Baldur’s Gate II: Enhanced Edition Out In November

By Craig Pearson on October 4th, 2013 at 9:00 am.

ENHANCED?
It looks like Baldur’s Gate II’s spam filter has let through an enhancement e-mail. You know the kind I’m talking about. In search of an ego boost, though I know plenty of people who like the venerable organ just the way it is, it has succumbed to the cheap thrills offered within, and ordered a course of treatment: “Why settle for less when we can boost your resolution and remaster your original renders with our all natural process?” So Baldur’s Gate II: Enhanced Edition will be arriving in November, all enhancedy.

That’s basically what I picture when you use the word “enhancement”, and I apologise for sharing it. Aside from helping an age-old game to run on the modern systems without the worry of mods and ini hacks, exactly what’s been brought to the table? It’ll come with Throne of Bhaal, and there will be an additional four new characters to play with: half-orc Blackguard Dorn Il-Khan, Neera the Wild Mage, monk Rasaad yn Bashir, each with spin-off quests. Baeloth, a drow sorcerer, is the fourth character, but has no additional content. All told, there will be 30 extra locations crammed in by Beamdog and released on November 15th.

It looks okay at a glance, but I’m aware of a certain amount of discontent with the port. I can’t find an RPS WiT, and I was too busy not playing Dark Souls to not play it. Did anyone stick with it?

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Top comments

  1. Guvornator says:

    Dark Souks of course being a hard core market trading RPG based around haggling down prices for Arabic tat:

    Gasp! at the wide array of designer wear available!
    Wonder! why Calvin Klein would wholesale to what appears to be a man one step above homelessness so cheaply!
    Thrill! as you wonder low can you get Mustafar to sell you his gold-encrusted, lead-based model camel with a fake Timex clock embedded in the rump!
    Be Amazed! At the vast mountain of what seemed, in the shop to be perfectly good gifts for everyone at home, but outside the shop is clearly potentially dangerous crap you’ll never get through customs…

    Or to put it another way, Craig, you misspelled Souls…

    EDIT: Dammit, foop! We talked about this! ;)

  1. Snargelfargen says:

    I bought the port a couple months ago and was quite pleased with it. Whatever they did to the game engine has made everything much smoother and the ability to zoom in and out with the scroll wheel is a godsend. Definitely worth getting for newbies or someone looking to play with a new set of npcs.

    I believe a lot of the complaints when it first came out were related to bugs which were since patched out. It should also be noted that a lot of the mod content for the original series doesn’t work or is a pain in the ass to install. Not a big deal since most of the community’s bug fixes are included, but I wish I could figure out how to get some of the hard core difficulty mods working.

  2. Triangulon says:

    With the prevalence of mods and the price of the Enhanced Edition I’m not sure it was a worthwhile purchase on PC. I can tell you it was brilliant fun to play it through on iPad however (as was KOTOR).

    • Choca says:

      Yeah just wait for a discount on PC, it’ll come soon enough.

      • SooSiaal says:

        Like the 75% off on steam that is going on now?

        • IchigoRXC says:

          If I were you (and of course I am not), but if I were, I would not purchase it from Steam expecting the full deal. As of right now the steam patches are handled by *cough cough* Atari and are not up to date compared to buying it directly from the developer. Thus the Steam version does not give a full picture of the stability of the game now with all its additions. Also, Baeloth is not the fourth character in BG2:EE

    • phuzz says:

      It’s £3.75 on steam right now, which is not much more than the price of a pint nowadays.
      The original was, I think, the first RPG I’d ever played. Certainly I remember having massive problems the first time I played it until I worked out the mechanics that now seem obvious, like what the hell ‘levelling up’ was, and the idea that different weapons had different stats, and that maybe I should pay some attention to which character got which weapon. Ah, the hidden knowledge that seems so obvious now…

      • Zekiel says:

        My experience too!

        Years later when I played the first Mass Effect I still hadn’t worked out it might be a good idea to check that a party member was skilled with a weapon before giving it to them. Ah Kaiden, your ineptitude with a sniper rifle…

  3. Oozo says:

    I played through the “Black Pits”. There was an encounter that was basically unbeatable withouth digging into AD&D lore outside the game, which made me think that maybe the additional content is not that well designed. Soon after, I realized that one of the bugs that always drove me nuts playing the original game (arrows are still a pain to deal with) is still intact.

