Baldur's Gate 2: Enhanced Edition Review

Main: A grand adventure awaits

Would you dare to roll the dice if at least one of the possible outcomes threatens a terrible death? Such are the everyday lives of brave adventurers wandering the world of Forgotten Realms. Here, the phrase “death lurking around every corner” is not some cliché, but a statement of fact. The local world is very, very dangerous, and for those who stray from the beaten path, many interesting things await. Some of them are amazing, most are dangerous, and you may not always be able to fully comprehend their meaning.

Such a life is not for everyone. If there is something interesting somewhere, it will want to kill you, eat you, burn you, electrocute you, peel your skin, curse you, turn you into stone, or sacrifice you. And they won’t always warn you. In the updated version of Baldur’s Gate 2, I died unexpectedly when entering a room where a crowd of sorcerers summoned a demon, when entering a tomb with a dead wizard, when entering the lair of a shadow dragon, and when entering an exploding magical forest.

Keep in mind that all these deaths and many others are not predetermined, they can be avoided if you prepare in advance, and after loading and proper preparations, my heroes easily dealt with some situations. In all other cases, it all depends on the dice roll for death. One unlucky roll can cost you your life.

Journeying through the realms

The pre-rendered background looks good on a wide screen.

Baldur’s Gate 2 has always posed a serious challenge to players, and the return in Enhanced Edition promised to be exciting and intriguing. Here, you are offered not only dozens of ways to die, but the game still prides itself on a set of rules based on the eccentric and sometimes frustrating second edition of Dungeons & Dragons. Don’t forget: your saving throws and armor class should be low, while your attributes and attack rolls should be high. Unlike the THAC0 parameter or casting speed. And also: bards can use longbows, but not composite ones, got it? No, I have no idea why.

I wouldn’t want to burden those unfamiliar with these strange outdated rules, it’s like studying a dead language, and during travels in a dangerous world, I don’t want to deal with all this at all. But with its high entry threshold and reliance on the almost mystical set of rules, Baldur’s Gate 2 remains a magnificent, luxurious, remarkable, and incredibly epic adventure.

Polished to perfection, this fantasy is abundant in intricate details, and despite the complexity of spell effects and rules (believe me, magic is extremely important in the later stages of the game), its skillfully crafted characters and exquisite texts are just as excellent as before. And just as dark. Looking at Baldur’s Gate 2 today, one can draw parallels with late-century post-rock, as it is filled with stories of grievances, losses, sufferings, and loss of faith. Everything here is permeated with the pain of growing up and change, and it is perhaps the best game for emo-culture that BioWare has ever created.

Battles in the enchanted land

Reminds me of algebra lessons, but the demonstration of attack throws helps you understand what works better.

She is beautiful in her sadness. In the new high resolution and widescreen format, Baldur’s Gate 2 looks really nice. Impressive landscapes adorn the pre-rendered background, and the improved interface is not off-putting. Lessons were definitely learned from the predecessor’s reissue, which turned out to be quite unruly, and in Baldur’s Gate 2 there are fewer bugs and crashes.

However, sometimes it still shows you the desktop, and it is noticeable that some entries are missing from the journal, especially when they relate to new Enhanced Edition content. One small but annoying quirk is the overlapping character lines, interrupting dialogues and sometimes repeating the same phrase over and over again. During a battle with a dwarf blacksmith, the warrior blacksmith continuously shouted “by Moradin’s hammer,” again and again, until I split his head open with a chain (+4 to attack, bonus damage with fire, cold, acid, and poison).

The new companions – most of whom are borrowed from the Enhanced Edition for the first part – are generally a fitting and pleasant addition. They fit well into the game, but they don’t stand out as much as the familiar characters, and the quality of their quests, dialogues, and voice acting is not always consistent. They offer a new experience and new possibilities (sometimes in quite charming locations), but they won’t replace your favorite friends. For those who simply want to kill more monsters with more powerful spells, the Black Pits mode is included. In Baldur’s Gate games, there has never been a shortage of diverse targets for killing.

Exploring the magical world

No other deep fantasy game could afford so much levity.

The reason for buying the reissued Baldur’s Gate 2 for almost everyone will be the new content. As was the case with the first Baldur’s Gate, the game has to compete with the cheap original, which modders have been tinkering with for over a decade. On the internet, you can find fan modifications, technical upgrades, and numerous additional quests that are freely distributed by the community, which is still vibrant to this day.

After playing Baldur’s Gate 2 again, it is easy to understand why their love has not yet faded. The game is so big, so rich, and these attempts to add something to it look like another layer of icing on a luxurious cake, even if it is not the most delicious ingredient. You can spend the whole weekend in it and only see a small fraction of what the game has to offer. It requires dedicating oneself entirely to it.

So, if you don’t want to bother with mods but have always wanted to play a game from 13 years ago that looks and plays better than the old original, this is the perfect choice. If you are a hardcore fan who feels obligated to see new companions and quests that can’t be found anywhere else, then this is also your choice. Otherwise, it is worth taking a close look at various modifications, with a decent set of which Baldur’s Gate 2 will work just as stably as the Enhanced Edition: you will be shaken a little on the bumps, but you will successfully overcome the entire path.

Whatever you choose, be prepared to spend weeks exploring dark dungeons and immersing yourself in a game that reminds you of a time when dialogues meant much more than realistic facial animation. And that means be ready for high difficulty, dangers, and frequent deaths – greetings from a merciless era.

It is complex and incomprehensible. It is big and beautiful. It is cruel and capricious. It is a real adventure.

Baldur’s Gate 2: Enhanced Edition
RPG, Co-op
Overhaul Games
Release Date:
Editor's rating:
Is it worth playing? (If the score is more than 70%)



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