Enhanced Edition's "Release" and My Issues With It.

#1 Edited by SirOptimusPrime (1945 posts) -

So people have been sitting on their hands for a while waiting for this thing. I was mildly interested in it, despite having played the original game in both its vanilla and modified forms to death. It seemed to be high on most PC gamers' radar, until we learned things like the game's "new" interface being basic mods slapped onto the existing UI for a ten dollar game. Then there's the problem of aesthetics.

This is not the work of a competent designer.

The developer, in their stride to make the game "new," seems to have forgotten how poorly merging multiple fonts of wildly varying types can look. The font for the sidebar alongside the HP, AC, THAC0, etc. are in a font that clashes totally with the simplistic "fighter" text and the actual numbers they represent immediately to their left. That just looks like blind change. The new art style or whatever is totally fine - it's actually decent - but simple errors like that weird "fantasy" font just make the whole thing look clunky and poorly thought out. If they wanted to "modernize" the game's UI, then stuffing extra things into the already messy interface was certainly not the way to go about it. Ditching the iconography on the right entirely and using a solely text-based info dump is less visually appealing, but certainly just as useful. The game is already 90% text as it is, so I don't see the reason to shove in more info in a more confusing way.

Then there's this piece of hilarity.

I don't want to sound like an old man hating change, but what was the philosophy behind that change? The originalwas perfectly adequate, required no change and therefore no cost of resources which, judging from the entire release, this could have used any and all of them. Just read the wonders going on at their bugs forum. One especially interesting, if anecdotal at this point, set of bugs is that apparently the game crashes after the Candlekeep scene on Intel, Nvidia, and AMD chipsets.

...

That's not the entire market of graphics chipsets is it? Oh, it is? Well, that's unfortunate. For a game that has been delayed for a while, to have the end result be a simple regurgitation of the game with some UI mods and "promise of DLC" is quite disappointing. What's further confusing is that the game has been touted as a "modernization" when one thing still stands in the way: 2nd Edition AD&D. Now, for some people that's fine because they learned early on what To Hit Armor Class 0 means (essentially the roll required on a sliding scale where, say, the attacker has a THAC0 of 15 and the defender has an AC of 5, the attacker has to roll a 10 or greater to hit) and the wholly stupid concept of "lower is better" for armor class.

However, for people that got into RPG's of this caliber with Dragon Age, this whole system seems archaic, banal, and pointlessly complicated in parts. To some extent they are right. I, for one, agree but have also played almost entirely 2nd edition and 3.5edition AD&D since I was about eleven. I get the rules and still sometimes stumble around some of the weird subrules.

Unfortunately for us, that leaves the game in a sort of middle ground where it is neither appealing to the original fanbase because the original system being unchanged provides no challenge (not to mention that the hardcoded engine allowed for some violently cheesy tactics that have to be abused at points depending on party composition), the lack of change in the base game besides an arena mode - already in the existing code and unlocked via mods - and a few new NPC's, and finally the gratuitous eye molestation in the cluttered UI. Then there's the new blood who, if interested in the game, would find it pretty confusing after a brief search to find that the game is already $9.99 on GOG as opposed to the $19.99 of this version.

A slightly more involved search would bring up that the mods required to make the two games in parity requires zero technical know-how and amounts to little more than clicking an executable. Even without that knowledge, most people would just get the GOG version, right? Perhaps the prospect of an iPad version is enough to sate you? Well, judging by what we know about how poorly the thing runs on modern hardware (via this version only) I am quite frightened by that version. Who knows, though? Maybe that was the lead platform all along.

So what we end up with is a game that was re-released for no discernible reason, priced too highly, and quite buggy on release. The "enhanced edition" should not require the new user to fix bugs and apply patches that were already required in the base game and, in some instances, wait for patching from Beamdog to have their game "fixed." Another problem arises in that the client from the developer seems to range in speeds from 10 kbps to, at best, 100. Apparently there is a solution that requires changing ports, but that is also another issue with releasing something seemingly better over a client that seems to be entirely useless. I shouldn't have to configure ports for a game client in 2012 - that's just poor forethought and stinks of a torrent client. Load-testing seems to be another issue for the developer, but I don't know enough about networking to comment on that.