    Two things that taught me that, should I ever feel like playing BG again, I could just use the discs I still have in a cupboard somewhere, and that the enhancement probably didn’t improve the game enough to bother.

    PS The one thing I was really interested in was playing it on an iPad — but contrary to what was said at first, in the end, it didn’t run on a first generation iPad. So that was that.

    • apocraphyn says:

      >There was an encounter that was basically unbeatable withouth digging into AD&D lore outside the game

      Truly? I can’t remember anything of the sort. The only thing I really remember about the Black Pits was that it featured surprisingly good voice acting and gave me the general feeling that it was pretty well made, all in all. What was this unbeatable encounter? I’m genuinely curious.

      Met my fair share of (mostly new) bugs within the Enhanced Edition on PC, but I had quite a lot of fun with it. The spit and polish they added seemed to be pretty beneficial, to my eyes. The additional characters didn’t seem to be incredibly written, and the Blackguard kit seemed fairly overpowered, but they were welcome additions regardless. (This is all coming from someone who played the games on release and has played them with a plethora of mods many a time.)

      • Guvornator says:

        I’m not familiar with this, but I suspect it’s that moment when members of your party start saying “My WEApon has NO EFFECT!”. Genuinely chilling to any RPG player, at all times.

        • timethor says:

          I can honestly still hear almost all “No effect..?”, “My weapon does nothing!!!” sound effects from BG2 in my head.

          But iirc the solution was almost always “get a weapon with a higher enchantment” (and in the case of a magic golumn a weapon with no enchantment?)

          • aepervius says:

            Actually in some case (golem of magic ? magic elemental) you had to use a weapon *without* any enchantment, out of basic iron. I can’t recall if it was in there or not.

      • Oozo says:

        I don’t remember which fight it was in particular, but yeah, it was one of those “your weapon is not effective against…”-moments. Don’t get me wrong: Those were part of the original games, and not any less obtuse there; as somebody who has played and finished almost all of the Infinity Engine-games back in the day, I should know.

        There are a few things making it more infuriating in this one, though:
        1) We have 2013, and if you know that people will go and look it up anyway, you might as well give the clues in the game.
        2) There actually is a character in the game for the particular purpose of telling you how to prepare for a fight– the beholder in the cell. But in that particular challenge, his advise is so obtuse that it is actually less than useful.
        3) In the main game(s), encounters like that already used to be a pain. Still, it was less of a problem, because you were always carrying tons of equipment of all sorts with you anyway. (Did somebody actually sell the unique weapons? I certainly couldn’t get myself to doing so…) So you usually could just open your inventory and change to a weapon that you normally wouldn’t use, but still had with you, just in case. In the Black Pits, though, that doesn’t work — money is a problem for the better part of that story, and you have to think carefully about how to spend it. Well, thinking does only get you so far. I did not spend it on one of the particular weapons that I needed in that fight (a blunt one? …I can’t remember) — though luck. I had to grind earlier challenges in order to collect enough money to afford the one and only “key” the game would permit me to use in that situation.

        As I said: Bad design. (Even though the voice acting was, indeed, ok.)

  4. Syra says:

    Didn’t the first one get recalled for copyright infringement at some point? How are they going ahead with the second?

    • ralph_plauren says:

      Those issues were apparently surrounding the agreement with Atari, which complicated matters when Atari went to pot. As far as I am aware they are sorted out now. Atari handles(ed?) the distribution of the game on Steam. The developers sell the game with their own digital platform “Beamdog”. I found this annoying, as I prefer to keep all my games in one place and not have loads of different company clients on my pc. I think as part of this arrangement the patches are applied to the Steam version slower.

      That being said I really enjoyed BG:EE, I think people went into it with more expectations. I only ever wanted it to run on my PC without it being a massive pain. The tutu mod was always unstable, and I have no real desire to install a load of dodgy poorly written mods (Imoen romance anyone ?), so for me this was a great purchase. Perhaps the best improvement is the instantaneous saving and loading, which you really notice if you go back to the old versions.

