The GWJ cRPG Club - Game 18: Baldur's Gate 2 (Over)

Yeah Windspear Hills absolutely wiped the floor with me towards the end there - I had to back off and go and explore the city more! I have no recolection of it being quite that difficult......

Met one of the new EE characters - I thought I didn't recognise the name - and


promptly killed her. Evil Vampire person

so that was fun. I've sorted out the Copper Coronet and killed the slavers, now on to the rest of the city. I have more than enough cash for the next part, I just figured I'd go explore the city first.

Every time I play, I always squeeze every last drop of content out before moving onto Ch 3 (and, oh boy, there is a lot to do). Also, at least make sure those greedy Shadow Thieves offer you a discount before paying them.

Math wrote:
Math wrote:

I'm putting in an hour or two a week into BG2. I'm dedicated to finishing it, but it hasn't really grabbed me yet.

Haven't played BG2 since I posted this a month ago. Judging from the activity on this thread, the game simply isn't interesting to people, despite a lot of professed love for it. (Looking at you, everyone who voted for it.)

If I had to make a hypothesis:

  • The AD&D ruleset has not aged well.
  • The Infinity Engine also has not aged well, even with the Enhanced Edition tweaks.
  • The above two combined make the *gameplay* land somewhere on the spectrum between not very interesting and actively annoying.
  • That just leaves the story and/or characters to enjoy, but I, like most everyone I'm sure, already know the story and characters to some extent.

Short version, I cannot make myself slog through the gameplay just to experience a story I already know. I may well turn the difficulty all the way down and blast through it just to hit the story-beats/set-pieces which I have fond memories of.

Yet another month has passed and I haven't opened BG2 once in that time. Needless to say I'm not finishing it before the "deadline" and the odds of it being a retirement-home job for me are pretty low too.

This was my feeling when I played Baldur's Gate 1 recently for the first time. The D&D rules weren't interesting to me, and the general design felt too dated for me to appreciate it. I blasted through on story mode, but I didn't really care for the experience overall. I think I'm okay leaving it in the past.

Well I'm still doing quests in and around Athkatla in Chapter 2. I have more than enough money to start chapter 3 but it feels like I should do some leveling and find more companions first.

No, AD&D 2nd ed rules have not aged well. At all. The graphics are so bad (how did we ever cope with them?!?) I can't always tell who's doing what in the middle of combat - or have any idea what is supposed to be represented on screen.

And yet I'm really enjoying myself. It's not nostalgia because I apparently remember so little of playing the game so long go, but it's in the writing and in the interactions between all the different companions.

I'm not sure that I'll get this done by the end of the month - I've got a lot of work stuff coming up - but I'll give it a shot.

Bloody hell there’s a lot to do in Chapter 2. I think I may have left it too late to get this finished in time.

One thing I do dislike about these games is the ‘rest to reset your spells’ mechanic. There are so many encounters here where the right spells are the difference between life and death right on top of each other. Having to rest each time never feels right with me so I tend not to, and often scrap through as best I can.

Yup. I edited my save and doubled all my spell counts so I'd have to rest less often. CHEATER!! :p

45 hours and I'm still in Chapter 2. I think I need to move things along a little

Right. Chapter 3. I’ve set things up now so I’m more or less ready to go straight into chapter 4 I think - yes I’ve still got quite a few outstanding quests but mostly I don’t think I’m that bothered about seeing them through - maybe when I return to Athkatla.

Thoroughly enjoying myself now, although BG2 is a little bit too silly at times, by and large dealing with all the various subplots is fun and well written. There seems to be a good balance between trash mobs and harder fights, and the ‘boss’ fights are properly challenging. It does require a level of knowledge in AD&D 2nd edition though I don’t remember having……

So, progress. I am through chapter 4 at the Asylum on the island - more or less. I remember this is usually where I flag out because


although you can just go to the Underdark, the game makes it pretty evident that's not the best idea, and getting there via the Pirate ship is unnecessarily long winded and involves jumping through a lot of hoops.

and, of course, the game front loads the first 3 chapters with so much to do it's almost off putting. Seriously, the whole of chapter 4 is only a little longer than slogging through the Windspear Hills to get to Firkragg, before you realise that


you're a little underleveled to face a Red Dragon

Still, this time we need to work through it all, so lets hope I can keep it up.

I’m still trying to get through Dragonspear before I can even start this

Hit a bug and had to use the console to create an item that wouldn't spawn


The Pirate Horn needed to leave Brynnlaw once you've escaped the Asylum

Frankly, life is too short to have to wait for the game to decide if it's night or not.

The Underdark is pretty fun, you've got that coming up. After that, the game (prior to Expansion) wraps up fairly quickly.

Last time I played this I definitely went straight to the underdark from the asylum and not via the merman city. What an old little level to throw into the game.

