#1 Posted by wumbo3000 (937 posts) -

Hey guys, I was just wondering which of these games would be best for someone who has never played these types of games before. I've always heard high praise for each of these games, but never been around to playing them. I know all of these games are incredibly deep and complex, so for a newbie like me, which of these would be the easiest and most fun to get into? Also, do you need to play the first Baldur's Gate or Icewind Dale to play the sequels? Any help is appreciated.

#2 Edited by Kidavenger (3510 posts) -

I've played all three, the only one I didn't finish was Planescape: Torment, I liked it, I think I just got stuck at one point and forgot about it.

Story wise Planescape: Torment > Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn > Icewind Dale II

Combat wise reverse the order although BG2 and IWD2 are very close with PST being a distant third.

I'd go Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn and it's expansion Baldur's Gate II: Throne of Bhaal for the best overall experience.

You don't have to play the originals, the IWD stories are practically non-existant, and BG1 story isn't related to BG2 from what I recall.

#3 Posted by Bobby_The_Great (1002 posts) -

You really can't go wrong with any of them, but story wise, Planescape has the best story. 

#4 Posted by Balex1908 (143 posts) -

Planescape, but be prepared to read a lot.

#5 Posted by The_Evergrey_One (18 posts) -

Although it is not neccesary to play BG 1 before BG 2 I would recommend that you do so. It will make certain events in BG2 more "emotional" for lack of a better word. Perhaps waiting for the enhanced editions would be a good idea? Never finished ID2 so I can't help you there. All I know is that it took place long after ID1 and that you make a new group of heroes.

#6 Posted by PolygonSlayer (419 posts) -

Highly recommend playing Baldur's Gate 1, that is still a damn fine game. Especially since the story and characters carry over. I didn't play them until last year and still going through BG2, and I gotta say that they are two of the best RPGs I've played.

Only thing with BG1 is that it does have some minor issues here and there that can be a bit annoying and it is hard as all hell, particularly at the start, however, you can install what's called Baldur's Gate Tutu, which will take the first game and run it through BG2 engine. It fixes the majority of the issues in the first game and also makes it a tiny bit easier at the start.

Tip number one though... read the manual that comes with the game! If not you will get lost in the systems, but don't get scared of them either, because it's a lot easier to understand than what it looks like at the start.

#7 Edited by AndrewB (7491 posts) -

Baldur's Gate 2 is the middle ground between the other two extremes. Torment is purely about the story, and Icewind Dale is purely about the combat.

You definitely don't have to play Icewind Dale before the sequel. Knowledge of Baldur's Gate 1 will add a lot to the experience (especially so if you intend to finish the expansion pack and thus the series). There's not so much to the story of the first game that you couldn't catch up on through playing the sequel and checking some outside sources, though (depending on how deep you want to dive into the Forgotten Realms lore).

Coming into any of them might be harsh given the age of the underlying systems, though. Icewind Dale 2 uses the 3rd edition of the D&D ruleset, which is the best (in my opinion). All of them are convoluted for someone with no experience, however.

#8 Posted by Giantstalker (1532 posts) -

Baldur's Gate 2 is head-and-shoulders above the rest, in my opinion, so I'd recommend to start there.

Baldur's Gate 1, coincidentally, is also very good and a much easier game to complete. Consider playing it as an extended tutorial.

#9 Posted by Maluvin (264 posts) -

Baldur's Gate 2 is really balanced as a game and has a very epic feeling story . There are a ton of abilities and just a huge world full of nooks and crannies to explore. By the end of the game you will feel like a badass and have seen a lot of interesting things and will feel like you've been on a journey.

Planescape is all about tell an interesting story. There's plenty of combat but there's also plenty of dialog to read through. If a lot of reading is going to bother you this game might not be up your alley. Some amazing companions and really interesting mystery and questions along the way. Also the loot tends to be stranger than in Baldur's Gate. Overall a more interesting game but you want to be in the right state of mind for it.