My only advice, if you don't bother to read this all, is to buy the game on GOG and modify with the recommended ones over at the forums. If you intend on buying the iPad version, just be wary please - the game is still fantastic but everything surrounding it seems unstable and unusual. Then again, this is first day so some issues are to be expected. However, the graphical problems and "changes" go beyond that.

UPDATE:

After having it installed for a while now, there are a few things that are hilariously bad (this is coming from my experience and a friend's, both having played many playthroughs of BG1):

  • Resolution upscales from 1024x768, just like this generation of console does 720p to 1080p
  • Therefore, the new shitty text is now super blurry as well and the WS mod is already better
  • New NPC's and areas are poorly written/designed, and the new areas look quite bad in contrast
  • Some of the tooltips are straight up wrong/apply to the wrong item
#2 Posted by believer258 (11630 posts) -

I don't know if I'd want to play a complex RPG on an iPad anyway.
This is really a shame. They really couldn't be bothered to make it at least work properly?

#3 Posted by triple07 (1196 posts) -

I was wondering if I should look into this version but after reading this it sounds like I'm just fine with my GOG version I bought awhile back. A real shame too because even though I never played the game when it was originally released I can see why the game is held in such high regard. I was hoping this would provide a more modern experience that could make this game easier to get into but it sounds like they didn't really make any strides in that area.

#4 Posted by Fattony12000 (7039 posts) -

@SirOptimusPrime said:

So what we end up with is a game that was re-released for no discernible reason, priced too highly, and quite buggy on release.

It's actually for one very simple reason. Money! This whole thing is just a very poorly (and cheaply) executed refresh of a classic game that takes many steps backwards on the technical side of things when compared to the GOG version, and even the original CD-based version (which can be a little bit spotty on modern OSes, but is very easily fixed after about three minutes of searching on this thing called the World Wide Web).

Also, I love THAC0, because it's so stupid.

Does anyone here want to play co-op BG2 with me over Christmas, by the way? NO HEX EDITING LOL.

#5 Posted by zels (204 posts) -

@SirOptimusPrime: The intro cinematic probably had to be redone because it would not play well in today's resolutions. It's cheaper to put in pics than to re-master the whole vid frame by frame. Also, I don't really mind the new one all that much.

It should work better on ipdas because it's a much more standardised system as opposed to PCs or Android devices.

PS: Am I the only one who's horrified by the prospect of BG3?

#6 Posted by Canteu (2821 posts) -

He doesn't punch his helmet off in the opening cinematic. I have found that to be one of the most hilarious intros ever made, and they gone and fucked it up.

NO SALE.

Also, i already have BG, and have played it hundreds of times, so i certainly don't need this shit heap.

#7 Edited by SirOptimusPrime (1945 posts) -

@Fattony12000: Yep. I figured that was obvious and implied, since any business exists to make money.

@zels: It's always worked fine/looked fine in every modern resolution I've ever played it in (1600x900, 1080p).

@Canteu: I think it's the voice acting that gets me. Or the doofy buckler the paladin has.

#8 Posted by Canteu (2821 posts) -

@SirOptimusPrime: "I will be the last! And you will go first!"

So good.

#9 Posted by deano546 (182 posts) -

This is too bad. I wanted to try this out on my iPad, now, I'm not so sure.

#10 Edited by Karkarov (2980 posts) -

Okay wow, talk about nit picking.

No, this IS the better version of the game. Yeah the UI needs serious work, yes graphical options are missing inexplicably. But your font complaint is completely ridiculous. Every word on that screenshot is in the same font except for the backpack, yes it is a little odd that they are all different sizes, but it is that "really" a big deal to you?

