Baldur's Gate 2: Shadows of Amn

 
List Price: $54.95

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Product Description

Baldur's Gate II takes the RPG experience to a higher level with the best in fantasy gaming. Gameplay enhancing features include 3D support, dazzling new spell effects, improved multiplayer capabilities, subquests based on class, new classes, and a new character race.

It's not easy being a child of a god. Your character quickly comes to this conclusion after being imprisoned and tortured by a wizard with an unhealthy interest in your parentage. So begins Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn, an ambitious role-playing game based on the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons game.

Shadows of Amn is not really a sequel to Baldur's Gate. Instead, Baldur's Gate was merely a prelude to Shadows of Amn. Shadows of Amn develops the plot lines, characters, and events introduced in the first game into a mature, genuinely interesting fantasy tale. Players who thought the original game shallow will be pleasantly surprised by Shadows of Amn's bold story arcs. Major events are afoot, and the characters' choices have a real impact on the Forgotten Realms.

In the same way, Baldur's Gate served as a proving ground for the refined game mechanics evident in Shadows of Amn. The game's artificial intelligence has been vastly improved, and players have many more choices for NPC AI scripts and party communication. Keeping with Shadows of Amn's more mature theme, the party interaction even includes possible love interests for your character.

Those who played through the original Baldur's Gate can import their character into Shadows of Amn, or can choose to create a new character. Character kits such as the Mageslayer and Swashbuckler add variety, and the game even includes the Monk, Sorcerer, Barbarian, and Half-Orc options from the new Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Edition rules. Whether you import an old character or create a new one, you'll begin the game as a fairly advanced character--unlike most RPGs, you won't have to spend hours slaying puny critters and instead are plunged into a high-stakes plot against powerful foes.

A strong plot backed by strong technology makes Shadows of Amn stand out as one of the best RPGs we've ever played. Fans of AD&D will love the classic AD&D feel, and fans of the popular Forgotten Realms setting will delight in the people, places, and politics found in Shadows of Amn. --Michael Fehlauer

Pros:

  • High-level power gaming
  • Quality voice work
  • Improves the already great Baldur's Gate interface
  • Character kits and D&D 3rd Edition races and classes add variety
  • Advances the plot begun in Baldur's Gate
Cons:
  • Based on obsolete AD&D 2nd Edition rules
  • Character animations are stiff
  • Player's character starts out less powerful than other party members


In Baldur's Gate 2: Shadow of Amn, you face an uncertain future, with a lineage that tempts the unscrupulous to use you and the ignorant to fear you. You will face a foe that views you as no more than chattel and that toys with you at every turn; a villain whose goals go beyond a quest for power and who threatens to use a lost companion as a tool for unparalleled destruction. The choices to be made will not be easy, and you may have to align with the lesser of evils, even though all evils cannot help but seem equal. In the end you will have mourned lost loves, celebrated new ones, and had adventures that profoundly shaped the Realms.

Customer Reviews:

  • Best game in existence
    This is the best game I have played in my life. I have played about a few dozen rpg games starting from the Pool of Radiance series on the Commodore 64, and this game is the best. I am just simply voting here and this is not really meant to help people know what the game is about....more info
  • It rox
    I just liked it alot. Rich character development and intresting plot are prevalent in this title. Le Engine est mort, Viva le Baldur's Gate Engine!

    So far, I am really sick of these weak all 3d RPG offerings. The engines are so cumbersome, its like learning an alien language. Prefabs [disappoint], especially when they are used et infinitum ala Neverwinter Nights. Really, these are not pen-and-paper RPGS; to use a palette of structure and items requires both an excellent plot and excellent item interaction.

    Hmm, this review turned into one for Neverwinter Nights... Oh well....more info

  • Too many distractions
    This game is similar, but vastly inferior to Arcanum. It would nonetheless be a very fun game if not for the fact that you are constantly "roped" into new missions. In Arcanum, if you want to find a new mission, you talk to someone and prompt them for a mission. In this game, right while you are in the middle of another mission, you will get approached, over and over again, with requests to do new missions. Before you know what happens, you have 5 missions in your queue and the clock is ticking on all of them (in some cases, travelmates will die if you don't solve the mission quickly enough). And for every mission you finish, it seems you get two more that you have to do. At a certain point, I just found myself so buried in missions that I quit playing. I had totally forgotten what I was doing in some of the earlier missions and I just realized that it wasn't any fun any more. I think if you use a walkthrough guide to make sure you finish your missions more quickly, then maybe it wouldn't be such a burden to play....more info
  • the new order
    Baldur's Gate 2 - One of the greatest game i had pleasure of having and playing. The ability to have a party that interacts with you and your decisions is unbelieavable. With a sharp turn around every corner of the story this game is undoubtedly deserves 5 starts. With the great history of Dungeons and Dragons this is a great accomplishment done by Black Isle Studios. If you are a fan of Dungeons and Dragons' games this is a must by for you. ---- Janos Horvath...more info
  • totally submersive and worth every cent!!!
    The graphics are MINT, The gameplay is endless due to the virtually unlimited number of the characters and their specialties and strengths. Through skill and careful planning, you can guide each character you create to achieving high experience levels. The game has many features to customize it to your exact liking. Easy or hard. Through the add-on packs and the available editors you can download from fan sites, the possibilities are endless. I found an editor to modify the artificial intelligence of the non player controlled characters!
    Buy all the baldur's gate games and play them through from the beginning for maximum fun. Also, don't forget to try Icewind dale. In fact, I recommend doing Icewind dale first if your new to RPG's because the story is more focused and shorter so you can learn the basics of RPG before you jump into something as VAST and ENDLESS as Baulders....more info
  • Not very much changed...luckily
    Baldur's Gate is a first-class game, so why change the formula in the sequal? Yea, you can fight with two weapons at a time now, but who cares? I still use only one. Graphics didn't change that much in my eyes, so it's actually the same game with another story-line. But the story - because of that I fell in love with BG - is again very good. I saw someone complaining that the bad guy (I forgot his name) is too evil..well, did you expect that the bad guy just sold illegal armor or something? I didn't really like that beginning part - there in those underground mines - but the rest is again amazing. Someone complained you don't know how strong the monsters are if you want to attack... doesn't that make it more real. It's kind of silly if you see a number above his head or something.. It's an addictive game and I wished my copy of it didn't brake (just like my copy of BG1). I love this game (maybe because it's one of the few games I'm really good at), it's perfect just like the first BG. Buy it, the game is cheap these days.....more info
  • Highly addictive and can be played forever
    Longetivity is a word that is underestimated in the PC gaming world, Championship manager and Baldurs Gate are 2 examples of games which can be played forever, especially with all the add on's and unofficial extras. The graphics seem a little weak at first but soon it grows on you and you are immersed in the intelligent plot and strong characters.

    Buy it if you like role playing games. Its the best...more info

  • An Improvement over the First.
    This game is great, while trying and challenging, it is fun and dynamic enough to keep you riveted. The rewards and dynamism of the characters allows you to enjoy the game, as well as the actions of the characters in it. The places you travel to and visit are unique and well thought through as well. You may be stuck in a dungeon for a while, but the reward for success is not too little nor too much, but just right.