      The new content is okay, it feels a bit shoe horned in I think. In BG1 at least your NPC companions didn’t really have much to say, while the new NPCS are always chatting to you BG2 style. One small change that I love, is that the magical items have the names given to them in the description “Evermemory” instead of “Ring of Wizardry +2″ for example. That sums it up for me really, lots of small improvements which individually you think “not worth the money”, but as a whole it is really neat.

      Finally, I was eagerly anticipating an Android release (I have a Nexus7) but it seems to have been dead for a while now. Beamdog as a company do not seem to be good at PR or communicating with the public. Much of that could be due to the aforementioned legal isssues with Atari though.

      • beforan says:

        I’m waiting on the Android version too. It’s still supposedly actively being worked on, but they re-prioritised a) getting BG2 out and b) getting the giant BG1 patch out.

        Apparently once the Android re-jiggery is complete, BG2 will be trivial to release as well.

        They did literally stop all work on these during the legal issues, in case the outcome was not good, so they weren’t just wasting time and effort, but yeah this has all been resolved now, only losing them, what, two months? :(

      • Big Murray says:

        Why do people in the BG mod community always pick on the Imoen Romance as a poorly written mod? I can name dozens of mods which are written worse but which don’t draw the ire of modders.

        Such as, for instance, any NPC mod with a romance which insists on injecting “flirts” (something which has become so ludicrously popular among BG modders that it’s almost considered a compulsory part of a BG romance). People seem to believe that having the game interrupted on a regular basis with “Aerie walks up to you shyly, twirling a strand of hair between her delicate fingers” followed by a repeat of the same adolescent “flirt” text you’ve read umpteenth times before is good mod writing.

        And then there’s the multitude of mods which insist on not keeping their writing consistent with the rest of the game and adding emotes to speech text. ‘*Jaheria sighs heavily*’ and all this. Immediately breaks immersion with the rest of the game’s content. If you need to put emotes into your text to show how a character is feeling, then you need to go back over your writing and improve it because the character’s emotions obviously aren’t being made clear in what they’re saying like they should (and are in the original game’s dialogue).

        On the whole … the Imoen Romance is a pretty minor offender, no?

        • Volcanu says:

          I think you missed a “Big Murray sighs heavily..” before the rest of your post….

  5. csuzw says:

    I’m really conflicted on the BG:EE. I think it’s definitely better than original BG + mods however I still don’t think it’s worth £20 or whatever it costs. They introduced a ridiculous amount of bugs (that are probably mostly fixed now), some of which they’d have picked up if they’d even done the smallest amount of testing, the UI improvements really didn’t go far enough and in certain places actually made things worse. Their explanation for some of this was that they were constrained by the terms of their license so they couldn’t make certain changes but it still all felt a bit a lazy. If BG2: EE follows seamlessly on from BG:EE (which I think is the plan) and improvements made for it also affect BG:EE then I’ll probably still get it (because I’m weak!)

    • bstard says:

      It might be worth 5eur. Hope so, since I bought it yesterday of Steam for this price, seems acceptable.

    • Knufinke says:

      That’s the thing I’ve played BGEE and BG1/BG2 + mods back to back and I can tell you the enhancemants of the first were just so marginal that it just wasn’t worth it and even less so considering the original price. And I still think besides the zoom function which is pretty cool the BG + mods is just a better game. BGEE has/ had (not quite sure on this one) a bug where I couldn’t solve a quest in the very first chapter. In the 30+ hours of BG+mods I didn’t encounter a single bug. The coolest part about BG+mods is that you can play BG1 in an BG2 environment with BG2 classes/skills.

  6. Guvornator says:

    Weirdly, I never got on with BGII – I think having a predefined party irrationally biased me against it, even though I have a deep and frankly disturbing love of the first one, to the extent that I had to avoid buy the enhanced edition to avoid the total disintegration of my social/love life. Is it any good? Are these Enhanced Editions any cop?

    • Gilead says:

      But the first one also has a pre-defined party — unless you mean the second one starts with you in the dungeon with a couple of party members it assumed you took with you the first time, which I understand annoyed some people. But even then, you can just not take them along, or free them and tell them to go away.

