Baldur’s Gate – Siege of Dragonspear Out Now

More than a decade after the Baldur’s Gate [official site] saga appeared to come to an end, there’s a brand new expansion available to buy right now. I know how this might look – it’s classic April Idiots’ fodder, telling you about a new chapter in a much-loved series and then revealing that all of your favourite characters have been transformed into unicorns or somesuch.

This is real though. You’ll need the Enhanced Edition of the game to play and we’ll have our own judgement on the expansion next week but, for now, here’s a trailer and some details.

Some nice big crowd screens in there, both festive and siege-y. I like that the expansion forms the bridge between the first two Baldur’s Gate games – I don’t think a linking segment was needed but I do like to revisit familiar folks and find out what they were getting up to in any apparent downtime. There are questions to be answered, I’m sure, given the gap between Baldur’s and Baal.

I wish I could play all of Baldur’s Gate for the first time right now. That would be fun. If you’re in that position – and can there be many people who want to play Baldur’s Gate but somehow never have? – avoid the plot synopsis for Siege of Dragonspear. It tells you rather a lot more about Baldur’s Gate 2 than you should know if you’re just starting for the first time.

No plot synopsis here then. Just a bullet list:

A new chapter in the Baldur’s Gate saga
A sharp and subtle adventure that pits you against an enigmatic new foe
Venture through the vibrant new hand-painted areas of the Sword Coast
Import your character from BG:EE and continue the story in BGII:EE
Four new player soundsets to customize your hero
The original cast returns to kick butt for goodness – along with four new additions!
Updated UI and improved Infinity engine features
25+ hours of gameplay
New items, quests, and a new class: the Shaman!
Original soundtrack by Sam Hulick
Functional, extensively tested cross-platform multiplayer on all supported platforms
“Story Mode” difficulty setting to allow players to experience all of the story with none of the Game Over screens

That final point, about the “Story Mode” difficulty, is something I was pleased to see in Dark Souls III when I starter playing for review last week.

And that is how April Fools’ Day works. I lied to you about Dark Souls III and I’ve hidden razor blades in your cereal boxes. HAPPY FOOLS’ DAY

From this site

45 Comments

  1. gschmidl says:

    I played but never finished BG like 16 years ago (could not beat the pre-final battle), so this is the perfect time to replay. I also remember absolutely nothing of it.

    • leeder krenon says:

      same :( 60 odd hours to get there and just couldn’t win. ffs.

      fired up BG enhanced this morning and it’s rather endearing. still waiting to see if i get sucked back in.

      • Detocroix says:

        I just gave everyone (that could use them) bows and explosive arrows and then used mages to throw fireballs and archers to put explosive arrows to edge of the fog of war right before seeing the Mr. S and spammed until the end… I was unable to beat it legit, so I had to improvise :D

      • Audiocide says:

        If you will be playing BG2 for the first time, I truly envy you.

    • Horg says:

      Hoard a couple of Wands of Summoning for the final section. Even the most dangerous enemies in the game are mostly harmless when completely walled in by Gnolls.

      • Zekiel says:

        Yeah it’s a bit anticlimactic that basically the only way to beat the final boss is to cower behind waves of mooks. Saverok is 100% immune to magic and has something like 5 attacks per round with a good hit probability and massive damage so going toe-to-toe with him is suicidal.

        • ElPolloDiablo says:

          I replayed both BG and BG2 last year, for the first time in over a decade. And what I realised now that I’m a bit older and wiser is that magical buffs AND debuffs are crucial elements of the combat system, especially at higher difficulties. Once one gets a hang of it, even the hard fights are quite doable.

          • ansionnach says:

            Exactly. Any RPG with complex battle mechanics that you can win easily using regular attacks is pretty pointless. Why design a battle system and never make use of it?

    • Freud says:

      I surrounded Drizzt Do’Urden with summoned skeletons, killed him and took his swords. That probably mean I beat the game.

      Save game is lost in time, like tears in rain.

  2. Premium User Badge

    keefybabe says:

    I keep trying but I tend to just stop and I don’t even know why. Time to commit I think.