    Still being able to control each movement and roll down to the core should you choose, no battle is unbeatable. For fans of Baldur's Gate, this sequel is wonderful....more info
  • One of the greatest games ever
    I bought Baldur's Gate II when it first came out so long ago now, and not only was it a great gaming experience back then it still amuses me today. This game has an enormous amount of depth. If you go through this game five times with a guide you still won't be able to find everything. It seems every little peasent walking by is actually a gateway to a quest.

    Half the fun of this game is creating a perfect party. You only create the main character in your party which you do by picking gender, then race, then class, (their are also kits which are classes within classes), you choose stats then skills and so on until you get a wonderful custom character which is quite unique. The you recruit characters from around the world, some from Baldur's Gate 1, some new. All of them are wonderfully done characters good, evil, naive, insane (yeah I'm looking at you Jan), all very well done and they do a great job of interacting with you your party members and situations around you. You'll find yourself playing through againg just to find out how Keldorn feels about you working for the shadow thieves.

    While the game does a good job of making sure you don't do anything to screw up the main quest (like killing someone important) you can do just about anything else. Though the main storyline is good you'll find yourself doing a lot of side quests which are usually fun and challanging (the game as a whole is very challanging). Fighting in this game is very intense. Even the largest battles are unlikely to last over 30 seconds. You can pause the battle at anytime by hitting the space button, which you will have to do because during any normal battle you will need: Your warriors attacking the correct enemy ready to pull back when their health falls to low, your mages launching spells trying not to nail your own guys with area of effect spells, and keeping their own magical shields up so they aren't archered down, your clerics need to heal your warriors without being hurt themselves, and you thieves weaving in and out of battle trying to cause as much anarchy as possible. For this reason the game really is really hard on beginners. Even an experienced player finds himself re-loading constantly when a demi-lich casts imprisonment on your main-character or a red dragon manages to get a breath attack off killing both your mages and cleric in one shot. I almost wouldn't recommend it for anyone without at least some RPG exp. because you'll get really frustrated fast.

    The dialog in this game is absolutely fantastic. You get to choose what you say and they give you enough dialog for pretty much everyone, and conversations can be loads of fun as you try and talk yourself out of all sorts of situations, and in the end fail and have to cut everyones head off. I must say this has one of the best storylines ever. My single favorite thing about this game however is the humor. This game is not a comedy by a long shot. In fact it can get quite serious, but their are some parts such as when Edwin turns himself into a girl on his quest for omnipotence or when Jan steals Minsc hamster, boo, (which Minsc believes to be a miniature giant space hamster) even the occasional witty banter had my sides aching with laughter. I spit several cans worth of pop on my keyboard too. Plus it was good that the creaters had a sense of humor about the game having several quests that would poke fun at the games limitations and the seriousness of the storyline. Overall I can say this was one of the greatest games I ever bought and probably one of the greatest games ever made....more info

  • Amazing characters; A game that is close to my heart.
    Baldur's Gate 2 is a labor of love. It is a rich, staggering epic (to coin a term) that only gets better with repeated play, as you discover new class-specific subplots and new NPC interactions. The characters are the most believably alive, the most richly endearing cast I have ever seen in a game. The writing and especially the voice acting (villain Jon Irenicus must be heard to be believed) rivals the acting in my favorite movies. The NPC's are complex individuals, and any illusion of stereotypes is abolished once you get to know them. The NPC's travel with you and react to situations in their own way; although you control their actions in combat, they have their own opinions and will leave your party if what you're doing strongly opposes their own moral alignments.

    Baldur's Gate 2 is more than professional, more than "entertainment product," although it IS smashingly good fun. It is artful. It is alive with possiblities. It is a game that you will cherish....more info

  • BG 2, so much to do, so little time.
    An ... amazing game. I may even go so far as to say an astounding game, possibly even an astonishing game. It kicks some serious...
    Theres just so much to do, it is very difficult to do everything. Besides the obvious plot of 'Rescue Friend, Kill Enemy' there are many many side plots to play. There are also different classes to be, such as Monk, Sorcerer, Fighter, Thief and moe besides. Each of these have a special quest of their own to complete adding to the length of the game. You can be male or female, chose from different races such as Elves, humans, halflings and more, and each will affect your transition through the game.
    With the possiblility of being male or female comes the surprising twist of forming in game relationships between the Player Charicter (PC)ad the Non Player Charicters(NPC). This may sound tacky, and slightly sad, but can be immensly fun, and strangly satisfying.
    As close to walking around bashing Orcs and Dragons as most of us are ever likely to get.
    How can I put this... BUY THIS NOW!...more info
  • Best Game Ever is an Understatement
    I got this game in X-Mas of Last year. I am still playing it. The branches the story takes you on are varied and fun. The company AI and the fact that each person has there own story is amazing. Different party members interact differently to you and the world. Their are different paths you can take which determine whether you become good or evil. If you want an engrossing story and cast of Characters, BUY THIS GAME!!!!!!!!!!!...more info
  • One of the best RPGs out there
    This game is, in one word, simply a great game (oops that's 4). This is one of those games that you start and you just feel like finishing (although i don't recommend it in one sitting as it takes quite a while to finish). With the ability to create the character of your dreams, or you could (as I did) re-create the Lord of the Rings characters with the abilities to create your own portraits and sound file for the characters you play with. You can be anywhere from a blood-thirsty barbarian half-orc, to a bruce lee of a monk.

    The games starts you out in a dungeon when you need to escape, and as you learn more and more about your situation, you meet new characters, embark on a number of quests, and forge unique and powerful artifacts from pieces you find around the globe. This game has enough twists and turns to keep just about anyone interested and occupied for quite some time.

    Not only is this game one heck of a fun game, but you don't need the latest, state of the art computers to play it. It runs fine on my 350Mhz pentium II, with 160MB of ram (although it would run smoothly with less), and a 2MB video card.

    Then, when you finish the game, and all of the fun seems to have ended, a new world is opened with the multiplayer game. Yes, the multiplayer is the same game as the single player, but you have the ability to make allies and destroy your enemies. Not only that, but you don't have the hassle of having to control 6 guys, you only have to control one.

