tremendously excellent.

rabbit wrote:

All that self-referential linking will eventually cause a singularity which will swallow the earth.

Yeah, it's scary. I'm staring into the abyss right now, and it's staring into me, which I think is kind of a dick move on the abyss's part.

Yoink!

"Go for the eyes Boo! Go for the eyes!"

KillTrash wrote:

"Go for the eyes Boo! Go for the eyes!"

Damn! You beat me to it by minutes! This was my favorite line and I still to this day drop it in certain situations. Its one of those sayings that will stay with me, which holds high place in my pantheon of game quotes for everyday life. I kept that guy around in my party just so I could have that quote about.

This rates even higher than the reminiscing about Star Trail where if you didn't have everyone roped up while crossing mountains, the computer would simply off one of your characters in a very Gygaxian way... no save, no body, just a massive hole in your perfectly constructed group. The quote from that is, "[insert name] just fell off the mountain and is dead."

Is there a widescreen / resolution mod for Planescape or Fallout, while we're on the subject?

Did anyone else get the collector's edition of BG2? The one with the trading cards in it? I always wanted the Minsc card but was stuck with crappy characters

Elysium wrote:

For the record, I _did_ say that Baldur's Gate was the deservedly praised game on which Bioware built an empire, so I agree with Certis. Now, if he'd picked, say, KOTOR then we'd probably have to call the police for a domestic dispute.

I heard ya. But your ranking of Icewind Dale above KOTOR...I just can't agree. Granted, it was a very fun game; I played it, the sequel, and Trials of Luremaster, and I really liked them. But I'd classify them along with Mass Effect and KOTOR, as simply "very good games." And really, I mean that as high praise. But to me IWD just doesn't stand up to the excellence that is the Baldur's Gate series, much less--my favorite game of all time--Planescape:Torment.

Damn you Certis - I've just spent 3 hours searching the house for my BG2 and Planescape disks. Luckily for you I have now found them, else I would have been forced to venture over the Western seas and unleash the full fury of my wrath upon you.

Looks like Elysium will be stuck in hell on his lonesome for a while then. A quick skim through
the Divine Comedy has him in the inner 7th circle (blasphemers division, rather than the other one..), or in the 9th (sowers of discord) or 10th (falsifiers) part of the 8th circle.

I never played any of the Icewind Dale, BG, Planescape games & they've sat on my "really-should-play-someday" list for a while now. Since this job thing keeps getting in the way of gaming, if I don't have time for both, how well do they (with the resolution mod) stack up against say, The Witcher?

Cod wrote:

I never played any of the Icewind Dale, BG, Planescape games & they've sat on my "really-should-play-someday" list for a while now. Since this job thing keeps getting in the way of gaming, if I don't have time for both, how well do they (with the resolution mod) stack up against say, The Witcher?

I would venture to say that BG blows the Witcher right out of the water.