      I did buy the Enhanced Edition of the first one, but it’s kind of disappointing graphically — they couldn’t really enhance the background art, so it’s just blown up a bit and therefore blurrier than the original. Most of the benefits seemed to be that features and classes from BG2 were included, so I’m not sure what real benefit this BG2 Enhanced Edition is going to give, at least on the PC.

      • Guvornator says:

        Yes, that section did put me off, not least because:

        a) most of them irritated the piss out of me (not a criticism, I just preferred others in my party)
        b) thanks to my total lack of RPG ability, all of them people were dead by the end (EDIT: of the first one)

        So it wasn’t a good first impression. I played until you got dragged under the sea, so I gave it a fair go, but, for me it just didn’t *click* like the first one. I’ve still got the box around for it on my shelf, gathering dust, maybe I’ll give it another pop.

        • hitnrun says:

          Yeah, that intro dungeon to BG2 has its own pedestal in the pantheon of bad game design. I’d be willing to bet a large majority of BG2 main characters don’t actually make it out of there. Even Infinity Engine enthusiasts probably lose nearly half their saves in there to the irritation.

        • guvuhmann says:

          i kinda feel this way too.
          For me iit actually stayed true to D&D in a sense. In how I really enjoy playing lower to mid level campaigns.

          High level can be really fun also, but there’s a lot fewer DM’s that can run those well. And the things that are fun about good high level campaigns don’t translate well to a computer game.

          I felt like with Baldur’s Gate II, there was actually more quality stuff, or I remember feeling like, wow, this should be rad all the time, but at some point I never finished it.

          I really have to play it again tho and see, maybe it had nothing to do with high level or whatever. maybe i was just older.

          but there is something really fun about being a low level character, I think that’s always gonna make for a game that’s more fun. At least for D&D style simulations.

    • Volcanu says:

      Not having a pop but when you say ‘pre-defined’ party waht do you mean? BGII is identical to the first 1 in terms of you being able to pick and choose your party from various NPC’s that you meet. So I’d say if you liked the way your party worked in BG1 you should have no problem with BGII.

      In terms of whether you should play it, Id say BGII is superior to the first in virtually every way- so if you loved that one, dive right in! But be prepared to sacrifice your free tiem for a long while. When it first came out I played BGII so much it actually gave me insomnia thinking about everythign I wanted to ‘do next’.

    • Nick says:

      You can create your own party via a new MP game then renaming the save file or some such thing, but missing out on one of BG2s strongest features imo.

      • Enkinan says:

        Bingo, I somehow figured this out right at release of the original and it was glorious.

  7. theblazeuk says:

    The enhanced edition is £3.75 for the next day or so…

    YOU HEAR ME EVERYONE ITS CHEAP! Strike now! Go for the eyes Boo go for the eyes!

    • Minsc_N_Boo says:

      See the burning stare of my hamster, and change your ways!

      I am a bit of a BG fan (not that you would guess) but I held off getting BG:EE on release. I like the idea of an updated version, but I was a bit concerned the new content wouldn’t fit well with the vanilla game.

      Still at £3.75 I couldnt say no. Full plate and packing steel!

  8. lowprices says:

    That reminds me, I should actually play that copy of BG: EE I got in the Steam Summer sale.

  9. Core says:

    Enhanced editions my ass. Even the very first quest in the BG:EE is broken and cannot be completed.

    • Sheng-ji says:

      The book is in the stack of hay bales. You’re welcome.

      • Knufinke says:

        He’s not talking about the book.

        He’s talking about the Firebead’s Scroll quest.

    • PoulWrist says:

      Really? I managed to complete it just fine :|

    • Core says:

      I mean firebeards identify scroll.

      • PoulWrist says:

        Worked fine when I played it. Of course, I waited till a bunch of patches were out.

  10. foop says:

    I’m tempted, but I think I’ve played through BGII enough times to last me a lifetime.

    Dark Souks, on the other hand, sounds tempting. Some sort of ultra-hard, open-world, Middle-Eastern market, yes?