    Overall this game has to be just about the greatest, if not the greatest, RPG on the market and is well worth your money. Any computer gamer would be overjoyed to have this game....more info

  • Good Follow Up To BG1
    The game, overall, was great. The graphics are a little better than the original, but for the most part it looks the same. Great artwork and the musical score isn't too bad. The world is MUCH bigger than the first game, so if you like the big world and lots of little quests, this is a good game for you. The story is again very well thought out and the addition of personal side quests for every character makes it hard to just say "I don't want that person" and just walk on like in the first game. There are lots of throw backs to the first game which a lot of times are amusing (if you played the first one). The stronghold idea is also cool and makes for a little more substance to the game. My main flaw with the game was that they still used 2nd edition rules basically. They did add some 3rd to it, but regardless, 2nd was the primary ruleset used and that is why it got a four star review. If you can get past that, it is quite a good game and gave me hours and hours of enjoyment. I have beaten it multiple times and I love bringing the character I worked on in BG1 into the second one to work on it further. Makes it feel more like your own person in the game....more info
  • Why BG2?
    I've played and beaten BG2 and Neverwinter Nights. My first game was neverwinter nights and i was soon addicted to rpgs ( and Extended Play, Now X play on Tech TV, Everybody better watch Adam!). For christmas i recieved BG2. What did I think of the two? BG2 was way better! Although I found that NN had better graphics BG2 had way better plot and character developement. BG2 also seemed( How can I say it?) More busy. You seemed to be getting more interactions with other charachters, more places to see and explore, and you character seemed to be getting cooler buy the minute (hey you can turn into a frigen' monster). BG2 was like walking into a book that you controlled. I loved NN but RB2 is my easy first pick. Don't agree with me? Well I understand everybody looks for different things in games. Yours may be different than mine....more info
  • The best RPG... ever?
    The original Baldur's Gate is what turned me on to PC RPGs. Always a fan of console RPGs, I wasn't sure what to expect when I picked it up. What I got was a game that seemed to address every problem I'd ever had with other RPGs. The world was deep and engrossing, the characters superbly realized, the combat fun and strategic, and the story and sheer volume of content allowed me to do many things in whatever sequence I wanted. Take all of that and make it about three times better, and you have Baldur's Gate 2, in my opinion quite possibly the finest RPG ever crafted.

    If you want to see everything there is to see, and do everything there is to do in the Forgotten Realms, be prepared to drop at least 100 hours into this game. It's that big. Of course, you can stick to the main storyline only and complete the game in less than half that time if you want to, but for die-hard role-players like me, this game is a dream come true. After completing the dungeon in which the game begins, you find yourself in a gigantic, wide-open world with dozens of quests you can take on or ignore as you please, in whatever order you prefer. Of course, there is a certain amount of linearity to the game, but there are always enough extra options available to offer you a great deal of control over how your characters progress. Moreover, the inclusion of all this extra material makes the world seem more real, and not just a stage that's been set for you to carry out one pre-set task.

    The NPCs in this game are interesting, well-drawn characters, and often quite funny as well. There are 20 NPCs to choose from, and you can have up to six characters in your party at any given time. Most of the NPCs are new, although some favorites from the original Baldur's Gate return, like Jahiera and Minsc. The characters are distributed nicely among the various alignments and classes available in the game, so that you'll be able to form a well-balanced party no matter what your style of play.

    Anyone who played the original Baldur's Gate will recognize the character creation system, which allows you to build your protagonist however you'd like. This time there are many more classes available, as well as specialist kits within the primary classes, who get various bonuses and penalties that allow you to customize your character even further. Many of these come from the D&D 3rd Edition rules, even though the gameplay mechanics themselves are more akin to the 2nd Edition rules. If you don't know what I'm talking about, don't worry about it. This game is far more complex than, say, the Final Fantasy series, but you don't need to know how the D&D rules operate to have an incredible experience with Baldur's Gate 2. The instruction manual explains everything you need to know.

    Finally, let me talk about the combat in this game. You control all six of your characters in realtime combat, and you have tons of options on how to do it. Each NPC has an array of AI scripts available to him, and you can select whichever you like to govern how that character will behave in combat. Whether you want someone who charges in and engages the enemy in melee combat, someone who hangs back and uses his ranged weapons whenever possible, someone who supports other characters and heals them if necessary, or any number of other options, you can do it easily. You can also control all six characters manually, which is how I prefer to play. If doing that in realtime sounds a little daunting, you can use the game's auto-pause settings to create a more turn-based battle system, which might be more familiar to some.

    Your characters start at about 7th level -- which is where they finished in the original Baldur's Gate -- so combat will be very interesting right from the start. Particularly, if you enjoy making heavy use of magic in battle, this game will keep you enthralled from beginning to end. Mages can become obscenely powerful in this game, and can develop an arsenal of hundreds of spells. You can summon demons from another plane, disintegrate your foes instantly, or even stop time. Fighting an enemy mage is a tricky proposition, and requires a good deal of strategy and foresight. If you rush in heedlessly and attack everything you meet, I hope you like dying, because you'll be doing a lot of it.

    For example, there are literally dozens of spells that provide a mage with one form of protection or another. They might shield him from certain kinds of weapons, or from certain types of magic, or render him invisible, or create a clone of himself, and so on. High-level mages can use a spell called Spell Sequencer that lets you cast up to three spells ahead of time, then activate them all at once later on. You can also use a spell called Contingency to automatically cast a spell once a certain condition is met. Thus if you engage an enemy mage in combat, he might instantly raise four or five different barriers around himself, before you can do anything. Before you can kill him, you have to figure out how to strip away each of those layers of protection. It can get complicated, but that's what I love about it. You can go into a battle and get completely and hopelessly slaughtered, then go into it again using a different strategy and configuration of spells, and crush your enemies mercilessly. My party in BG2 had five characters who could cast mage spells, because I love this aspect of the game so much. This is by no means a mindless game. The battles will challenge you every step of the way.

    Combine all this with an intriguing and immersive world and a particularly strong story, and you have a role-playing experience like none other. Baldur's Gate 2 has yet to be equaled on the PC or on any platform, and you're doing yourself a huge disservice if you miss it....more info

  • Be A Card Carrying Member of BGA
    Overall: Yes, I'm a member of Baldur's Gate Anonymous, too. And I couldn't be happier about it. In short, this is a totally killer game.

    TECHNICAL:

    -- With adjustment using BG2's configuration program, game is playable even on a 200mhz PC
    -- Few bugs without patch. Can't find any bugs now that I've installed the patch.
    -- Loading time: happens often and is about 30 seconds long on a 450mhz p2.
    -- Needs LOTS of HD space

    Ah, if only it were always this easy. Okay, fine. If you want the full install (makes loading time way shorter), then the game takes up an ungodly amount of space. (2.5G, I think. Not sure.) But if space is of no concern, then you've got it made. Loading time can be a pain in the butt, but it isn't really that big of a problem.

    GRAPHICS:

    -- Nice, beautifully drawn 2D scenery.
    -- Bird's eye perspective.
    -- Import your own character graphics/sounds!

    If you are in it for groundbreaking graphics, BG2 may not be for you. Don't get me wrong... the graphics are pretty good but they aren't revolutionary. Buildings and areas are drawn with meticulous care. Black Isle definitely took their time plotting and planning this wonderful little world. Funny thing: architecture of buildings is quite different in different areas. Niiiice touch. Be that as it may, I suspect Black Isle spent more time and effort developing the story and gameplay than worrying too much about graphics. Good choice. After a while, you don't notice the pretty little pictures, anyway.

    SOUND:

    -- Good music. You won`t be humming these tunes for days afterwards, but they fit the game.