This version is best the Baldur's Gate has ever been for four reasons. First the fog of war is rendered correctly and doesn't look like crap on my screen, THAT was something worth complaining over from the original. Second I can actually zoom in and out and the game scales fairly okay not looking like total crap until you zoom in fairly close. Those two things alone make it worth the additional 10 dollars over what you pay at GoG, trust me. Let's continue though. Third your mod complaint is legit sure, I mean they are already out there for the existing game. Of course this game also supports those very same mods once they get updated. Fourth, it can actually be acquired on platforms and devices it has never been on previously (at least it will be sooner or later).

I will just ignore the fact that it also has a extra main story set of side quests, a optional set of side story outside the main game, three new npcs, and some other "nice" touches like new voice files and character portraits plus support for higher res custom images. That and once it gets the bugs worked out real multiplayer for those who care.

So yeah, I think it was worth the 9 whole dollars more than what GoG asks for.

EDIT: The game does have bugs according to the forums. However once I got it fully downloaded and patched I have not crashed a single time or had any technical issue. To be specific by patch I mean the games own patcher, nothing else.

#11 Posted by mordukai (7133 posts) -

@Fattony12000 said:

@SirOptimusPrime said:

So what we end up with is a game that was re-released for no discernible reason, priced too highly, and quite buggy on release.

Also, I love THAC0, because it's so stupid.

Does anyone here want to play co-op BG2 with me over Christmas, by the way? NO HEX EDITING LOL.

Many players hated Ed2 for some reason but I liked because it required you to think. Personally I think it's better then the Ed4.

#12 Posted by SirOptimusPrime (1945 posts) -

@Karkarov: The font is just part of the problem - that being that it seems like a schill with absolutely no concept of design rehashing things needlessly and putting pre-existing mods onto a game and calling it 'enhanced.' It's less that it is a flawed product, and more that it's disappointing that people are supporting this. If those device ports are bad, or just mediocre like this one, then it's totally uninteresting to me. This is also a game that just seems like it would be heinous to play on a touch screen. The formation system and shitty pathfinding are only going to be worse when touch controls are figured in.

Follow the money, I guess.

@mordukai: Well, 2.0 and back had some dumb concepts, but on the whole it was great. I'm still a 3.5 man, but if I have to (for whatever reason) play anything from 2 or back, it's not like my brain breaks or anything. 4.0 is a nightmare, let's not talk about that tragedy of a system.

#13 Posted by Karkarov (2980 posts) -

@SirOptimusPrime: That's all well and good. I just want people to realize that this is not just "Baldur's Gate from GoG with mods slapped on it". Which is what your original post heavily implies.

#14 Posted by SuburbanNooblet (6 posts) -

Anyone else have any impressions. Looks like a pretty bad cluster on the official forums.

#15 Posted by zels (204 posts) -

@Karkarov said:

@SirOptimusPrime: That's all well and good. I just want people to realize that this is not just "Baldur's Gate from GoG with mods slapped on it". Which is what your original post heavily implies.

If the forums are to be believed it's actually worse than that. Don't get me wrong, I'm happy that the game works fine for you, but at the same time just reading through the issues that people are having with the game paints a very bleak picture.

I hope that they'll fix it, and when they do, it is going to be the best version of the game. In its current state I wouldn't even pay 10 for it - the risk of it not running at all seems too great.

#16 Posted by Karkarov (2980 posts) -

@zels said:

@Karkarov said:

@SirOptimusPrime: That's all well and good. I just want people to realize that this is not just "Baldur's Gate from GoG with mods slapped on it". Which is what your original post heavily implies.

If the forums are to be believed it's actually worse than that. Don't get me wrong, I'm happy that the game works fine for you, but at the same time just reading through the issues that people are having with the game paints a very bleak picture.

I hope that they'll fix it, and when they do, it is going to be the best version of the game. In its current state I wouldn't even pay 10 for it - the risk of it not running at all seems too great.

