Brrrrrr! Icewind Dale Enhanced Edition Blows In

Chilling conversation.

There is a man, I like to think, a man named Dale. His cool demeanour is known throughout his small home town in the American Midwest. Now, Dale’s not unfriendly by any means, he just doesn’t have time for idle chit-chat. He mostly comes into town on business, breezing through with a tip of his hat. Icewind Dale, they call him. Dale doesn’t understand why he’s seeing online ads calling him Icewind Dale: Enhanced Edition. And he’s out now? Heck, Dale’s been out since the Nixon administration.

No Dale, you silly goose! Icewind Dale: Enhanced Edition is a revamped re-release of Black Isle Studios’ old Infinity Engine RPG from 2000, and it launched yesterday.

The Enhanced Edition fixes up the old game a bit while also expanding it. It restores and recreates several hours of content cut from the original release (thanks to work by modders), adds a Story Mode with easier combat (though I’m told combat is the best bit of Icewind Dale), brings cross-platform co-op, has an improved UI, supports higher resolutions, offers new items to collect, and ports a load of classes, races, kits, spells over from Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition. This big old PDF says more about all that.

GOG or Beamdog for £12.49, or Steam for £14.99. Only Steam has the Linux version, mind. It’s also on Android pocket things for £6.99, and coming to iThings too. It is, however, entirely free to play with pen, paper, and your imagination.

34 Comments

  1. aliksy says:

    I really wish there were more big combat adventure games that didn’t use old, crappy versions of D&D. Dying in one hit because of a goblin’s lucky arrow isn’t fun.

    • botd says:

      This is obviously spoken by someone who hasn’t actually played the game. There are enough noncombat quests to level you out of this danger zone quickly and really, Black Isle made the early combat very survivable. Of course if you are sending your mage into melee then of course he is going to die.

      • Hex says:

        I’m guessing he played Baldur’s Gate. My first several attempts at BG before giving up and using a guide (until I got bored and quit because it’s really not that gripping, these days) resulted in insta-deaths immediately after that scene where your adoptive father buys the farm.

        Pretty rude.

      • aliksy says:

        I played the game. It’s a shitty system. Arrows are what, 1d6 x3 on a crit? Wizards have a base hp of 4, I think? So you can still die from a single arrow until 3rd or 4th level. That’s terrible. Especially when there are a whole lot of things shooting at you, it’s pretty inevitable some of them will come up crits.

        It also seemed like the most effective strategy was kiting and bows. Melee combat was a lot of whiffing and watching.

      • gummybearsliveonthemoon says:

        I tried to play it once, was excited, didn’t realize you made your own party. I made a whole party, wrote up stories for them in the game and everything, and then started… I was immediately disappointed, but it was my own fault. I was expecting big characters like in Planescape. They were so small, and the combat was so fast and Diablo-style, I died instantly and realized I sucked at it.

        I went from there to that steampunk game, whatever its name was, Arcanum? Excited for it. Then I read things about the mechanics and how weapon skills were raised by numbers of hits not damage, so a character using a tiny knife to needle an enemy would raise higher. Then I read more about the broken mechanics, and quit.

        Then, I went back to replay Planescape.

  2. BobbyDylan says:

    Looks good, but please make Fallout 1 and Fallout 2 EE now.

  3. Prolar Bear says:

    I know a Dale guy myself, real nice fella. Met him in my small hometown in the Pacific Northwest. One day he went into the woods and never came back.

    • Monkeyshines says:

      My name is Dale and I grew up in Seattle. Once I borrowed $20 and then disappeared into the woods.

      • Loyal_Viggo says:

        But you came back, right? I mean, you obviously have internet access so you can’t still be lost in the woods, can you?

        I’m about to launch a flare. There, can you see that? We’ll get you out.