    GAMEPLAY:

    -- You have one major quest and a myriad of miniquests that pop up *everywhere*. Really nicely done.
    -- Free control over how you act. Be a jerk. Be a hero. It's seriously up to you.
    -- Structured, yes, but not so firmly that it interferes too much with your free will.
    -- Hint: Save a lot
    -- High replayability factor

    The first part is a tad on the slow side, but it makes up for it big time later.

    CHARACTERS:

    -- Customize your character from the gender, class, race, biography, and more!
    -- Customize your very picture and sound!
    -- Creepy bad guy. Who *was* the fellow who came up with the major baddie? I don't know whether to congratulate him... or run for my life.

    Read the manual. Be acquainted with the ins and outs of each of the races/classes before you choose. It will save you a bit of heartache later on.

    BG2 allows you to import not only a portrait to be used in the game, but also sounds! Really neat. I wish more games did this. In fact, not only are you encouraged to roleplay during this game, it actually seems to work better that way. Roleplaying will keep your decisions consistent and that will help you in the long run.

    FEMALE PERSPECTIVE:

    -- Ability to choose female as player's character

    -- NPCs and situations do react to gender.

    Not only can you choose to be female in this game, NPCs will act as though you are one. Dialogue depends not only on the decisions you make, but also your gender, as well. In fact, I would say that this is the first game I've ever played where they succeeded in making the main character actually *feel* like she was a female. Really great if you are seriously into RPG... and if you are reading this, I am assuming you are. *grin*

    All isn`t perfect if you choose to play a female character, though. Quests, NPCs, and events are more detailed if the main character is male. A few times, NPCs will even call you "Sir", only to refer to you a moment later as "Milady". Males even get a better romance thing going on (what's with *that*?). In all honesty, though, Black Isle's commitment into making this a more femme character-friendly game shows. Females even get the opportunity for romance... (although the fellow will probably inspire more death-threats than fantasies). As far as RPGs, BG2 is definitely the best one I've come across when it comes to feminine perspective.

    MULTIPLAYER OPTION

    Since my internet connection is terrible, I haven't explored this facet, yet. Therefore, I can't comment on this... but know that the option for playing online with others is there.

    CONCLUSION:

    Baldur's Gate 2 is doomed to become a classic. It's addictive. It's HUGE. It's put together extremely well. This is roleplaying at its finest. BG2 is quality, quantity, and a darn good time all rolled into one, reasonably-priced package. If you like RPGs, then Baldur's Gate 2 belongs on your shelf....more info

  • One of the best RPGs I've ever played...
    Final Fantasy? Good, but not great.
    Diablo? Not even worth mentioning.
    Divine Divinity? Good, but not really noteworthy.
    Planescape: Torment? The only game better than this.

    Baldur's Gate II has it all.

    Beautiful landscapes. Detailed locations. Absorbing gameplay. Realistic characters. Twisted enemies. Entrancing music. Tens of thousands of items, both mundane and magical. Hundreds of spells.

    Seven races. Eleven classes. Many sub-classes. The ability to change your class later or start with multiple ones. Skills. Stats. Resistances. Proficiencies. In short, nigh-on ultimate control over the customisation of your character.

    Barbarian? Sorcerer? Perhaps a Monk or a Bard... and unlike Neverworking Nightmares, you can actually have a party! Six characters and up to five summoned creatures at a time makes for a mini army to challenge your enemies with (and believe me, you've got a lot of them).

    See that demon there? He's after you. Emphatic Manifestations of the hatred of a bunch of worshippers chasing you around temples dedicated to dead gods. Character-specific curses. Turnip-obsessed Gnomes.

    And through it all, your god-blood is as much a curse as it is a blessing, for there are quite a few plot twists revolving around your father......more info
  • Better than the first
    Baldur's Gate 2: Shadows of Amn is an all out great game; practially flawless. The grafics are a breakthrough in the birds-eye-view third peson fantasy RPG's. Game play is great, and the story is wonderful. I couldn't stop playing it. The different areas are extremely detailed, down to the flies circling around dead fish lying on tables. The puzzles will rack your brain continuously, but you never get tired of them. It's much more intellectual than the normal hack and slash games like Diablo 2 or something, and you never get tired of it. The only problem that I had with the entire game, is that there are a couple puzzles that you would never guess unless you looked them up up on the internet. But otherwise the game is flawless. If you havn't played, or do not own Baldur's Gate 2: Shadows of Amn, BUY IT IMEDIATELY....more info
  • BG 2 is GREAT!
    I personally though Baldur's Gate 2 was better than the first Baldur's Gate game. Why? The charcater portraits look better (they look more AD & D -ish), there are WAY more spells to cast, the quests get more exciting, and so much more that I can't name all of them at once! One thing I really liked about the game is that the characters can develop romances with another NPC. Now THAT'S really role-playing!...more info
  • FORGET REVIEWS, BUY THE GAME (just joking please read this)
    People who don't like this game say it's just a bunch of hype. Well I'm here to say no one ever told me about this work of art. Soon after I played the demo I got the full game and was amazed by its quality.
    If there's one thing I like the most about BGII, it's got to be the expansiveness of this colossal game. Character creation is highly customizable. There are 7 races (human,elf,dwarf ect.), 10 main classes, over 30 classes counting subclasses (assasin,monk,sorcerer ect.), you can even pick how lawful and "good" you are (Chaotic Evil=FUN).
    But the depth of the game isn't just in character creation: it lies within the nonlinear game play. The main game by it self takes about 200-400 hrs, BUT if you do all the side quests the game can span a mind blowing 600-800 hrs!!!!! Most of the fun of the BGII is finding new treasure, adventuring through quests, and just enjoying the unfolding story and plot twists (cat fight btwn femal party members who want your attention... hehehe).
    Every thing about the game is mulit-dimensioned and saturated with depth and fun. Do you want to free some slaves, who are pit against animals for sport, or do you want the reward for warning the gards about their escape? Do you want to become proficient in using two weapons simultaneously or becoming a deadly archer? Do you want to create orc sushi with your double-handed sword as a barbarian or would you rather make BBQ orc with a fireball as a wizard? The bounds of this game are limitless or at less very very very large. If your still reading this STOP AND GO BUY THE GAME!!!...more info
  • stupendous
    From the very first this game immerse you into a huge detailed and very very addictive universe.
    definately rate this as one of the best games ever. the learning curve is not to bad with a short tutorial to get to grips with everything and then straight into the fray.
    the magic and combat are just stunning, and the effects when casting spells are electrifying.
    the areas and adventures are huge and the game just keeps getting better and better.
    The various characters on offer are very varied and you can have very different styles of party, and of course personnel can be changed as you wish.
    i never finished this game unfortunately, but have very pleasant memories of it.
    waiting eagerly for the next game of the same calibre but am yet to find it....more info
  • Few, not even BioWare, follow the path prepared by BG.
    Baldur's Gate shows us how great a CRPG can be when the NPC's are well written and placed in the context of a great, epic story. Epics have grandeur and scale, but they also spend a lot of time fleshing out small details. Just read Homer's Iliad as an example.

