Baldur’s Gate was originally developed by Bioware and published for PC in 1998. The developer would later become famous for creating classics like Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic and Mass Effect. The original Baldur’s Gate is considered a classic and is beloved by those who played it when it was released. An enhanced edition was developed by Beamdog software in 2012. This edition was ported to consoles in 2019 in a bundle with its sequel. The enhanced edition takes an old classic and gives it a new coat of paint. The bundle is available on all modern platforms, but for now we’ll just be focusing on the Switch port of the first game.
Creating Your Adventure
The events of Baldur’s Gate take place on the Sword Coast in the Forgotten Realms from Dungeons and Dragons. The game takes place during a time when the area is experiencing a severe iron shortage. Not only are mines not producing as much iron, but the iron that is being produced is rotting and breaks easily. The player takes on the role of a nobleman’s adopted child who is instructed to leave home in the middle of the night with no explanation. The player is ultimately tasked with finding the origin of this iron shortage and exposing those responsible.
Occasionally, characters will want to have a chat with the player, which allows the player a chance to get to know them better. There are a lot of dialogue options that can affect the way other characters behave toward the player character. With the right dialogue options, some characters can become romantic interests for the player. If the characters in your party disapprove of your words and actions, they will leave the party. Overall, the writing l is very good, but not as good as later Bioware games.
Updating A Classic
The game’s visuals are very similar to old Blizzard games like Diablo or Starcraft with an isometric overhead viewpoint. The enhanced edition features higher resolutions during gameplay and a revamped user interface. The new visuals are nice, but there isn’t much of anything going on in the game’s sound department. When you select a character during gameplay, they will have a little “catchphrase” that they will say every time. These catchphrases get very annoying very fast. There are some scenes in the story that features voice acting, but most of the story is told through text boxes. Plus, the soundtrack doesn’t have any variety; you’ll hear the same handful of tracks throughout the entire adventure.
Single Player D&D
Bioware is a developer that is known for creating huge scale epic RPGs. The DNA of these games is all rooted in Dungeons and Dragons gameplay mechanics. Baldur’s Gate runs off a modified version of the rules of Advanced Dungeons and Dragons Second Edition. Whether or not a character’s attack will connect is decided by a behind-the-scenes dice roll. There are several difficulty options available to the player, and the main difference between them all is how lucky the dice rolls are. On the easier difficulties, you can get away with just using regular attacks against your enemies. On higher difficulties, you’ll need to use magic more, and in general use more complicated strategies.
This game is clearly made to be played on a PC. Even with the improved user interface, playing this game with a controller is just awkward. You can freely change between moving your characters with the thumbstick, or using point and click commands. Moving with the thumbstick works for exploring, but for combat, you’ll need to use point and click commands. The controls do work and the game is playable, but just barely. It’s hard to recommend the console version of this game when it’s clearly designed to be played with a keyboard and mouse.
VIBE Score 7/10
Baldur’s Gate is an old game, and the enhanced edition still feels like an old game. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, though. If you like retro-style PC games or even just old RPGs, Baldur’s Gate is still worth checking out.
32, living in Arizona with a passion for video games, music and movies.