I'm not sure the Baldur's Gates are for me

After spending a good five hours or so in BG1 and more than that in BG2, I've come to the conclusion that this series is probably not for me.

I missed out on playing a lot of these RPGs and any game involving demons or the various magics as a kid because my parents were very religious and didn't allow it. There was a very real fear in my church and family of people getting possessed by demons by just picking up a D&D book, game, or even thinking about them too much. Because of that, I only got to experience the D&D possession when I was much older and gaming had generally gotten much more polished.

I knew all along that I probably wouldn't finish BG1 because everything I've ever read said that it wasn't that great compared to the sequel, and it was mostly about exploring the world. Exploring without any direct path is just fine with me, but the ancient interface and general antiquities would make exploring in BG1 more of a chore than an adventure. On to the second game...

Baldur's Gate 2 is the big one. This is one of those games that everyone mentions when discussing the RPGs of old, or decries their modern progeny. I feel like I gave it a good effort, getting into the city, past the slums. I aced the circus "dungeon" and was on my way to earn a ton of money needed to progress the main story when I decided that I was having no fun. The combat system is incredibly archaic. The story seems like any other RPG story these days. Sure, this was one of the grandfathers of computer RPGs, but that doesn't mean the past ten years never happened.

I'm certainly willing to concede that maybe I'm just not in the right mindset for the game right now. I doubt that's the case because I have no problem playing similar games and even older ones; Planescape Torment is spectacular. Heck, I just finished replaying Battletech: The Crescent Hawk's Inception late last year and I feel like it was more intuitive and connected me more to the characters than BG2, and the main character in it was a swatch of about 8 pixels.

I'm also willing to concede that it might just be what I'm nostalgic about and that I missed the boat on Baldur's Gate. I hope not, because I'm not sure that I like what that says about myself.

There will be some day this year when I just have nothing else to do and I load up BG2 again. Keep your finger's crossed.

3 Comments
4 Comments
Posted by guynamedbilly

After spending a good five hours or so in BG1 and more than that in BG2, I've come to the conclusion that this series is probably not for me.

I missed out on playing a lot of these RPGs and any game involving demons or the various magics as a kid because my parents were very religious and didn't allow it. There was a very real fear in my church and family of people getting possessed by demons by just picking up a D&D book, game, or even thinking about them too much. Because of that, I only got to experience the D&D possession when I was much older and gaming had generally gotten much more polished.

I knew all along that I probably wouldn't finish BG1 because everything I've ever read said that it wasn't that great compared to the sequel, and it was mostly about exploring the world. Exploring without any direct path is just fine with me, but the ancient interface and general antiquities would make exploring in BG1 more of a chore than an adventure. On to the second game...

Baldur's Gate 2 is the big one. This is one of those games that everyone mentions when discussing the RPGs of old, or decries their modern progeny. I feel like I gave it a good effort, getting into the city, past the slums. I aced the circus "dungeon" and was on my way to earn a ton of money needed to progress the main story when I decided that I was having no fun. The combat system is incredibly archaic. The story seems like any other RPG story these days. Sure, this was one of the grandfathers of computer RPGs, but that doesn't mean the past ten years never happened.

I'm certainly willing to concede that maybe I'm just not in the right mindset for the game right now. I doubt that's the case because I have no problem playing similar games and even older ones; Planescape Torment is spectacular. Heck, I just finished replaying Battletech: The Crescent Hawk's Inception late last year and I feel like it was more intuitive and connected me more to the characters than BG2, and the main character in it was a swatch of about 8 pixels.

I'm also willing to concede that it might just be what I'm nostalgic about and that I missed the boat on Baldur's Gate. I hope not, because I'm not sure that I like what that says about myself.

There will be some day this year when I just have nothing else to do and I load up BG2 again. Keep your finger's crossed.

Edited by GreggD

I would say you're right at not being in the proper mindset for the Baldur's Gate series. Two things you should make sure of if you give it another go: Roll the character you want to. Look up some good numbers for fighters if you're gonna be a fighter/paladin, etc. Second is to take some time to learn effective use of the combat system. It may seem simple or archaic at first, but there's more going on, especially with magic users. I hope you give it another chance at some point, and heed my advice.

Oh, and for the LOVE OF GOD, make sure you install the widescreen mod and any other essentials (I don't have the list in front of me, so just check the GOG forums for those).

Posted by stryker1121

@guynamedbilly: Nice read. I actually would have been down w/ more details, though. What exactly did you not like about the combat? I've been futzing around w/ Planescape Torment for a year or two w/o really getting anywhere, and the similarly styled BG2 is also on my list, just a quick download away on Good Old Games. So any further info you could provide would be helpful to decide if the BG series is not the RPG for me either.

Online
Posted by guynamedbilly

@GreggD: Thanks for the suggestions. I'm 100% positive that I will try it again in the future so I'll try to get my head right first.

@stryker1121: Thanks for the compliment. I guess my biggest problem with the combat comes down to the actual interface and how you interact with the systems. I've generally never liked the D&D systems, but I understand them okay. Everything about the interface is fighting your ease of use. There's no text unless you go into a separate menu which gives you a name and description. I think that if I had all of the spell symbols memorized that stuff wouldn't bother me as much, but it's hugely disappointing that in the great gaming year of 2000, with games like Deus Ex and Red Alert 2, the UI is as terrible as it is. That's the biggest disconnect for me, and I could have ignored it if the story and characters interested me enough; they just didn't.