  11. Guvornator says:

    Dark Souks of course being a hard core market trading RPG based around haggling down prices for Arabic tat:

    Gasp! at the wide array of designer wear available!
    Wonder! why Calvin Klein would wholesale to what appears to be a man one step above homelessness so cheaply!
    Thrill! as you wonder low can you get Mustafar to sell you his gold-encrusted, lead-based model camel with a fake Timex clock embedded in the rump!
    Be Amazed! At the vast mountain of what seemed, in the shop to be perfectly good gifts for everyone at home, but outside the shop is clearly potentially dangerous crap you’ll never get through customs…

    Or to put it another way, Craig, you misspelled Souls…

    EDIT: Dammit, foop! We talked about this! ;)

  12. bladedsmoke says:

    BG:EE is an objectively inferior experience to just playing the old game with a couple of mods.

    I hope BG2:EE is better, but I don’t hold out much hope after being disappointed before.

    • PsychoWedge says:

      I don’t think the BG1EE or the BG2EE ever was of any real interest on their own. The real thing will be a combined BG1/2 EE via BGTEE (or whichever mod) spiced up with all these cool mods you spice your combined normal BG1/2 up.

      And concerning the BG2EE: Well, at least they’re advertising it with english language only. They advertised AND SOLD the BG1EE with full english, german and french text and audio support and to this day (one year later) there still is no german/french audio and only incomplete german/french texts. Not that I care but I know a lot of people who preordered the EE and then stood in a silent or an english Candlekeep and were wondering why the german audio that already existed 1998 wasn’t in the game. Some of them are still wondering… xD

    • ralph_plauren says:

      What mods though ? I haven’t played a single mod for any of the Baldur’s Gate games that wasn’t awful.

      • bladedsmoke says:

        Oh yeah, there’s loads of terrible ones. That’s why I said a “couple” of mods. Most importantly, the Unfinished Business, BG1NPC & Banter Pack mods, which are very well-written and (in the former case) just restore some interesting cut content. They really add to the BG experience and I wouldn’t leave home without them.

        There are several mods, like the Big World project, BGT or Tutu, which all more or less combine BG1 & BG2 into one massive game. One of these is probably worth getting if you want a really “epic” experience.

        Finally, if you plan on playing all the way through to Throne of Bhaal, Ascension and Turnabout are a must.

        Honestly, I’d recommend not getting any mods other than those, especially the ones that purport to add substantial content (like new locations or NPCs). These are 60-hour games already, and the content that gets added is frequently awful.

      • PsychoWedge says:

        Then you either have unreasonable standards (meaning mods must be “better” then original content), don’t like any change to any original content (meaning you shouldn’t even dabble with mods) or just didn’t look very thoroughly or even at all (meaning you should if you want to be taken seriously after such a statement).

        So yeah, there are a lot of shitty to mediocre mods. There are quite a few mediocre to good mods. There are also some genuinly great mods and there are even a few brilliant mods. It’s spread rather like every game that is modded on.

        One example for a brilliant mod is the Baldur’s Gate Extended Night and Map Fixes mod that adds night maps to all major areas, including light maps and everything. If you ever walked through Baldur’s Gate at night and thought how nice all these lights in the windows and lanterns and doors are and then went to, say, Beregost where everything was just dark, then you might know what this mod adds to Beregost.

  13. Zekiel says:

    Ah I cannot resist the opportunity to wax nostalgic about BG2. It was literally by favourite game ever for the majority of my gaming life. The sights, the sounds, the companions, the multitude of quests, the sheer size of it all… its not an open-world game but you can spend SO LONG faffing around avoiding the main quest. I played it through 2 and 2-half times and it was always different. Sigh…

    I find the “30 extra locations” bit a little strange – I don’t think anyone ever claimed BG2 needed more content!!

    Very tempted to try this out for my ipad. What makes me hesitate is the fact that I actually have other things I need to do… I believe a full playthrough of the original game could easily take upwards of 100 hours.

  14. Panda Powered says:

    Access to the original art assets alone would make this worth it. Proper higher resolution instead of just scaling or whatever they did in the first EE. I skipped that one as people seemed pretty pissed about everything in it and besides, I already have the original games.
    I never finished the first one and the second has never even left the box. My back-log stretches back to the nineties apparently…

  15. strangeloup says:

    I was skeptical about BG:EE, but picked it up in a similar sale to the one that’s on Steam at the moment, and was very pleasantly surprised. I’ve never actually finished either Baldur’s Gate game (though I have managed to get through Torment and both Icewind Dales, as far as Infinity Engine goes), mostly because it’s such a giant ballache to faff around with mods and everything.

