Baldur’s Gate is one of my favorite role playing games of all time. This game was the spark which ignited my life long interest in the PC RPG genre. BG is without a doubt an exceptional game. After recently replaying Baldur’s Gate, it certainly has withstood the test of time. The artistic style of the game also still feels fresh, as 2 dimensional backgrounds are paired with a top down isometirc perspective. The tactical combat play style and forced plot driven ethical dilemmas are woven together perfectly to continually force the protagonist to make difficult and game altering decisions.
The story begins with mysterious circumstances forcing the young protagonist from his humble home in Candle Keep, and then thrusts the player into the violent region known as the Sword Coast. The open world is vast with several playable maps filled with quests, secrets, puzzles and adventures all woven into a wonderful overarching plot.
Even though the game was released in 1998, it still does manages to achieve something that very few RPG’s accomplish today – create depth. Baldur’s Gate creates depth within the story while still leaving room for fantasy as well as levity. The writing has always and continues to be one of its most captivating characteristics.
BG is a D&D campaign. This may pose a steep learning curve for gamers who are unfamiliar with the genre, and its respective game play mechanics. BG avoids filling the game with the standard pitfalls of the genre. Pitfalls such as the monotonous experience grind of filled with the all of the expected repetitive tasks. Gone are the Kill 10 Kobalts, collect 20 spiderwebs quests. Nor are there copious, escort random character quests who’s AI pathing inevitably makes the player wish death upon NPC, type quests. Baldur’s Gate instead chooses to create quests that are additive to the overall story arc. These experiences slowly build the worlds atmosphere, which in turn leads to a more immersive experience.
The voice acting for the game is fantastic, and set the standard for what was to be expected within the genre. Minsc and Boo will always rank among the most memorable of party companions. It is very easy to comprehend why this was the first true success for Bioware.
I would emphatically recommend Baldur’s Gate to any gamer looking to dive into a unique and memorable adventure. Steam currently sells Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition, the Tales of the Sword Coast expansion, Baldur’s Gate: Siege of Dragonspear as well as Baldur’s Gate II: Enhanced Edition. These Enhanced Editions include updated graphics, new features bug fixes, three new party members and Steam achievements.
- Game of the Year (IGN, 1998)
- Game of the Year (Computer Gaming World, 1998)
- Game of the Year (RPG Vault, 1998)
- Best Computer Role-Playing Game (PC Gamer US, 1998)
- Best Computer Role-Playing Game (GDC, 1998)
- Best Computer Role-Playing Game (Computer Gaming World, 1998)
- Computer Role-Playing Game of the Year (Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences, 1998)