Published on April 28th, 2014 | by JC Richardson2
Baldur’s Gate Enhanced Edition Review
It’s been a long time coming, but now Droid lovers can get to grips with the seminal Baldur’s Gate Enhanced Edition (BGEE) in a portable form – so is it the classic that we all remember?
Baldur’s Gate, in any form, is emphatically not for the casual gamer and as such it’s a pretty hard sell, especially at £7 / $12 with optional IAP characters to boot. Beamdog have aimed BGEE squarely at battle-hardened warriors, and new players will struggle with the nineties gameplay sensibilities here. Examples? Sure. Even on ‘easy’ mode, with no perma-death, combat is so tough you will be dragging your party back to the nearest temple repeatedly and spending any gold you’ve acquired on just keeping your party alive. Simple exploring is consistently hazardous, especially at low levels when a sprung trap can decimate your team.
Levelling up is also extremely slow by today’s RPG standards, and by the start of act two you’ll be lucky if more than a couple of your party have levelled. There’s also no way to rotate your party’s positions, so your weakling mage will invariably find himself facing the brunt of attacks, whilst your badass Blackguard has to push his way to the front when trouble starts. When a single encounter can kill off any party member in an instant, you soon be gritting your teeth in frustration and re-loading. Having enjoyed the PC version on and off for ten years, I hadn’t realised how important the rotation feature was until it was suddenly missing.
Exploration is a chore by today’s standards too. Your group shuffles around the immense levels with really no idea where to go except for vague directions from NPCs such as ‘the mines are south of here’. Online guides are abundant, luckily, and new players will be spending some time going through FAQ’s , as neither quest-givers nor quest targets are highlighted in any way.
Despite being graphically enhanced, BGEE needs to be played on a ten inch screen to be enjoyed. On the Nexus 7, fonts and icons are tiny and you’ll need 18 DEX to avoid slip-ups. Lucky I have small, gnomish hands which actually help for once.
Well, I’ve spent the past few hundred words moaning about how awkward BGEE is to play, so why have I given it five stars? Because it’s Baldur’s Gate and I can play it on the frickin’ bus to work! There’s a reason BG still has a rabid fan base after all these years, and it’s simply because BG is one of the deepest, most lovingly crafted RPGs of all time. Just because it’s tricky for noobs, or the fat-fingered, doesn’t take away from the superb dialogue, the dense plot or the richly imagined Dungeons and Dragons game world.
Summary: BGEE will bring tears of happiness (and pain) to gamers of a certain generation, but newcomers to old school RPGs will have to grow a pair, and quick, if they’re going to survive.