Baldur’s Gate II: Enhanced Edition Review
Format Reviewed: PC
Other Formats: iOS, Android
Release: 15 November 2013
Minimum Spec: 512 MB, OpenGL 2.0 Compatible GPU, 1GHZ CPU
Online Reviewed: No
When we reviewed the remake of the original Baldur’s Gate game we were full of praise. This was a game made with the developer’s keen attention to detail, a whole host of improvements and a number of tweaks and changes that made it a worthy play through, even for the most diehard of Baldur’s Gate fans. Even in spite of it flaws it was possible to overlook those – many of which have now been resolved – in favour of the fact that this was a true classic revitalised with real passion. Baldur’s Gate II: Enhanced Edition doesn’t share a similar fate.
The problem is that the previous remake rebuilt the entire world out of – in essence, anyway – the Baldur’s Gate II engine, and outside of those far-reaching changes (even at the time the changes with the sequel were pretty dramatic) it seems the latest just doesn’t offer the same level of overhaul. The engine itself doesn’t really offer much new, at least nothing as noticeable as the last, and while the same level of tweaks reappear it doesn’t provide a similar level of depth – especially since Baldur’s Gate II felt like much more of a linear experience that its predecessor. Undoubtedly this is a great game – one of the best RPGs ever made, in fact – and for that alone it ought to be played, but this is a review of the Enhanced Edition and, in that sense, there’s just not enough to praise.
The inclusion of a new Black Pits, for example, shows a real lack of ingenuity. Though its addition in the original remake did enough to feel worthwhile, here it feels a lot like more of the same – and that’s a shame. Even the four new characters fail to provide much in the way of content outside of their related side-quests. Both are valued additions, don’t let that be mistaken, but there could’ve been more – there should’ve been more – when ‘all’ that was being added was a rejigged engine and a few characters.
Perhaps that’s undermining the work of Beamdog and Overhaul Games and to its credit the developer has done an exceptional job of porting an aging classic to modern devices. It may suffer from odd bugs, but this is a game that will have few problems running on modest modern PCs – for that alone it’s worth regaling this outstanding RPG adventure. The scaling UI, in particular, will see great use on a wide-range of devices. That is great stuff. But gamers don’t notice scaling UI, gamers notice content – and in that regards the higher price of Baldur’s Gate II: Enhanced Edition doesn’t seem to correlate to the ‘new’ in this remake. As a classic RPG with some of the best writing and purest example of D&D mechanics in a videogame you really need to play this, but as a ‘remake’ this needs more work to be worthy of the same praise as its older brother.