marino's Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance II (Xbox) review

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So It's Not Online? And Champions of Norrath Comes Out Next Week?

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Well I must admit that I've never really played any of the Baldur's Gate games, and not quite sure why.  From what I understand, DA2 starts right where the first DA left off, but that doesn't mean you have to have played the original to enjoy the sequel.  The game opens with a sequence showing three adventurers who come through a portal and are immediately surround by beasts plus a man named Mordoc who taunts the warriors and speaks about an Onyx Tower.  This "dark alliance" is making an attack on the city of Baldur's Gate and it's up to you to save it.  You now have the choice of five new characters in a Barbarian Warrior, Dark Elf Monk, Moon Elf Necromancer, Dwarven Rogue, and Human Cleric as you start your adventure.  The game was developed by the now dead Black Isle studios.  Fans of the first Dark Alliance may wonder what happened to Snowblind Studios.  Well, they're making Champions of Norrath, which will be released next week.  But fear not, because Black Isle used the same engine that Snowblind created for this game.  They also used it for Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel
 
 
Graphics 
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Honestly there's nothing we haven't seen before here.  But that's not necessarily a bad thing.  The lighting and spell effects are done well, as you can see in the screenshots to the right, and although the characters are quite small, you can use zoom in up close to the action if you wish.     
 
 
Control 
The Xbox controller works perfectly for this game.  Although I thought it'd be simply mashing A as much as possible, I am pleased that the gameplay wasn't that monotonous.  Your character will be constantly switching weapon styles, picking up loot, drinking potions, and parrying attacks.  Every button is used, but rather than being a mess, it just feels right.  The L-Trigger works as a shift button and allows you to set hotkeys for the four main buttons (A,B,X,Y), which is great for special attacks that you gain as you level up.  The controls blend complex in-depth design with the intuitive ease of pick-up-and-play style.     
 
 
Sound 
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Not a whole lot to note here.  The voice acting is pretty good and there seems to be a huge variety of hacks, battlecries, and thuds for the combat.  As you crawl through some dungeons it gets fairly quiet, which may be 'realistic,' but it also makes the slow parts quite boring.  A more expanded soundtrack would have been nice...Custom Soundtracks would've been even better.    
 
 
Replay Value 
The game will take 10 to 12 hours to complete, but with five very different characters to play and tons of skills and special attacks to learn for each one, you'll get a lot replay value out of DA2.  Bring a friend into the battle and you'll have this disc in your Xbox for even more replayability...is that a real word? 
 
 
Conclusion 
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The game is action packed in most parts and if you like world's full of elves, dwarves, etc, then you'll certainly enjoy this game.  I had a great time customizing my character with the junk I found on corpses and treasure chests.  You also get to choose what kind of skills you want to gain every time you level up, which is nice.  The Workshop mode is fun for anyone who likes to tinker with weapons to create your own mods.  The only drawback that I see is that this game is obviously built to be played by more than one person, but it's not Live Enabled.     
 
 
*** This review was written for Flamevault.com shortly after the release of the game. ***

Other reviews for Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance II (Xbox)

    Dark Alliance II is a bland unoriginal dungeon hack. 0

    Ok, this is basically the same game as the original, with little to no improvements. The only actual improvements I can thing of are the graphics, but it's such a small improvement that it doesn't matter. The world map is slightly better aswell.. but that's all I can thing of. This game falls into the same repetitive mess of a trap that all dungeon hacks fall into. It has a terrible story, cheap graphics, boring combat and an insulting level designs. ----------Battle System---------- Dark Allia...

    1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

    Dark Alliance II isn't a bad game, but it brings nothing new. 0

    Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance II is yet another game in the crowded hack 'n slash genre. It follows the same formula laid down by Diablo, and copied by Champions of Norrath, The Bard's Tale, and X-Men Legends. You go from screen to screen, wiping out all enemies in your path. You collect money and items from their dead bodies, level up, and go kill more enemies. This is a formula that works most of the time, but it always runs the risk of getting stale. The first BG:DA avoided that problem, becau...

    1 out of 2 found this review helpful.

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