    As far as I can tell, there’s not an overwhelming amount of difference between EE and a modded-up standard version of BG, but it’s a whole lot less fucking about and it also seems more stable (though ymmv). I’m certainly inclined to give the EE of BG2 a shot, assuming it has a less buggy launch than their version of BG1.

  16. newc0253 says:

    I played BGEE and then went straight on and played BG2 + mods.

    For me, the acid test is whether the additional content complements the original material. Sadly, with BGEE, it didn’t. It wasn’t terrible but even at its best it always felt non-essential (and, indeed, how could it be?). Most of the time, it felt like some well-produced BG fanfic.

    So if you want to mar your experience of BG2 with that kind of thing, then I’m sure it will be great. For me, I was happy sticking to BG2 + mods.

    • FhnuZoag says:

      There’s the problem really. The end goal for these ‘Enhanced Editions’ are to convince people the developers are fit to inherit the mantle of the original developers, and make BG3 or whatever. But there’s basically nothing here that does so. At best, their contributions are technical, not artistic. I for one am not even convinced that BG3 is something that should exist, at all.

      • Drinking with Skeletons says:

        I haven’t even played BG or BG2 and I agree with you. The Forgotten Realms have tons of cities and regions, while D&D has numerous settings to choose from. They have the engine, they’ve (presumably) drawn in some new fans, now’s the time to really make a name for themselves and set their titles apart from others.

        “From the makers of Baldur’s Gate Enhanced Edition comes Dark Sun/Eberron/Whatever the hell they want.”

        There is a market for non-Forgotten Realms stuff. Fallout 3 alone proved that modern audiences will respond to RPGs that aren’t set in the most generic fantasy setting possible. Why so few have recognized this is beyond me.

      • Zekiel says:

        How could BG3 exist? Its the story of one character, and his (or her) story is definitively ended at the end of Throne of Bhaal. The Bhaalspawn saga is ended. Even if your character SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS chooses not to ascend, he’s stupidly powerful (and by stupidly, I mean, gamebreakingly)*. There’s just nowhere mechanically to take the same character in a putative sequel.

        You could have a Baldur’s Gate: Subtitle game using the same engine and some returning supporting characters, but that’s not the same as BG3.

        *That was the main problem with ToB in my opinion. BG2 had you fighting the most powerful monsters in D&D – drow, beholders, elementals, dragons, liches, demons. ToB just gave you the same monsters plus giants and then some uber-powerful special character versions of the same to give you a challenge. What D&D monsters could possibly challenge a character MORE powerful than in ToB? You’d have to be hunting down the gods themselves.

        • Big Murray says:

          Nothing to stop your character descending again. Gods have descended many a time in the Forgotten Realms universe … hell, your character only exists because of one such occurrence.

        • Volcanu says:

          The Terrasque? Possibly.

          No, in all seriousness I agree. ToB rounded off the wholse saga so nicely I don’t want them to come back with a BGIII using the same characters. Id like it left where it is. If they made a BGIII my fear is they’d feel the need to link it directly back to the events and story arc of the first games & expansion and that would cheapen the legacy of the first storyline.

          I’m more than happy with an ‘heir’ to BG being made – even in the Forgotten Realms setting- but leave the original tale be. Create something new and exciting in its own right that taps into what made the BG series so great in terms of writing, rich characters, interesting environments, genuine player choice that wasnt a gimicky WOOOOAHHH CHOOSE THE FATE OF THE WORRRRLD and so on.

          I’m cautiously optimistic about the two infinity engine KS games for this reason…

  17. Drinking with Skeletons says:

    OK, RPS commentators, now that the (by all accounts superior) part of the BG equation will soon be available, I need some advice.

