Sarevok's Death Was Just the Beginning...
I have a confession to make. It's not something I'm terribly proud of, and it'll likely cause me to lose a little bit of credibility in your eyes, but I feel it's something that most definitely needs to be said. Alright, here goes nothing: until about a year ago, I'd never played Baldur's Gate or Baldur's Gate II; this was in spite of the fact that I technically grew up during the "golden era" of PC RPGs. I was too busy playing Megaman X and its ilk to really be bothered, I suppose.
Anyway, I discovered both games not so long ago, when I came across a D&D collection on sale at EB Games. I figured twenty dollars was a pretty good price for some of the best RPGs ever made, so I picked it up and happily trotted home, discs in hand. I can say beyond any shadow of a doubt that it was one of the best purchases I ever made. I still regularly play and enjoy every one of those titles today, though certain elements (such as the path-finding in Baldur's Gate) have aged rather poorly.
You can imagine my excitement, then, when I discovered Beamdog's plans to revitalize both titles, along with my subsequent disappointment when the entire process hit a brick wall as a result of legal issues. Thankfully, the legal snafu surrounding the series has been sorted, and Beamdog is back on schedule; it plans to release Baldurs Gate II: Enhanced Edition on November 15.
For those of you who haven't played Baldur's Gate II, it picks up shortly after the original. Your character has just managed to take down the demigod Sarevok, saving the entire Sword Coast from certain destruction. After celebrating your victory in the titular city of Baldur's Gate, you're set upon by assassins, who shortly thereafter deliver you into the hands of the dark wizard Irenicus, who plans to drain your divine power for his own insidious means (it's a long story).
Throne of Bhaal, meanwhile, is set immediately after Irenicus's defeat, and concerns the rise of a veritable army of Bhaalspawn whose very existence threatens to bring about the rebirth of the Lord of Murder; the dark god Bhaal.
Here's hoping they'll copy over the player's party as well as their character this time – I'm sure it was a little jarring for many to find themselves captured alongside a number of characters they'd either never traveled with or killed in the previous title.
It's set to be a pretty meaty offering. According to Beamdog, this Enhanced Edition –which will include both Shadows of Amn and Throne of Bhaal – will offer somewhere around 350,000 new lines of dialogue. The new characters introduced in the first Enhanced Edition (Rasaad yn Bashir, Neera, Dorn Il-Khan, and Baeloth) will all be making return appearances, and each character will have a whole host of spin-off quests and additional, related content.
Baldurs Gate II: Enhanced Edition, of course, will include all the expected mechanical updates, as well – the graphics and interface will be receiving a visual upgrade, while the game's controls will be tweaked and optimized to work on mobile platforms. Even better, the PC and Mac versions of the game will come bundled with The Black Pits 2: Gladiators of Thay, a high-level, intensely tactical dungeon that will test the mental limits of even the most hardcore D&D players. This additional dungeon – along with the new characters and the new set of quests – Will be available as DLC for the mobile versions.
Last, but certainly not least, Beamdog will be incorporating multiplayer alongside everything else. That might not sound like much by today's standards, until you recall that the original Baldur's Gate II doesn't really offer support for multiplayer without the use of third-party software.
This November, those of you who've not gotten the chance, will be able to experience one of the greatest RPGs of all time, the game that effectively put BioWare on the map. What's more, with updated graphics, a better interface, and hours upon hours of new content, Baldurs Gate II: Enhanced Edition will be a steal at any price.
A gamer at heart, Nick started writing when he was a child. He holds a BA in English, works as a freelancer, and loves every minute of it. One day, he hopes to net himself a career in game design - but that's something for the future.
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