    Baldur's Gate did not always have great writing, but it had enough of it to show us a glimpse of what we had been missing in CRPGs. Now with Neverwinter Nights and Icewind Dale it is clear that the focus of both BioWare and Black Isle has shifted away from great storytelling.

    We can only hope that BioWare's secret RPG project and Black Isle's semi-secret Project Jefferson return to the path perpared by the Baldur's Gate series. Otherwise, we are bound for the Path of Eternal Barrel Smashing....more info

  • One of the best RPGs out there
    This game is, in one word, simply a great game (oops that's 4). This is one of those games that you start and you just feel like finishing (although i don't recommend it in one sitting as it takes quite a while to finish). With the ability to create the character of your dreams, or you could (as I did) re-create the Lord of the Rings characters with the abilities to create your own portraits and sound file for the characters you play with. You can be anywhere from a blood-thirsty barbarian half-orc, to a bruce lee of a monk.

    The games starts you out in a dungeon when you need to escape, and as you learn more and more about your situation, you meet new characters, embark on a number of quests, and forge unique and powerful artifacts from pieces you find around the globe. This game has enough twists and turns to keep just about anyone interested and occupied for quite some time.

    Not only is this game one heck of a fun game, but you don't need the latest, state of the art computers to play it. It runs fine on my 350Mhz pentium II, with 160MB of ram (although it would run smoothly with less), and a 2MB video card.

    Then, when you finish the game, and all of the fun seems to have ended, a new world is opened with the multiplayer game. Yes, the multiplayer is the same game as the single player, but you have the ability to make allies and destroy your enemies. Not only that, but you don't have the hassle of having to control 6 guys, you only have to control one.

    Overall this game has to be just about the greatest, if not the greatest, RPG on the market and is well worth your money. Any computer gamer would be overjoyed to have this game....more info

  • One of the best games of all time!
    Pros:
    Extremly rich and enthralling story-line
    Very colorful characters with professional voice actors
    HUGE world and hundreds of hours of gameplay!
    Has challenging and interesting puzzles and quests...not the dull delivery/kill quests of some other rpg's.
    EXTREMLY ADDICTIVE!...

    Cons:
    Graphics will look dated for those who have played recent hack and slashes such as Dungeon Seige

    Summary:

    BGII is my favorite game of all-time! Now that's it's a few years old, you can get it at such a low price I wouldn't hesistate to recommend it to anyone who enjoys mindful games....more info

  • The best PC RPG of all time.
    If your getting sick of playing those console RPG games, involving turn based battle systems and text dialogues, then here is a great gift for you, Baldurs Gate II. This game is deeper, bigger, and flat out better then any console RPG you could play and on top of that, it is most likely the best PC RPG ever made. I would give this game only two falts: the very beginning of the game, which can scare off a lot of players before they get through it (which isn't hard), and the graphics, which are good but not the best.

    Like I said, this game is deep, consisting of 2nd Edition Dungeons and Dragons rules. Just think of Diablo with a party, 20 times more depth and a world that is 50 times bigger.

    The game is huge; there is just so much to do and so many places to go to. From what I remember, there are over 300 different quests, so this game will keep you busy for a long, long time. What is also amazing is that all of the side quests (hundreds) are just as fun to play as the main quests. Just when you think the quest is over, a plot twist will occur, making the quest that much more interesting and longer.

    If you can get off Final Fantasy for a minute, then go to the store and buy Baldurs Gate II. I guarantee you, if you give it a chance, and learn how to play the game, you will be staying up all night playing wondering how the time went by so fast....more info

  • Black Isle does it again!!
    Okay, where to start? Well, first and foremost this is the Gold of the PC RPG's! If you built a character in BGI then you can import it into BGII. From there you have a whole new world to explore with NPC's that interact on a personal basis and actually provide conversation with your character to interact with. The level advancement is great, taking your character up to Mastery level in class skills. I am talking really powerful!! New monsters (including three dragons!!!!) to fight, an awesome story line and plot, and specialized quests for every character class! New spells, mind-blowing graphics, weapons, beautiful new character portraits and artwork, and more specialized classes all in 3rd ED!! If you consider yourself a hardcore gamer, this is it!! The only thing about BGII is a lot of the story and the majority of the quests happens in Athkatla, which is the city of Amn. This is nothing like BGI's in-city, changing discs every five seconds. The maps are very organized and easy to navigate through. There is more to do and every thime I play it I find something new that I didn't see before. The only thing that continues to remain consistent is the cookie-cutter style of the characters, but everything else is top-notch! Definately A+!!...more info
  • Great Game
    Baldur's Gate II was a very addictive game and can be quite tedious at times, since the gameplay can be boring if you have to do several tasks (like doing a bunch of other people favors). I recently finished the game and now that I have finished it, you can replay it in so many different formats like instead of having your main character as a fighter, you replay the whole story again as a mage. I have also played the prequel and this game beats the prequel in so many ways. There are more spells and more monsters in the game, providing better challenge along the way. The world is very interactive and you could also develop a romance with some of the female characters. I am looking forward to the expansion when I'm able to get it. This game does not have very good graphics but it is still a great game with small system requirements. Warning about the game: You could lose your friends if you are easily addicted to games like this!...more info
  • WHEN cRPGs TOUCHED THE SKY...
    This was the LONGEST the MOST FUN game I have ever played! And, mind you, I am not an easy customer (feel free to browse through my reviews, you will see what I mean...)

    The original BG series was excellent in all of storyline, gameplay, music and stability. Now, nowadays, sequels usually mean a graphically-improved expansion (at best). BG2 is a rare exception of the sequel clearly SURPASSING the original. And in the case of such great original, this means a lot!

    Words fail to describe the perfect harmony of brilliant ideas, interweaved story-lines and detailed coding that makes this game an unsurpassable classic! Do not let the slightly outdated graphics discourage you. They were cutting edge only some years ago - and you will be able to unleash their full potential even on mid-range PCs!

    I have yet to meet anyone who has played it and not raved about it! Hard-core D&D funs will find the character building, fighting checks and balances and overall experience very close to the actual pen-&-paper games.
    Casual computer gamers will notice none of the tedious stuff of other cRPGs as the gameplay runs smooth and beautifully.
    You even have the choice to turn it into either a turn-based or an action game by tweaking the auto-pause options! I am telling you: this is how computers games should be!

    You will let yourself get lost in the deep dungeons of the labyrinthic story; you will be laughing out loud to the humorous dialog; you will be surprised as to who is a double and triple-agent.
    There is an evil beyond imagining unleashed and only you with your party can stand in its way.
    Party members offer a multitude of unpredictable balancing points and diverging story-lines of their own: side quests, conflicts and love affairs enrich the story in so many original ways!

    An unsurpassed classic!

    HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!...more info
  • A Game to Revist
    Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn is Black Isle's follow-up to the groundbreaking Baldur's Gate. Baldur's Gate, released on Nov. 30th 1998, was an accomplishment in the translation of pen and paper role-playing to the personal computer. With an engrossing storyline, colorful non-player-characters, polished gameplay, an attractive presentation and an incredibly detailed fantasy world to inhabit Baldur's Gate was a landmark achievement. And as good as its predecessor was Baldur's Gate II, released less than two years later, improves upon it in every imaginable way.
    With a longer main quest, Baldur's Gate II continues the epic story you began in the original. Many of your non-player-companions return in one form or another in the course of the game, which lend the proceedings a much needed feeling of continuity. Additionally, the overarching themes of good versus evil remain, as well as your ability to decide whether to ally yourself with either side. And of course, there is the obligatory awesome, love-to-hate antagonist. Therefore, in terms of story, suspension of disbelief and the gratification that comes with completing any narrative work, you will not be disappointed.
    Graphically the game looks comparable to its forbearer in art style and environmental climes yet it benefits, on a technical level, from higher resolution settings as well as more detailed area maps and sprite effects. Due to these aesthetic improvements the hardware requirements are slightly steeper than Baldur's Gate, but because of the relative age of the game most entry level computer as well as many laptops should run it smoothly. Now because of its age the game is no longer particularly impressive graphically. The graphics are definitely dated however, that being said, it is an attractive game and the visuals are consistently of good quality. The textures are sharp and each character's outward appearance changes with the equipment s/he is wearing, which is a must for most RPG fans.
    In terms of personal opinion I must recommend this game unconditionally. Although there is a learning curve which must be surmounted any effort put in is well worth your time. This is a game that I have returned to time and time again. I have completed the over 40 hours of gameplay with at least three different characters and each run through the game has brought a deeper appreciation of the open-ended nature this wonderful gem. If you haven't played this game yet... you should. ...more info
  • The single best RPG I've ever played
    Baldur's Gate II is without a doubt the single best RPG I've ever played. It is one of the few games that I have played through multiple times and loved every minute of it. The game is not completely linear and you have the freedom to wander around completing adventures as you see fit, while increasing your level and power. When you feel like continuing the main storyline, you can choose to do so. In addition, the NPCs that you will join with are one of the most interesting aspects of the game. They are interesting and have thier own stories and subquests, which really bring them to life. In addition, the romances the main character can have with 4 of the NPCs add a whole new level of depth and is what kept me coming back for more. You will want to play multiple times to complete all of the romance subplots.
    If you have not played this game yet, don't even think about it, just do it. You won't be sorry until you complete the game multiple times and realize that you have done everything there is to do....more info
  • BALDUR'S GATE
    Baldur's gate is one of the most addictive games you can come across. If you are someone who is interested in advanced dungeons & dragons games this is the game for you. Although there are some minor flaws (ie. the graphics aren't all that great) this game is worth the money....more info
  • a clone of the first
    this game is a clone of the first. let me tell you it sux. the gameplay is exactly the same there are no improvement on graphics and it is very predictable. also your character starts out less powerful then the others. basically it is predicatble,stupid,and not worth the money. if you want better forgotten realms games go for icewind dale or the original baldurs gate. but dont go for nwn or bg2...more info
  • The best computer RPG in a long while, possibly ever
    I got more fun out of this game than just about any other I've played. The world is incredibly rich and detailed. All of the buildings in Athkatla aren't just filler--they actually have interesting things in them. The main plotline is very long, and there are countless side quests to pursue if you want to. Even when you've finished the game once, you can have fun replaying it, since you can choose different party members and accept different quests. I've played it three times and am still not sure that I've found everything.

    The game is an enormous improvement over the first Baldur's Gate. I never actually finished that game--I just lost interest after a while, and never really figured out why it was so highly rated. In BG2, the other members of your party actually have personalities, and the plot is more interesting. The graphics are not that advanced technically, but this can actually be a strength. Because the graphics are not 3D, they could be prerendered, and Bioware obviously excels in that department. From the Arabian Nights-like Athkatla to the pseudo-Victorian Trademeet, the areas are very detailed, and rarely drab like in BG1.

    There are also plenty of monsters to fight, spells to cast, and items to find. There's a surprise lurking around every corner, at least in the better parts of the game.

    Admittedly, this game is buggy, but it's still great. With the exception of Planescape: Torment, there isn't any other CRPG that can match its characters, plot, depth, and replayability....more info

  • Truly a masterpiece
    A wonderfull game with lots of options and items and quests. Voice acting is very good. Graphics are, well, not 3d, but a very well done 2d, probably best suited for this game. And of course when it came out they were A LOT better. Would recomend this to anyone who enjoys D&D or any kind of RPG. Have fun....more info
  • The Best
    The game was the best game I have ever played I loved it.The people that make this game really know how to make a quest game.I have played a lot of games like Baldurs Gate but not nearly as good!I really dont no what else to say u just need to buy it and find out for your self.If your like me love long lasting exciting quest games this for you.This game rules....more info
  • Best Game Ever
    If I could make ambrosia, If I could create the very divinity of all that ever existed in gaming, and if I could program, I would have made Baldur's Gate.
    Even as someone who frequents First Person Shooter games, Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn, is still the best game I have ever played.
    If you enjoy plot that actually matters, a game that ISN'T Completely hack&slash, a game where you can become a god (Well, in the expansion at least...) and if you enjoy games that will make you actually think, then BG2 is an awesome game for you.
    And even if you don't normally enjoy those types of games, Get BG2 anyway.
    While it is recommended that you play the first game before the second, it is not necessary. The first one was a bit on the boring side anyway.
    You start as a captive in the dungeon of Jon Irenicus, an evil mage who has captured you to further his own cause, whatever that cause may be. You must escape his lair, to enter the city of Athkatla. And then? Then the game has only just begun.
    Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn is a very open ended game, but the main plot is still quite evident, so you don't get too lost.
    Some will be the Barbarian leader who captured a Keep by force, others will be a Sorcerer who took control of a Planar Sphere.
    There are no limitations.

    This game will blow your mind....more info
  • Incantus Pulchur Imperium!
    This is easily the best game i have ever played. You can rank a game in many ways, i give this game maximum points in every single category...

    Voice Acting

    Probably the games strongest area was it's character development giving the game an extra dimension of realism and gravity, integral to this was the awesome voice acting which was/is the best i have ever known, this game showed that voice acting in computer games can be incredibly powerful, the actors who played the characters are real pro's. My favourite was Irenicus, he breathed a realism and a menace into the character which truly brought that villainous character to life. Also in this category is dialogue, which is equally incredible, occasionally i can still here a reedy voice in my head saying...."you should not have come to this place", unforgettable.

    Graphics

    For their time, these graphics were top of the range, the outdoors are particularly impressive, wether it's the temple district or the wilderness, no two trees look anything alike.

    Sound/Music

    The sound effects in the game were amazing, when you are in a city you here murmurings (of street traders/hawkers) which blend wonderfully into the background complementing everything. When you enter Suldanesselar you hear the frantic almost deranged chirpings of the birds which convey a sense of order-disrupted. The games musical score is absolutely gorgeous! The main theme (which kicks up when a fight starts) is rousing and exciting and a pleasure to listen to, it adds even more grandeur and scale to the game.