    I’ve never played BG or BG2, but I do like party-based RPGs. My personal favorite is Neverwinter Nights 2, but that uses the 3.5 ruleset. How does the BG saga compare in terms of mechanics and difficulty? NWN2 got me hooked thanks to copious amounts of information–within the game and manual–to makes sense of even its most complicated systems, letting me feel like I could handle what it was throwing at me. I also appreciated the lenient rules regarding death (not true for Storm of Zehir, but that was intended for people who already understood and loved the system) which didn’t sap the challenge so much as give me enough leeway to develop mastery.

    Would I appreciate BG/BG2, or should I wait and see how Project Eternity turns out?

    • Volcanu says:

      My two pennies worth.

      Difficulty wise BGI is significantly harder than BGII, at least in the early/mid game. I wouldn’t be put off by the mechanics and rules, they arent all that opaque and the manual is pretty comprehensive. At any rate if you are familiar with the core mechanics of the world and D&D universe you should be fine – you dont have to be an expert or (real world) D&D veteran to understand what you are doing.

      I suppose the only things that might seem odd rules wise (off the top of my head) would be minor, like remembering that armour classes are better the lower the value (i.e AC -2 is better than AC4). Im sure other posters can fill you in if anything else might be tricky.

      Other than that diffciulty wise at the higher level encounters, in BGII especially, a lot depends on having good mage and cleric support for your fighters, particularly using mages to strip enemies of their ‘buffs’ and a certain amount of protectign your party from insta-kill spells (sounds scary, but not all that common in the game as a whole and fairly easily avoided with the right preparation).

      In short I had never played anything D&D related when I played BGI as a 12yr old and it was all fairly intuitive or easy to learn through reading descriptions of spells in game or in the manual. So dive in – you’ll be fine, in fact you’ll be more than fine, you’ll have a great time!

      I might reccomend starting with BGII though -its more forgiving in the early stages and is the superior title (even though BGI is great)

      • Drinking with Skeletons says:

        I would want to play them in order, since the characters (or at least the main character) carry over into it. And if the sequel is better I think I might just say “screw it” to the original.

        Interesting that you want a lower armor value. Not only is it the opposite in NWN2, the calculations in NWN2 made it a very simple calculation (you have to do better than the armor value on an Attack roll). Adding negative values seems like it would be more difficult to calculate…if the game wasn’t doing it for you, of course.

        • Volcanu says:

          The system is based on THAC0 (To Hit Armour Class 0) which prevaled in 2nd edition AD&D rules. And you’re right it is a bit confusing to get your head around (hence it being dropped, and kind of reversed in later editions- NWN2 being based on 3rd edition rules I think).

          If you want a better explanantion see this thread

          http://forum.baldursgate.com/discussion/5303/to-thac0-ad-d-confusion

          All that sounds pretty offputting and mind boggling I’ll admit. But the good news, and Im not lying here, you dont need to understand the system at all to play the game properly and know how items work etc. Basically items with a +1, +2, +3 and so on are good things and the bigger the plus the better they are (just like NWN). This includes armour. Full plate +2 is better than Full plate +1, although paradoxically this results in a lower armour class.

          In short a lower armour class is better, thats all you have to remember. Strength, dexterity, constitution all work the same way you’re used to.

          Now, in terms of playthrough Im sure you’re fine to start with BG1 – and its the best way to go if you think you’re fairly likely to want to play through the whole saga. Its a bit slower to get going as you start at level 1 and are basically a weakling until at least level 4 (and you max out around level 7 I think).

          BG II gets going a bit quicker, hence me suggesting that one if you are a little hesitant as to whether you’ll like it. But in all honesty if you liked NWN2 I cant really see how you would’nt love both games. So good luck if you do decide to take the plunge!

          • BooleanBob says:

            I think there’s a whole generation of gamers whose understanding of THAC0 comes exclusively from the Infinity Engine D&D games. As does their inordinate (though equally, affectionate) pride at having mastery over this otherwise useless artifact of P&P arcana.

          • thekelvingreen says:

            Yes, Neverwinter Nights and Icewind Dale II were based on third edition D&D, while the earlier games were based on second edition.

          • Drinking with Skeletons says:

            NWN2 used 3.5, I believe. I’m not sure if that’s a meaningful distinction or not. The only thing about BG that strikes me as being a little disappointing is that I don’t think it has all the ludicrous multi-classing and Prestige Classing of NWN2. When I replayed NWN2 earlier this year, I realized that’s a big part of that system’s appeal.