I have to say playing this with modern expectations is an eye opener. Don’t get me wrong it’s still one of the best RPGs that has ever been made, but the QoL improvements, gameplay and game rule improvements made since AD&D 2.5 certainly means I’ve played better cRPGs than this. I know it’s difficult to compare something made 20 years ago to now, but even so it does feel like video game players back then put up with a lot of crap because they didn’t know any better.

So, underdark next. I doubt I’m going to get this done before Friday - too much real world stuff in the way - but hopefully before I go on holiday in October.

So I'm in the Underdark and I won't lie, I've cheated for the second time in the game, only this time it's proper cheating.... I'm in the


Mindflayer Lair

and damn me if I can't kill them buggers "fairly" - I get that it's supposed to be hard, but it does seem you need some foreknowledge of counters before you go down there, and maybe have the right party build too. BG2 seems to excel at that at times. In the end I've used to console to create a couple of scrolls for items that are immune to a specific damage type


Mordenkien's Swords - in fairness i did manage about half the lair without cheating, but there is one battle with multiple Mindflayers, Ulitharids and Umber Hulks I just couldn't beat

and just summon a few to let them get on with it. Life is bluntly too short. I did clear out


the Beholder Dungeon

without cheating though so that doesn't feel so bad.

I usually abuse the hell out of summons to get through those areas. Also, I think Freedom of Action (Cleric or items) is useful.

Mr GT Chris wrote:

I usually abuse the hell out of summons to get through those areas. Also, I think Freedom of Action (Cleric or items) is useful.

Chaotic commands. Problem is it’s single target spell. I only took Jaheria and she only had 2 level 7 spell slots. And CC doesn’t last that long and doesn’t protect you from intelligence drain. It’s one of those times that faithful adherence to tabletop rules doesn’t quite translate to a PC game.

I’ve taken to reading a walkthrough now just to get some hints of ‘what’s next’. I’m not going to get this done by Friday but might get it finished over the weekend. I hope.

The expansion is pretty big. I’ve finished the main game multiple times but never Throne of Bhaal. One of my regrets I guess.

This is the final curtain call for Baldurs Gate 2.

Widely celebrated as one of the best RPG games - even best games - of all time, we have had Twelve starters and....... One finisher. On that basis alone Alien Love Gardener should probably win some sort of additional recognition prize!

And we call ourselves a cRPG club!

I'm about halfway through Chapter 6 - a valiant effort (even if I do say so myself) but never quite gave myself enough time. I hope to get this finished over the weekend but we'll see how we go. I'm travelling for work next week so game time will be limited. My first retirement home completion.

'grats to ALG for being The Only One!

There is a part of me that thinks I'll circle back to this in the retirement home; but deep down, I know the truth.

ubrakto wrote:

'grats to ALG for being The Only One!

There is a part of me that thinks I'll circle back to this in the retirement home; but deep down, I know the truth.

Same on both counts.

One of my problems, I'd literally played through and beaten the main game a year ago, as part of a BG1->Siege of Dragonspear->BG2 play through. Then, I played through a good chunk for the club this time (pretty much all the Ch2 stuff you can do before you start Ch3 - more than half the game really), but with no one else to push me forward, I moved on to other stuff.

I think it does stand as a great game, and certainly a game whose place in history deserves to be discussed. There are some QoL issues, but many of these can be smoothed over by, frankly, cheating with a save game editor.

Last post here.

3 days late but Irenicus is no more and Shadows of Amn has been completed! Go me!

I'll chalk this up to a retirement home finish.

As for the game itself, I could feel it's age in a way that I didn't for Baldurs Gate when we went through that a couple of years back. It's find of hard to put my finger on why but it's in the complexity of the AD&D 2nd edition ruleset, as well as some of the more awkward gameplay mechanics (let's not talk about the pathfinding!) and things like making Chaotic Commands and Negative Plane protection spells so important but also leaving them as single target spells. If you're going to write a story that involves the need for that protection then make it easier to obtain and maybe think about multi-target options? It was occasionally more frustrating than it was enjoyable to play.

Yes the Characters are - mostly - fantastic to have along, Irenicus is a great villain, the main plot doesn't disappoint, but the pacing is all over the place (I spent more time running around in chapter 2 than I did the entirety of the rest of the game) and a lot of EE stuff is shoe horned in. I never got round to completing Jahiera's romance (boy does that drag out) and I got to the point of just rushing through to finish stuff. The ending also felt a little anti-climatic. After 23 years never getting around to completing this game though, it does feel good to get it done!

I enjoyed it immensely don't get me wrong but I've enjoyed other RPGs more. Dragon Age: Origins (which I know I've been super harsh on past), Divinity: Original Sin, even Pillars of Eternity. I'm not sure they are better games, but I enjoyed them more.