  4. FlopsyTheBloodGod says:

    Beamdog really don’t seem to have added enough to IWD to make it worth an old fan investing in this, as far as I can see. This old fan, anyway.
    So far (as far as I can see) the biggest difference between their Infinity Engine games and the originals+fan mods is that with the fan widescreen mod the graphics aren’t scaled, so you see more of the fancy backgrounds at a time (giving a nice sense of epic scale) but the PCs and NPCs are smaller.
    The Beamdog version just seems to enlarge everything up to the size it was on release, which lets you see more detail on the characters but looked blurry to me – as bad as GFX card/ monitor scaling.
    I really don’t know which version would be best for a new player, or even if it’s worth giving it a go at this price. You can get get a lot of game for £12.50 nowadays. Is there an audience of people who want to play these games but never have, and are suddenly ready to throw cash about?
    Whichever version you try IWD is worth a go though, especially if you have any fondness for DnD or The Forgotten Realms. They both have good stories. Beamdog will have done a good thing if they get new folk to experience the joys of IWD.
    (Apologies for rambling on longer than OP :) )

    • Gilead says:

      I never got all the way through Icewind Dale when it was first released, but when I tried it again a while back even with the widescreen patch I could not stop any white background in the game from flickering hideously, which as you can imagine is really annoying considering the setting, to the extent that I couldn’t continue.

      So I’ll probably be picking this up when it’s on sale just so I can go through the game without developing epilepsy.

    • Orillion says:

      I actually solved this problem myself with a simple program.
      link to gog.com

      Zoomed in AND crisp, if blocky.

  5. Hieronymusgoa says:

    Icewind Dale was ages ago but as far as i remember it I was much more invested in the story of Baldurs Gate (not hard, i know). Though fighting in general and getting levels on a regular basis seemed much more fleshed out in Icewind Dale. I “dearly” remember the mentioned death-by-one-arrow problem in Baldurs Gate for some time, while it wasn’t a big problem in Icewind Dale since you got away from the lowest levels much faster.

    • Horg says:

      I don’t really see the fragility of the low level characters as a problem. In BG at the low levels, temples are easy to find and resurrection was very cheap. You could afford a few deaths as long as it wasn’t the main character, so starting completely green and working your way up to fighting shape was part of the game system and narrative. Now having a party member get petrified, then rage quit after you Stone to Flesh on them because the game engine treated petrification as if you had kicked them from the group, that wasn’t fun.

  6. Chmilz says:

    So in Canada it’s CAN$21.99 on Steam, US$19.99 on GOG, or US$9.99 on Android. WTF? Why not $9.99 across the board? I guess I’ll wait for a sale since this is price gouging PC players.

    • Premium User Badge

      DelrueOfDetroit says:

      The Steam version is less than from GOG after exchange.

  7. Pich says:

    or just wait when the original is dirty cheap on gog and apply the mods

    • Chmilz says:

      I did that. And at various points the game always breaks, and I can’t progress. I’ve wasted probably 30-40 hours in the game and inevitably keep getting to points where the mods fail. I’ll just buy this version when it’s on sale, and I recommend you do the same.

  8. Brinx says:

    Considering I never modded IWD as extensively as Baldurs Gate (My completely customised installation of Baldurs Gate Trilogy took aproximately a day to install and it will never leave my hard drive.) I might as well get it for the extra content.

  9. newc0253 says:

    I replayed IWD and IWD2 earlier this year. These are not games that need an enhanced addition, and certainly not the weak-tea of Beamdog’s previous efforts on the BG series.

    These are games which deserve a decent spiritual successor or two.

  10. Big Murray says:

    Playing Baldur’s Gate without all the party interaction is like hiring a hooker without any of the sex.

  11. Core says:

    Both Icewind Dale games are also recreated with neverwinter nights mods too if anyone is interested. Should be fairly easy to find in google. I played both mod versions to completion few years ago and didn’t run into any problems.

    • Not Marvelous says:

      How can anybody sacrifice IWD’s beautiful art, backgrounds and UI for that monstrosity I will never understand. But to each her own, I guess.

      I am actually still trying to accommodate myself to the very minor changes in IWD:EE (like color codes and the little action icons), and not sure if the functionality is worth it (!). And I zoom in to original IWD levels immediately every time I load a game. We are petty creatures when it comes to our favorite things.

      The positive change (I think) I am noticing are the stronger colors of the character models, they remind me of old Hollywood stuff like Adventures of Robin Hood. Why yes I want my bard to be in deep purple garments. Unfortunately armors make everything faint and metallic, and spells make you kinda grey. Still nice. …I really love my Dale.