      • Zekiel says:

        My advice for BG2 would also be to read a guide about how the various protection and anti-protection spells work. Its pretty simple in BG1, but there are lots of spell interactions in BG2 that are not at all intuitive, and not easy to understand just from reading spell descriptions (definitely possible, just not easy). I think Dan Simpson’s amazingly comprehensive guide on Gamefaqs explains it in a mechanics section near the beginning of the guide.

        But the spells are what makes BG2 so amazing. No other RPG I’ve played allows you to do ridiculous things like turning people to stone (permanently), stopping time, setting up spells that trigger on a condition and summoning such a bewildering array of creatures… Good times.

        • timethor says:

          When first playing BG2, I was 14 and my english was rudimentary.

          It wasn’t until the final boss-fight that I found out what that fancy “breach” spell was used for. -_- Basically, my mages only performed damage dealing spells, magic missiles, fireballs, Abi-something’s Horrid Wilting…

          How I ever managed to complete that first playthrough is still a bit of a mystery to me :P

  18. Big Murray says:

    There’s something I just don’t understand about this whole “Enhanced” thing. Why can’t they improve the art assets again?

    I mean, I know the originals were lost, but surely they’re present to some extent within the game files themselves. Isn’t it possible to backwards engineer the assets? It would be a lot more work, and god knows I’m not artistically minded enough to know the technicalities of it, but surely it’s possible to at least do SOMETHING with the backgrounds and such even if it means hiring a new artist to go over each and every one by hand and redraw them in HD using the originals from the game files as a template?

    • Zekiel says:

      Seems to me that the weakest link in the art was the character models. Monsters created for BG2 (like drow, illithids, goblins) looked signifcantly better than ones created for BG1 – which includes all the player avatars. Improving those would be a signifcant benefit.

  19. JFS says:

    “It’ll come with Shadows of Amn [...].”

    Oh, will it? I don’t want to chastise Mr Enhance-O-Matic ™ Pearson for not doing his homework properly, but it was my understanding that Baldur’s Gate 2 has been coming with “Shadows of Amn” all the way since September 24th, 2000…

  20. aliksy says:

    Played BG2, liked it, not sure I could go back to it. D&D is kind of an awful system.

    Not sure if it works in this version, but once you get Wish you can cheese through a bunch of areas. Protection from magical energy + wish for horrid wilting on everyone in the area. Repeat until everything on the map is dead, or you’re only left with things that the spell doesn’t effect. Use project image to get 3-8x more spells per day than you normally would.

    • Zekiel says:

      Sure you can. But you can also use spells in much, much more creative ways. I can’t think of another game that has such potential for creativity in spellcasting. Of course lots of other bits of the system are rubbish (fighters are really, really boring, for instance) but that is mitigated by the fact that you’re playing a whole party.

  21. RProxyOnly says:

    Their first effort still hasn’t been fully fixed. There are still a bunch of rules and kits that haven’t been implimented properly, and they’ve moved on to the second already.

    Money for old rope.. it’s not worth it. This one will be left in the same condition.. yet another halfarsed release from the incompentants at Beamdog.

  22. beridel says:

    Just would like to clarify: Baeloth won’t be coming back as the 4th new NPC. He’s was sort of an easter egg addition to BG:EE and with the return of Black Pits 2: Electric Bugaloo in BG2:EE, it’s been hinted that he’ll be returning in BG2:EE to take care of that instead of helping out Charname.

    The 4th NPC is going to be neutral-aligned female rogue who’s apparently named Hexxat or something like that. You can see her portrait in a few segments of the trailer.

  23. yuri999 says:

    Ah, Jaheria. The elf who set me on the dark path to crushing on older women.

  24. FesterSilently says:

    Eh…I’ll wait for this, Baldur’s gate 2 version. ;)

    http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2013/06/06/mad-mod-recreates-baldurs-gate-in-neverwinter-nights-2/

  25. Nefelibata says:

    I had to purchase the game… I just had to. I had many hours of enjoyment out of Baldur’s Gate 1: EE and I doubt that 2 will be any different. At the cost of coffee and lunch for two, I don’t mind supporting Beamdog.