Icewind Dale is less about story and more about combat IMO. At first I didn't care for it compared to the others but once I started to think of it as a tactical combat game I found myself enjoying it.

All three are solid games. Valuewise I think Baldur's Gate 2 is the overall best of the three because you will sink a ridiculous amount of time into it enjoying some great content. Planescape has a special place in my memory for being willing to take risks and pull off a genuinely interesting story in a way that I just don't think many other games can come close to matching. Icewind Dale is solid but again, you have to be in the right mood for it.

#10 Posted by Aleryn (704 posts) -

Start with Planescape. If you enjoy and finish it, then begin Bladur's Gate. If you finish that, Baldur's Gate II. If you STILL can't get enough, only then go on to Icewind Dale II.

#11 Posted by Jesna (72 posts) -

Baldur's Gate or Baldur's Gate 2 are easily the most accessible games in that genre. Planescape has some of the best writing in video games but has relatively poor game play, and the Icewind Dale series is tailored to those with experience with the mechanics.

You don't necessarily need to play Icewind Dale or Baldur's Gate to enjoy the sequels, but BG will provide a lot of background knowledge and is pretty great on its own, and I personally prefer Icewind Dale to Icewind Dale 2.

#12 Posted by PolygonSlayer (419 posts) -

@AndrewB said:

Knowledge of Baldur's Gate 1 will add a lot to the experience (especially so if you intend to finish the expansion pack and thus the series). There's not so much to the story of the first game that you couldn't catch up on through playing the sequel and checking some outside sources, though (depending on how deep you want to dive into the Forgotten Realms lore).

Yeah, I personally can't imagine not playing the first one first. From a story point of view and having the connections with the characters, the worlds etc, but also if your not familiar with the RPG systems, I can just imagine suddenly having access to a ton of spells that do all sorts of strange things that you don't know what mean and weapon types from the get go being very confusing for a new starter. Again, want to reiterate, play the first game. I even played it "vanilla", as in not with the Tutu mod and although certain things are clumsy the game is perfectly enjoyable and playable today.

#13 Posted by Christoffer (1758 posts) -

Baldurs Gate aren't that complex from what I can remember. I never finnished Torment. But I will wholeheartedly recommend Baldurs Gate II. For some reason, Icewind Dale never hooked me, even if I finnished them.

#14 Posted by artgarcrunkle (970 posts) -

Planescape is all about the writing, Icewind Dale is all about the combat. Baldur's Gate is the best of both worlds and probably the most enjoyable to someone who hasn't played these games before.

#15 Posted by chrissedoff (2075 posts) -

Planescape Torment is by far the easiest of the games, which makes it a natural place to start. My personal favorite of the Infinity games is the first Baldur's Gate, which you should definitely play before you play the sequel (you can download mods that add the new features introduced in BG2 into BG1)

#16 Posted by css_switchfoot (118 posts) -

I'm playing through Planescape: Torment right now. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who likes deep stories, but if you don't like to read then it really is not for you. You can spend 10 hours in the first act just reading different dialogue. I love books though, so I'm having a balst, and I am surprised at how much reading everyone's dialogue actually affects the content of the game (hearing someone's story about one thing can open up dialogue options somewhere else). That being said, I would read a "beginner's guide" or something about PS:T since the rules and the combat are not like any other Infinity Engine game. Wisdom and Intelligence....didn't find that out until Act 3...anyway. Play it if you like reading.

The entire Baldur's Gate Trilogy holds a special place for me. My dad got me into Descent and Freespace and the very next game I got was Baldur's Gate 1. So of course I'd recommend to start with BG 1 and play the entire trilogy.

Icewind Dale 1 and 2 are on my computer from GoG but I havn't touched them yet. Probably some day...

#17 Posted by mordukai (7133 posts) -

@artgarcrunkle said:

Planescape is all about the writing, Icewind Dale is all about the combat. Baldur's Gate is the best of both worlds and probably the most enjoyable to someone who hasn't played these games before.

This pretty much sums it up.