  3. Premium User Badge

    Erayos says:

    I’m kind of sad about the “story mode” in Dark Souls III being a lie, it looks like the Souls lore and universe building is great, and I’d definitely want to experience it, but for some reason I can’t find any motivation to learn how to play/succeed in the games.

    • GameCat says:

      It already have “story mode”. It’s called Jolly Co-Op and it’s glorious.

      \[T]/

    • Unsheep says:

      I don’t think that would help much. The people who have covered the storylines extensively, gamers like EpicNameBro and VaatiVidya, can still only rely on guess-work and speculation as to what the storyline actually is.

      The fact that the characters in these games might be lying to you or have an inaccurate view of stories and events, makes it even harder to decipher things.

    • Zelos says:

      Dark Souls does not have a coherent story. The atmosphere is great, and they do a solid job of building the world using minimalist tools, but Dark Souls is all about the gameplay.

      A “story mode” wouldn’t make any more sense than it would in Mario. There needs to be a challenge or it’s pointless. You should just watch a lets play or something.

      • Premium User Badge

        Erayos says:

        Yeah I made a mistake in my comment, I didn’t mean “story mode” as in “let me see the story”, I guessed the story isn’t the most important thing. I really meant “let me take a walk in the game and let me discover the world of the game”, with super easy fights or even no ennemies at all. I know it’s probably weird, but I’m almost sure that’s the kind of game I wouldn’t dislike as walking simulators.

        And since I’ve bought the two dark souls, I have to find a way to experience them, even if it’s not by playing them the right way.

        • Unclepauly says:

          Or you could up your dose of testosterone and play the game how it’s meant to be played?

        • DrollRemark says:

          There’s got to be some kind of god mode/infinite health hack available for it?

          • WiggumEsquilax says:

            Yeah, you can download so called “trainer” programs that give you tens of thousands of HP.

            Problem is that being an unsupported hack, the game doesn’t recognize their presence. If you get drug into a PvP fight you’ll have an enormous and unfair advantage.

            Play your game as you like in single player, but please turn the trainers off before going online.

  4. Unsheep says:

    Since there are actual Steam reviews of this [already?] I assume this is not an April Fools’ joke. Should the former be the case I hope it will arrive on GOG, where it belongs, as I’m doubtful it will appeal to mainstream gamers.

    • TheWhippetLord says:

      Yep, it’s ‘Coming Soon’ on GoG, and ‘available now from GoG’ on the Beamdog site.
      link to gog.com
      Other options offered on site: direct purchase, Steam, Limited Wish.*

      *Arcane casters only.**
      **Not actually offered by Beamdog, this was a lie.

  5. damoqles says:

    No need for absolutely every game to pander to absolutely everybody.

    • wu wei says:

      How does having an easy mode in the game impact on your enjoyment of the harder version in any way?

      “Pandering”…ffs.

      • Unclepauly says:

        Right? Having an easy mode doesn’t take away from his enjoyment of harder difficulties in any way whatsoever. I don’t understand people who get jealous about things that don’t even affect them.

      • Abndn says:

        Resources spent that could have been spent on making the game better.

        Compromised online mode, split player base for online gameplay.

        Diminished gameplay experience due to several of the core gameplay loops being reliant on difficulty to achieve the intended effect on the player.

        People writing poor reviews/criticism of the game based on the easy mode, which could not be an authentic Dark Souls experience.

        Director’ vision compromised: one of the only developers sticking to their guns and presenting a specific experience you are welcome to play or not play giving in to people who insist that every video game must cater to them personally.

        I could probably come up with a few more.

        • Premium User Badge

          DelrueOfDetroit says:

          Because we all know it costs at least $8 million to change the HP values of enemies.

        • rustybroomhandle says:

          Although, let’s be fair … all the reasons you could possibly come up with solely exist to distract people from the real reason people might be upset about an additional game mode: elitist bullshit.

        • qrter says:

          For a substantial amount of people ‘making the game better’ means adding an easy mode.

