By Tordah 6 Comments
First off, let me welcome you all to my first blog ever! Not just on Giant Bomb, but also my first blog anywhere on the internet! The thought of writing one has bounced around in my head for some time now but I never put the effort needed to convert those thoughts into words and sentences. The awesomeness of the Giant Bomb community finally made me take that first step towards blogging so I'm hoping this won't be my first and last blog here.
So about Baldur's Gate...I've owned this game for god knows how long, but I never got into it. I think I've tried playing it 3 or 4 times in the past but never gave it more than an hour or two before getting bored and quitting the game, never to return. This changed last thursday. I was ogling at my desktop trying to decide what I should do when my eyes came across the Baldur's Gate icon. I faintly recalled having installed it a few months back and played it once. Again. I was utterly bored and couldn't think of anything else to play so I thought I'd give it a shot. I also figured that I should glance at a guide while I play so I have some clue what the hell I was supposed to do. It wasn't until much later that day that I realized I had been playing for 8 hours straight. I couldn't believe how quickly the hours had went by! In the game world I had barely made any progress at all but in the real world I had dedicated a full work day to adventuring and exploring. I also played for 6 hours on both friday and saturday and now I'm wondering what the hell happened? I don't usually play for more than 1-2 hours at a time and sometimes even less than that. Spending this much time on a single game in such a short amount of time is not something I've done since Diablo 2 came out. I know what it was - I had become an addict again.
Now, Baldur's Gate is not a game without flaws, quite the opposite actually. It's old, it's clunky, it's slow, and there are several gameplay elements that have been imporved upon since in newer games. The quest journal flat out sucks. You have no clear way of telling what quests you have open and what quests you've finished since all journal updates gets written down automatically in a linear fashion. Not to mention that sometimes you only get a journal entry once you finish a quest so you'd better remember what you were supposed to do. But it's okay, I'm using a guide. Another annoying aspect is finding and remembering where important characters in this game are. I don't want to have to talk to every character I see, or hover my mouse for 2 seconds over each and everyone before I find someone whose name is NOT "commoner". But it's alright, I'm using a guide. The third and final nuisance for me is the trouble of finding any cool loot. In Baldur's Gate this is pretty much impossible unless you know exactly where to look, and I do mean EXACTLY. How on earth would you find a hole in the ground or a crack in a rock formation rougly the size of 3 pixels if you didn't know about it? You wouldn't. It's impossible. I know I'm not playing the game at it's original resolution (I'm running it in 1024 x 768) and that these stashes are supposed to be extra secret and difficult to find, but come on. If you happen to travel through that area when it's nighttime you're sure as hell not gonna find a hole in the ground unless you know the exact coordinates. There's absolutely nothing to indicate that there might be something valuable there. But it's fine, I'm using a guide.
Yes, I'm using a guide while playing Baldur's Gate. Shoot me if you want, I don't care. It makes me enjoy the game so much more and takes away all the things I hate about open world RPGs: not knowing where to go, not knowing who I need to talk to, and not finding any good gear. I have a tendency to go to places I shouldn't go until much later and end up getting slaughtered by some ridiculously strong monster. I appreciate the aspect of having an open world but in the end I prefer a more linear path, which is pretty much what a guide helps me with. Without these problems to worry about I can fully enjoy the things that Baldur's Gate excels at, which would be the atmosphere, the story and the battles. Exploration is a huge part of this game and the detailed and well-crafted areas you visit really makes you believe in this world. The graphics may not be all that impressive by today's standard but I think they have a certain charm to them that will never grow old. Travelling through an old murky forest while it's storming and raining and fighting monsters is always awesome. The music and sound effects are pretty good too (ignoring the lame character voices) and help increase the immersion a lot. Now, I'm only at chapter 3 so I can't say much about the story yet other than I want to know more about what's going on. I guess that's a good sign.
I know I'm a bit late to the party but who cares? A great game is a great game, regardless of when you play it. Now if you'll excuse me, I think I'm gonna continue exploring some dark dungeons...