#18 Posted by wumbo3000 (937 posts) -

Thanks a lot for the input guys. I'll probably start with either Planescape: Torment or Baldur's Gate 1.

#19 Edited by Draxyle (1792 posts) -

Aye I have to second Baldur's Gate probably being the best balance of it all. Icewind Dale was a little too dry for my liking. The combat isn't interesting enough for me to make up for the lack of story and companions.

I've only bought Planescape Torment recently from GOG, but that is a hard beast to get in to. There's almost too much writing for me to handle. I still want to push through it, but it has yet to really pull me in. I'm still only out of the first town though.

You can probably skip BG1 if it's too dated for you, but it's still got a lot of merit to it. Keep in mind, this summer they're releasing the enhanced edition of BG1 with upscaled graphics this summer. You might want to hold for that.

#20 Posted by TentPole (1858 posts) -

@Kidavenger said:

Story wise Planescape: Torment > Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn > Icewind Dale II

Combat wise reverse the order although BG2 and IWD2 are very close with PST being a distant third.

I'd go Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn and it's expansion Baldur's Gate II: Throne of Bhaal for the best overall experience.

You don't have to play the originals, the IWD stories are practically non-existant, and BG1 story isn't related to BG2 from what I recall.

I agree with with all of this except for the part in bold.

#21 Posted by ArbitraryWater (11477 posts) -

@wumbo3000: If you do start with Baldur's Gate, I recommend the TuTu mod, which is basically a total conversion mod that upgrades it to the Baldur's Gate 2 engine. While one could argue the merits of thrusting stuff like class kits into something that is essentially meant to represent the archetypical D&D experience, being able to put Max HP on level up and opening it up to easier modding opportunities should not be understated. Also your characters walk faster. That should not be understated either.

If you go with Planescape, you are pretty much just good with a fixpack and a widescreen patch. Maybe a walkthrough nearby, as the start of that game is a bit daunting and aimless.

#22 Edited by SirOptimusPrime (1946 posts) -

Personally, it goes BG2/IWD2 -> PS:T only because IWD gets you used to the mechanics, then BG2 presents an epic storyline still ingratiated with tons of awesome combat and mechanics, and then PS:T is good for the campaign setting with middling to bad combat.

@ArbitraryWater said:

@wumbo3000: If you do start with Baldur's Gate, I recommend the TuTu mod, which is basically a total conversion mod that upgrades it to the Baldur's Gate 2 engine. While one could argue the merits of thrusting stuff like class kits into something that is essentially meant to represent the archetypical D&D experience, being able to put Max HP on level up and opening it up to easier modding opportunities should not be understated. Also your characters walk faster. That should not be understated either.

If you go with Planescape, you are pretty much just good with a fixpack and a widescreen patch. Maybe a walkthrough nearby, as the start of that game is a bit daunting and aimless.

That's putting it uh...lightly. First time I played the game I had NO clue what in the fuck to do in that Morgue area for a good 15 minutes.

#23 Posted by august (3827 posts) -

That BG1 hd remake is coming out soonish so I'd probably wait for that.

#24 Posted by azrailx (242 posts) -

i only wish game stories were half as good as Planescape Torment's

its just that fucking good

#25 Posted by Seastalk (123 posts) -

Can I choose all of them? I enjoyed all three games equally.

#26 Posted by Moonshadow101 (555 posts) -

Never played Planescape. Will amend that someday.

Played BG2. Last year, for the first time. Went on a bit of a Good Old Games bender. Excellent RPG, held up surprisingly well. Story was solid, combat was challenging but not impossible, overall, excellent.

I played Icewind Dale I, and actually enjoyed it quite a bit. Couldn't play 2. If I recall correctly, for some completely inane reason, there's no hardware rendering option in IWD2, even though there's one in the first game! Without hardware rendering, the game ran in an obnoxiously slow, laggy pace. I don't mind old graphics in old games, but if they can't at least deliver a basic level of performance, I really just can't do it.

#27 Edited by phrosnite (3518 posts) -

Baldur's Gate II. Overall, it's way better than the other two.