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 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've enjoyed the Witcher far more than any of the BG, Planescape, ID games. I would continue playing the Witcher but I'm waiting for the Enhanced Edition download. I've played Baldur's Gate chapter 1 multiple times and I've always uninstalled it somewhere during that chapter. I forget the reason why. Maybe I'll try playing it again and see how far I get.

The Witcher and the infinity engine games are pretty different beasts, so personal preference will come into play, but I'd give the give the nod to BG et al in a heartbeat, because they dialogue is comprehensible english and the party-based tactical combat is deeper, if less visceral, than The Witcher's. The Witcher does have the bonus of not being set in the Forgotten Realms and instead playing with fantasy clichés, but it's really not enough. And of course, Planescape has it beat in that regard as well.

The BG series (particularly BGII) inspired in me the same feelings of wonder and freedom that up until then I had only only experienced in table-top RPGs. I would not go so far as to say that it was the Holy Grail of CRPGs, but it was damn close. Through a perfect blend of graphics, story and nerdriffic gameplay, the series enchanted me in a way that I had always hoped Ultima, Startrail, Daggerfall (et all) would. Since then, I have been similarly bewitched by such rpg luminaries as Morrowind, Mass Effect and Oblivion, but BG was the first and certainly one of the best.

I'm thinking about getting the 4 dvd Boxset from amazon, any idea how or if it runs at all under WinXp?

I'm not sure what's on the boxset, but I've had both BG2 and Planescape running today under XP. You might want to get hold of the mod mentioned in the first post as well, and make sure you patch the games up.

I might buy this one as well then..... but I already have so much to play and not enough time lol

Sparhawk wrote:

I might buy this one as well then..... but I already have so much to play and not enough time lol

I'm trying to figure out how to balance BG 1 & 2 (plus the expansions) with playing my season of Madden '08. If I don't get as pissed off over dying in BG as I do when I lose in Madden, I imagine it'll be an easy choice as to how to balance my time out.

Is it just me, or does every picture get smaller as you click the next arrow?

I can't find the BG disks! Help me, o mighty Thor! Come to my aid, angry and terrible Zeus! I offer much booze!

Ow how I love the BG series. Especially BG1, where you start off as a pansy, and eventually face the new lord of murder himself. That's what I disliked about BG2, the fact that you did not start at level 0. But keeping your bg1 character was kinda fun too.

If you really want to start off good, install BGT so you can play from BG1 to Throne of Bhaal in one sitting.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baldur%...

Dammit, my BG2 disk is scratched and no amount of polishing will rescue it.

If you really want to start off good, install BGT so you can play from BG1 to Throne of Bhaal in one sitting.

Holy crap. That would be pretty much the longest game ever.

Screw you guys, I don't have time to play through BG again!

Just wanted to point out that both Baldur's Gates, Planescape: Torment and both Icewind Dales are available on GameTap (though you obviously won't be able to use the widescreen mod with them there).

I loved the foreshadowing in the original BG. The two moments that stand out in my mind are in the first area where you begin the game, Candlekeep, you come across four chanting monks. Their chant didn't really make sense to me until I had played through BG2 Throne of Bhaal, and then played BG1 again:

"The Lord of Murder shall perish, but in his doom he shall spawn a score of mortal progeny, chaos will be sown by their passage. So sayeth the wise Alaundo."

Obviously alluding to all the children of Bhaal you fight in the BG2 expansion: ToB.

Second, in the last cutscene after you kill Sarevok, you are shown a grand hall, and a statue of Sarevok standing in the hall begins to crumble, because you've killed him. But then the camera pans back and you see that Saravok's statue is just one of hundreds of statues of the Bhlalspawn. It really made me excited for the sequel.

feeank wrote:

I'm thinking about getting the 4 dvd Boxset from amazon, any idea how or if it runs at all under WinXp?

Have a link?

tanstaafl wrote:

Just wanted to point out that both Baldur's Gates, Planescape: Torment and both Icewind Dales are available on GameTap (though you obviously won't be able to use the widescreen mod with them there).

Only in the US. Not in Canada.

Retreading on the ID vs. BG - I think what set BG apart (and PS:T) is that there are really strong characters with spoken lines and distinct personalities. I loved Edwin in both games for pure evil humor - and Viconia rocks in BG2. Most every character in both BGs has an agenda, side quests, and more to flesh them out.

ID bored me quickly because all the characters are self-created and you don't get that sense of intraparty tensions or personal stakes.

I fired up Baldur's Gate on Gametap last night, just after finishing Icewind Dale (though not the Heart of Winter chapter), and while it has aged I have a great emotional attachment to it.
The BG games, along with Heroes of Might and Magic, kept my gaming interest alive through college and beyond. The various titles in these two series were the few quality games available for Mac and I put hundreds of hours into them. Baldur's Gate was also the first game that my wife and I mutually enjoyed, and it helped her understand why I like this gaming hobby so much.

I subscribed to Gametap finally and loaded up Baldur's Gate tonight for the first time ever. The story is a bit cliche it seems, but the atmosphere and music are nice. I've already had two party members die by ambush at the Friendly Arm Inn - it was my fault because I revealed my name to a complete stranger who had way too much interest in me.

I'm tempted to look up some general strategy, because right now I'm just applying the game's scripts to manage my party AI and I've got a feeling that won't cut it for very long.

Anyone have some tips for me?

BG2 is one of my favorite games of all time. I managed to play it through twice.

As a general tip, I always like to have at least three spell casters in my part (mixed between cleric and mage types) and open combats with 2-3 spells of the charm/hold/confusion/chaos variety. This usually will take a few opponents out of the fight right away and can turn a tough fight into a cakewalk. Always make sure that opposing spell casters are getting hit with something so they can't cast effectively.

I sadly only got introduced to the realms of Baldurs Gate through Dark Alliance on the XBOX, but loved it - Hubby and I really miss the Co-op games at the moment and occasionally dust off the covers only to find we have grown away from it - need new adventure for 360..

While fighting for XBOX supremacy and often losing to his game of Halo3 I didn't even think to load it on the laptop, time to troll through some of my fav PC software sites for Baldurs I feel...

Started BG1 last night for the first time, it's aged and it runs a bit laggy (didn't do a full install, though I'll try increasing the cache size to 500 mg) but it's still as funny as I remember BG2 to be, Wish me luck fellas