          Besides – what’s the point of spending all those resources, if you end up limiting your paying audience to a small contingent of joyless difficulty junkies?

    • Geewhizbatman says:

      I agree. The super hardcore community should get a stepping down with the inclusion of easier modes. That way maybe more exposure to other people will help them remember to smile again, without having to pwn anything in the process.

  6. PancakeWizard says:

    Don’t get me wrong, I love what Beamdog have done with the Enhanced Editions as far as tweaking/repairing what was there but when it comes to original content they haven’t impressed me much. I’ve still got White March, Witcher 3, Shadowrun: HK and Staglands in my RPG backlog. This just wont get a look in before they end up sticking it on sale, unfortunately.

  7. TheWhippetLord says:

    Nice to see that they named the PC in their video Abdel in honour of the er, memorable tie-in novels, as (not very) endorsed by Richard Cobbett.

    link to richardcobbett.com

    • Premium User Badge

      Grizzly says:

      The Tales of the Sword Coast expansion had a pre-saved file in it where the main protagonist was also named Abdel – It goes back a long way.

      If you truly wanted to do a proper homage you’d name the guy Adahn!

  8. Plake says:

    its good that those “news” appeared days ago on different sites already. has nothing to do with Aprils fools…

  9. Don Reba says:

    Pretty sure the game’s description in Steam was written by a Lisp programmer.

    Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition™ includes:
    ····the entire Baldur’s Gate adventure,
    ····the Tales of the Sword Coast expansion pack,
    ····and never-before-seen content including:
    ········a new adventure and
    ········three new party members:
    ············the Calishite monk Rasaad yn Bashir,
    ············Neera the wild mage,
    ············and Dorn Il-Khan, the evil blackguard.

  10. Premium User Badge

    DelrueOfDetroit says:

    Adam, I really respect you as a person and find your writing to be on par with literature’s greatest masters.

    APRIL FOOLS

  11. malkav11 says:

    They’ve knocked the Enhanced Edition that you need to play this down to $5 (or whatever 75% off would be in your local currency) on Steam for the occasion, by the way. I ended up getting that finally (not the hugest fan of the original BG, though II is magic), but will wait to see how Siege of Dragonspear is received before I snaffle that. Still working on Pillars of Eternity anyhow.

    • Premium User Badge

      DelrueOfDetroit says:

      I’m curious as to why they released this as an expansion as opposed to just a stand-alone release.

      • Morte66 says:

        Me too.

        Also, whilst one can import a save into it, I don’t seem to have my 16 year old BG1 final save handy anymore. Not sure if a non-enhanced save would work anyhow.

  12. Wormerine says:

    I am not sure how I feel about it. It would be a dream come true 10 years ago. If its any good at least there is now a reason to invest into enhanced edition (never played those but from what I’ve heard additional content is weak, and the improvements can mostly be achieved in the original release with some simple mods.)

    Still need to beat White March part II and 3rd act if Pillars so this can wait unless the reviewers will sing praises from the rooftops.

    • Premium User Badge

      Angstsmurf says:

      Nah, you can’t get the same smooth experience by modding the original version. Definitely not on non-Windows. There are small improvements everywhere that add up. The latest update finally fixes the more glaring bugs, such as stuck quest descriptions in the journal, and there are mods that deal with the remaining annoyances, such as the new movies and new NPC:s.

  13. Zekiel says:

    I’m well past Baldur’s Gate now but I admit to a frisson of excitement hearing new lines from David Warner in that trailer. Irenicus was the best thing in BG2, and that is really saying something.

  14. bill says:

    “I wish I could play all of Baldur’s Gate for the first time right now. That would be fun. ”

    BG2 maybe, but BG1 is pretty much a dull characterless grind if you’re playing it for the first time these days and don’t have nostalgia to support you.

    • qrter says:

      I played BG (well, part of it) for the first time last year.. I was really disappointed by how lifeless the world felt, especially when compared to something like Planescape: Torment.

      Haven’t gotten around to trying BG2, yet.