    Gameplay

    Top marks here too, there are so many ways you can play the game, so many paths you can take, the challenge level varies but overall is suitably balanced. The games replayability was awesome (i won it at least 10 times and each time i was amazed at how new the experience was). When you add to this the extraordinary value for money you get because the game is extremely long, yet it never becomes repetitive.

    Overall this game showed me for the first time what the computer role playing genre was capable of, playing this game was like starring in a movie combined with reading a wonderfully gripping novel. You really feel for the characters. I had thought Planetscape Torment was good, this game introduced an entirely new experience. Easily the best game i have ever played (and i have played a lot).

    How did they pack it all into five cd's?...more info
  • One of The Best RPG Games Ever
    Baulders Gate 2 has a classic appeal that just won't die. I have been playing newer games like World of Warcraft and Elder Scrow IV with there astonishing graphics and challenging play but theres still something that doesnt rank with the likes of Baulders gate 2.

    To me its the plot and subplots of the game that make this game remarkable. The ability to make choses like what quests, who you want in your party, freedom to act Evil or Good. Each chose can change the game and make the game replay as enjoyable as the first. The charactor creation is as good as it gets for an RPG game. So if you want a game that isnt as keen on visual as it is on it overall story line. Get this game it wont disapiont. even if its 6 years old. ...more info
  • Once you start playing, you will be hooked.
    This game has to be one of the best rpg games out there.
    Go through this game with up to six people on your team. Each player has their own unique skills to offer the team. The game play will have you on many different quest at the same time. Fight against ogres, dragons, wizards, and much more. A must have for any gamer....more info
  • [The]cons are wrong
    Well, the only con they have incorrectly listed is the fact that the game is based on 2nd edition rules...while this is partially true (partially, because it is based on the skills and powers extension of 2nd edition rules), it is not a downside to the game. It is not only more fitting for the game, but it allows you to import characters from BG1. Also, the rule system is in many ways superior to the 3rd edition rule set. My friends and I still use 2nd edition (with skills and powers) in our pen-and-paper AD&D campaigns, which makes it harder to find rulebooks, but much more enjoyable....more info
  • Citizen Kane of Gaming World. A classic -- & you're the star
    Here's what I have to say: Best RPG hands down, ever. Nothing has come close since. This is the Citizen Kane of the Gaming World, People. Romance. Tragedy. Comedy. Shakespeare would be jealous. If you love to read fantasy and are getting started in the gaming world -- check this out. You will not be dissapointed. The playing is fast and furious, you can plot and calculate, you can philosophize on good and evil, you can unleash the good or evil in your soul, learn what side of the forc you're on, or if you're your own force. As the child of a god of murder, you embark on an odyssey to be either the god's next incarnation or hack out your own path while saving your childhood companion from a man named Irenicus who seeks to steal your very essence, unless you are stronger than anyone imagined. You'll have stouthearted and valiant companions to aid you as you need, from the wise Keldorn and Jaheira to the laugh out loud funny Minsc and Jan Jansen, to the arogant and those in need of your guidance. It's all here. Boot her up. On a side note: There are romances. They are entertaining, and optional. If you drop of the romance characters from your party at any time you will never have a romance. Rated teen, Viconia, the drow elf, can be more explicit in the romance, so you may want to think about this if you are a parent....more info
  • Only complaint- EXTREMELY addictive
    I heard a lot about how good game Baldur's gate was, and I decided to buy it, also because Baldur's GAte sounded like a cool name. Boy! Would I be a different person if I would not have bought Baldur's Gate. My first impressions were that "geez, the graphics kinda suck!" But soon I learnt that graphics do not matter at all in this game. The story is so great, and there are so many environments, and so many roles to choose, and so many weapons to use, and yes: the combats are unsurpassable in fun and skill needed. You need to speak a lot to other characters, but that's also fun. Plus, there are hundreds of quests in hundreds of locations. There are many cases when the enemies can get incredibly tough to beat, but the means required to defeat them really make you feel smarter. And also, there are hundreds of misc items. I have completed the game three times, and I still would play it again if I get the time. It took some time to master the characters and the game in general, but what makes Baldur's Gate II unique is that it is so well designed, and so difficult. And you can choose so many different roles and enjoy the same adventures over and over again. ...more info
  • Wow anyone?
    You know, I have played a lot of rpgs and this is the very best. Plot was well rounded enough to satisfy (having a dark or light side, depending), AIs were not too shabby, and character modification made each play different. Yes, there is a corny romance there but the option can be turned off (though it sometimes maked gameplay more interesting). If you want to feel like you are interacting with other living, breathing humanbeings and you can't exactly do so over the internet or in d&d, this is the best way to get it done. I have recomended this game once and will recomend it again. A great game....more info
  • The mother of all computer RPGs
    The Baldur's Gate franchise is the most popular single-player RPG series out there for good reasons, even though it's been a few years since its release. While more recent Black Isle games, notably Icewind Dale II, have vastly improved graphics and interface and others like Neverwinter Nights have changed the playing field entirely, BGII stands out for its tremendous scope and exceptional depth. BGII's complexity, intertwining subplots and host of myriad characters are enough to constitute a novel, one which you get to shape and play out instead of merely reading. To me that's the essence of RPG that few others have been able to capture. Reinforcing this feeling, at many points in the game you must make decisions that have far-reaching consequences. Furthermore, you can also complete many quests using the good or evil approach. You may decide how to proceed based on whether you want to be good or evil; there are non-player characters (NPCs) of both alignments ready to assist you.

    BGII's strongest asset is its quests. While some quests are short and easily completed, most are substantial, highly interesting, and many engender their own sub-quests. For instance, one quest requires you to infiltrate a thieves guild suspected of treason; to gain their trust, you must finish several tasks for them; after you gather evidence of their treason, you're asked to go back and eliminate the guild leader; if you're successful, you then have the option of becoming the new leader and manage your own guild. It's possible to finish the game doing only the minimum handful of quests, but you'd be missing a big part of the game. Similarly, it's almost impossible to complete all quests in one run, because the quests you get depend on the decisions you make. For instance, you can side either with the thieves' guild or the rival vampires' guild, each of which comes with its own storyline and quests. Most of the quests are initiated at the beginning of the game in Athkatla. Subsequently, quests become smaller and more linear.

    Characters are tightly intertwined with quests. Since you start off with only one player, you should add additional characters to your party. Characters range from elven cleric/wizard to human ranger/stalker. Some are carry-overs from BG1. Some are found only if you accept certain quests, and some come with their own quests. You can interact with virtually any character in the game. Each character has his/her own history, alignment, and personality. From time to time, characters in your party will initiate dialogues with you and with one another, most with some amount of actual voice dialogue. Some interactions are quite funny; I've chuckled many times with Minsc and Jan in my party. One feature that I suspect to be very popular is romance with characters in your party. If you meet certain conditions, a male player can romance with one of three female NPCs and a female player can romance with one male NPC. Romance are simply additional dialogues that you go through during lulls between battles. They don't add significantly to the plot, but they're an extra dimension that adults may appreciate.