Key words in your post. "If the forums are to be believed". Most people who got it are too busy playing it to bother posting about it on the forums. Anyone who had trouble with this game either a: hasn't updated their graphics drivers in a long time, b: hasn't updated direct x in a long time, or c: has an ancient computer. Everyone I know who bought the game either had no issue to begin with or doing a+b took care of it.

There are only two real drawbacks I have seen after playing it for a few hours. They really need to add some graphics options so we can set resolution or alter the ui size. That and the game runs in 1024x768 and simply scales to fit your desktop in full screen mode. I don't know how they are pulling it off exactly because the maps, models, etc look fine better than the GoG version with mods. But the UI gets blurry and stretched. That coupled with the fact that it is already too big...

#17 Posted by Hailinel (23873 posts) -

@Canteu said:

@SirOptimusPrime: "I will be the last! And you will go first!"

So good.

What does that even mean?

Online
#18 Edited by Karkarov (2980 posts) -

@Hailinel said:

@Canteu said:

@SirOptimusPrime: "I will be the last! And you will go first!"

So good.

What does that even mean?

Uh if you never played Baldur's Gate just think the Highlander TV show/movies and imagine that your protagonist is Connor Mcloud, the dude in the spiky armor is the Kurgan, and the guy thrown off the tower is Ramirez. That's the easiest way to explain it.

#19 Posted by Canteu (2821 posts) -

@Karkarov said:

@Hailinel said:

@Canteu said:

@SirOptimusPrime: "I will be the last! And you will go first!"

So good.

What does that even mean?

Uh if you never played Baldur's Gate just think the Highlander TV show/movies and imagine that your protagonist is Connor Mcloud, the dude in the spiky armor is the Kurgan, and the guy thrown off the tower is Ramirez. That's the easiest way to explain it.

Couldn't have said it better myself!

*scuttles back to far cry 3*

#20 Posted by falling_fast (2183 posts) -

I just hope the multiplayer is good :/

#21 Posted by ArbitraryWater (11471 posts) -

Don't be hatin' on 2nd ed AD&D. Sure, it's a clumsy, occasionally confusing and certainly unrefined mess of a ruleset, but THAC0 is still my favorite dumb term for "Your chance to hit dudes with yo sword" and I personally think archaic mechanics like "Only Humans can be paladins" and the entire concept of dual classing really contribute towards the classic D&D adventure tone that Baldur's Gate tries to nail. Less transparent than 3rd edition? Certainly. But not impossible to understand. I played through most of BG2 when I was like 14, and I understood THAC0 just fine.

As for the rest of your issues, those sound unfortunate. Really, I figured running the game through TuTu/BGT with a bunch of mods was always the superior option anyways, but hearing the part where it's a technical mess is disheartening, considering this enhanced edition is probably the first exposure that some people will have to the game (then again, the way that Baldur's Gate is designed with its occasionally erratic difficulty curve and early game consisting of constant exploration of mostly empty wilderness is probably enough to scare that audience off anyways). In short: dang, but good riddance to them for charging double of what GOG is charging.

#22 Edited by SirOptimusPrime (1945 posts) -

@ArbitraryWater: Ack, I know it is easy to understand. I've played 2.0 and 3.5 for my entire tabletop career, so maybe I should edit something in there. Though I don't agree with your idea of the ruleset restricting roleplaying - that should be up to the player... but that's wildly off-topic.

It is a, in the grand scheme of things, monumentally simple system, but the target audience of something like this is, I think, a newer group of people and not the old guard. These are people that might have never touched a tabletop RPG or even had difficulty understanding Dragon Age's system, so I think it's fair to say that it is a relatively archaic system.

edit: whoa, this reads as very angry or annoyed. not at all what I'm trying to do.

#23 Posted by endaround (2138 posts) -

2nd Ed is more than fine. It really isn't archaic, it is just heavily race/class dependent. Now if you want to talk about trying to deal with all the class kits that can get thrown on top of the base rule set...