    A new feature in BGII is the "stronghold". The stronghold you get depends on your class. For instance, the fighter stronghold is a keep outside of Athkatla, while the thieves stronghold is a guild headquarter in the Docks district. Strongholds are gained after you complete a certain quest; they generate gold for your coffers and come with their own mini-quests at intervals. They're not essential to the story, but they add immensely to the illusion of role-playing. Another great new feature is familiars, small pet-like creatures that follow you and obey your orders. There are many tricks you can do with familiars, but mostly they're just cool to have.

    If you haven't played BG1, the premise is that you're the illegitimate child of Bhaal, the God of Murder. After you defeated your nemesis at the end of BG1, your party was ambushed and taken prisoner. You wake up in a dark dungeon and find yourself tortured and apparently experimented upon by an unknown wizard. The game begins as the dungeon are invaded by hooded assailants and you are released. Now you must fight your way out of the dungeons and discover the identity of your captor and thwart his nefarious plan. You will explore the vast city Athkatla as well as travel to many exotic destinations such as an extra-planar prison, an underwater Sahuagin city, the Underdark, the elven city Suldanessellar, even the Nine Hells! There are innumerable dungeons and ruins along the way for your to explore. If any game is able to truly capture the dungeon exploring feel of D&D, this is it!

    You'll encounter a virtual encyclopedic list of monsters, including golems, vampires, liches, beholders, mind-flayers, werewolves, demons, and dragons. Some are immensely powerful and require much tactical planning on your part. Mastering spells and understanding their effects and limitations are a must. This is a hard task as there are 300 spells of all types in the game. Enemy spellcasters have powerful magical protections that make them virtually invincible. However, every protection spell has some form of counter. To successfully attack them, you must use the appropriate counter-spells to weaken their defense. Game play is fast and furious. Battles are not as large as those in IWD2 and are more oriented toward magical duelling, which is equally if not more fun.

    The sprite graphics and animations are unspectacular by modern standards, but they are no longer noticeable once you become immersed in the game. Background graphics is gorgeous eye-candy, however, particularly the Sahuagin city, the Underdark, and Suldanessellar. The soundtrack and voice-over work are superb.

    BGII has very high-replay value thanks to its breadth and richness. If you like RPG games, this one is a must-have....more info

  • ...-KICKING FOR GOODNESS!
    I bought this game when it first came out, after enjoying the original Baldur's Gate and Tales of the Sword Coast. I started playing and then set it aside -- for a reason I'll explain later -- and then got wrapped up in Dugeon Siege, Neverwinter Nights and then Icewind Dale II. But I kept BG II in the back of my mind, knowing I wanted to come back to it.

    I did restart it recently, and I've had a great two months of gameplay. What a fantastic game -- story, music, humor, interface, combat, voices. It is simply first class in every way. It ranks among my all-time favorites.

    I'll admit to being a total freak about playing D&D role-playing games -- they have wiped out any desire I have to play games like Unreal, Quake, NASCAR sims, etc. Ever since Planescape Torment, I've been hooked.

    These D&D games can be grouped into two main types 1) hack 'n' slash -- Diablo and Diablo II being the best of those and 2) role-playing stories -- Planescape Torment being the purest of those I've played. Most games combine these elements. Dungeon Siege barely has a story, Icewind Dale and IDII have a story, but who cares?

    Baldur's Gate II falls much more into the category of role-playing story. It has a great plot, and the plot is nearly always a factor. Combat, although plentiful, is not hack 'n' slash. It is more strategic, using your team of characters (up to 6) to the best of their abilities. In a good team, each character must contribute. In fact, one of your characters at any moment might be the key to your survival. That's engrossing.

    But the greatest feature of BGII is the quirky personalities of the characters. They are all unique and VERY willful. They will nag you, annoy you, please you, surprise you. And they might just up and revolt against you. I had Keldorn (good) and Vincona (evil) in my party, and they are both really valuable characters. Keldorn is a [good] fighter with great magic resistance, and Vincona is a pure cleric who can save your life in the worst of the undead dungeons. But after a few heated arguments, Keldorn just up and attacked Vincona. He would have killed her, but I broke it up. I then dismissed Keldorn in favor of Vincona. About one chapter later, Vincona got angry about the 'goodness' of my team and quit on me in the middle of a quest!

    The characters make for great, unpredictable gameplay.

    And the dialogue at times can have you rolling on the floor with laughter. Minsc (a tough but goofy ranger) is always ready with a funny line...and yet at times shows such fierce devotion to your team that it can almost draw tears. And Nalia (a mage) is always fretting outside a city, because she doesn't like peeing outdoors. And Korgan, the evil dwarf, will agree to your direction, but add "or I might chop your head off, heh heh."

    This gets back to my initial mistake playing the game. I tried to create my own team of six user-created characters. Although I formed a very strong team, they had no personality at all. That would take away all the fun of the game. When I restarted months later, I created a female 'skald' bard as my main character, and used NPCs for all the rest. Much, much, more enjoyable.

    I highly recommend Baldur's Gate II. It is an exceptional gaming experience....more info

  • Simply Incredible
    I did not care much for this game the first two or three times I played it, but for some reason I stuck with it. For a while I could still have taken or left it, although I enjoyed the dialogue- until I got to Spellhold. The plot twist at that point of the game pulled me in, and from that point on I loved it. The excellence of the plot and the script far surpasses any other game I have ever played; by turns philosophical, frightening, humorous, tender, savage, or dreamy. Once I was in love with the plot, I began to like the gameplay more as well; it does an excellent job of putting you in control of multiple characters, and unlike many RPGs there is a great deal of strategy involved. The D and D rules provide a broad enough range of outcomes that it comes off seeming very real indeed; tiny turns of chance can affect the outcome of a battle, and you find yourself depending on your luck, just waiting for the tide to swing your way. The dealings with other characters are also very strategic and realistic; characters are motivated by personal ideals and can be manipulated, lied to, dealt fairly with, or double- and triple-crossed depending on the player. Since you can do quests in any order and your previous actions leave various and not-always-predictable impacts on any and everything, it is also non-linear in other ways. Added to all this is the fact that the game is absolutely huge, with characters beyond count, dozens of expansive locations, and over a hundred hours of play time if you do all the quests. While it has frequent frustratingly difficult battles and quite a few small annoying quirks, it is deeply addictive and fascinatingly complex, and overall a must have for any intelligent gamer.
    Note: To avoid the irritation of incessantly changing CDs, do the full install.
    Note: Some of the annoying parts, in case that worries you, include characters who will often rush foolishly into battle or balk at your orders; rather frequent (though mercifully quick on a decent machine)loadscreens; the inability to save or change armor in combat; and frequent inhibitions to saving or resting if there happen to be monsters nearbye. The shortcomings of your characters are maddening at times, especially in battle with spellcasting foes. However, there are fairly few bugs and the system requirements are a good deal less demanding than some other games.
    I've warned you, but I still highly recommend this game!...more info

 

 
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