#24 Posted by Laiv162560asse (487 posts) -

I think that, to a newcomer, the value of this Enhanced Edition pales in comparison to the DnD Anthology, which includes all BG games and expansions, all IWD games and expansions, Planescape: Torment and Temple of Elemental Evil. Ask me if I'd prefer BG with some fluff like modern resolution support and a handful of new content over all those great games and I know what I'd pick. BGtutu mod and the widescreen mod make vanilla BG look just like the Enhanced Edition anyway.

#25 Posted by Nentisys (886 posts) -

@Karkarov said:

No, this IS the better version of the game.

This version is best the Baldur's Gate has ever been for four reasons. First the fog of war is rendered correctly and doesn't look like crap on my screen, THAT was something worth complaining over from the original. Second I can actually zoom in and out and the game scales fairly okay not looking like total crap until you zoom in fairly close. Those two things alone make it worth the additional 10 dollars over what you pay at GoG, trust me. Let's continue though. Third your mod complaint is legit sure, I mean they are already out there for the existing game.

Can you tell me why I should buy this when I own the original on the PC?

It has been a few years but I don't remember anything wrong with the fog of war. Zooming out could be pretty useful in battles though.

#26 Edited by AndrewB (7489 posts) -

My understanding is that the source code for the Infinity Engine was lost (I don't know if that means "gone" or held up in the legal issues between licensing between at least three different companies, some of which don't exist any longer), so all modifications to it must be in the form of hacks. That explains some things (the mix of fonts between grafting Baldur's Gate onto the Baldur's Gate 2 version of the Infinity Engine - which isn't even the best version, mind you), but doesn't excuse them.

#27 Posted by Funkydupe (3311 posts) -

I'm so confused. Are you saying this isn't a remake? They just took mods made by fans and said "Here, buy our new Enhanced Edition"?

#28 Edited by ThunderSlash (1547 posts) -

@Funkydupe said:

I'm so confused. Are you saying this isn't a remake? They just took mods made by fans and said "Here, buy our new Enhanced Edition"?

It's more like a remastering than a remake. They took the original game and tweaked it.

Edit: They also added some new content (quests, areas, and characters).

#29 Posted by mattdragn (76 posts) -

From what I've played, as someone who has been playing Baldur's Gate since they were 10, this seems like a rock solid version. Honestly I bought it mainly to support the resurgence of the genre but I've found Neera to be an interesting character and just got the monk in my party. The zoom function is nice and I've found only a single bug in that my cursor disappeared when I tried to equip armour (this was easily fixed by turning off Hardware Cursor in the graphics menu). Honestly the best version of this game is probably the Baldur's Gate trilogy mod which has most of these features and makes all of the series a single game, but I want more 2d greatness so I paid the money.

Bottom line is it's a good starting point if you have never played the series before, and with thaco you just subtract it from 20 to get the bonus to your hit rolls right? That's what I've assumed for the last 11 odd years any way...

#30 Posted by SirOptimusPrime (1945 posts) -

@mattdragn: Paying ten extra dollars to get free mods and have to deal with issues across the board does not read as "good starting point" to me. Neither does the shitty up-res or the fact that they blamed x86 architecture on their technical problems. Or that they straight up are saying "too bad" to Intel integrated chips and are dumping bugs into a separate forum labeled "Not An Issue." I mean, Intel is pretty basic hardware but that means the game simply will not run on many modern laptops. That's kind of messed up for a "modernization" don't you think?

And on the topic of the new stuff - it ranges from okay to not enjoyable. The monk character is worthless minus his boots, Dorn is kind of all right, and some of the "new" stuff is previously unfinished code. The Black Pits is a combat challenge thing, but with the gloriously bad BG pathfinding and AI issues. It's pretty good, but you still have to play "lead the Dragoon" style babysitting.

I just don't see the value in this versus a cheaper version that requires about as much internet-ery to fix up properly. Widescreen mod + BGT and you're done - saved $10 and the possibility of game-breaking bugs. I've already discussed why it's aesthetically less grating on the eyes as well.

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