Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition Review

The main question is, is it worth returning?

Let’s start with the good news: there have been no radical changes for the worse. Beamdog managed to preserve Baldur’s Gate as it was, and the addition of new options was done without any rough patchwork. The overwhelming majority of changes made to this classic role-playing game make it even more understandable, accessible, and cohesive. If the Enhanced Edition were a reissue on DVD, it would be closer, rather, to Lord of the Rings: Extended Edition than to Star Wars: Special Edition.

Just imagine, as if this DVD has been gathering dust on the shelf for several years.

Enhanced Classic RPG

The bad news is that the work looks rough. The paint hasn’t dried yet, the nails aren’t fully hammered in, and sooner or later, you’ll stumble upon one of them. Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition looks more than uncertain, and while playing it, be prepared to encounter a couple of unpleasant surprises.

There are two points that should be mentioned right away. Firstly, Baldur’s Gate was (and still is) a wonderful, massive, ambitious, fruitful, and unparalleled game, but it found itself in something resembling an evolutionary dead end. Secondly, the original Baldur’s Gate is already 14 years old, and even the best plastic surgeons in the form of Beamdog are practically powerless. So, nostalgia aside (especially since I have already indulged in it), this review will help you decide whether to buy the Enhanced Edition or not.

I would like to mention two more things right away. If you have never played Baldur’s Gate but have heard a lot of good things about the game and have learned about this reissue, you should definitely buy it, but with some reservations. However, if you already have Baldur’s Gate, there is no need to rush to the nearest store for the Enhanced Edition, unless you are a dedicated collector and not buying this reissue would be going against yourself.

Rediscovering Baldur's Gate

The most obvious changes in the Enhanced Edition are related to the resolution: it has significantly increased, along with the viewing area. While the hand-drawn and mostly static backgrounds give the game an old-fashioned look, they still look splendid, and perhaps even more splendid than before. The larger field of view has brought a sense of scale to the game that was lacking in the original. It is also worth noting that the mouse wheel can now be used for zooming if you want to indulge in a more detailed view of the picture.

The cutscenes are also beautiful. They are now hand-drawn, which looks much more pleasant than the original 3D inserts. Those who have played Baldur’s Gate may also notice that some animations and effects have been improved retroactively, such as the “Fireball” spell.

Other changes relate to convenience and cosmetic improvements. Thanks to the enhanced inventory screen and character menu, it has become a bit easier to track the characteristics of equipped items. And this ultimately helps understand why, for example, this axe that I am holding in my right hand suddenly turns me into a clumsy fool. Some changes have been borrowed from Baldur’s Gate: there are bags for precious gems and boxes for potions, and it has become much more convenient to store certain items (such as arrows). These changes undoubtedly make the game better, but mentioning them certainly does not warrant a salute and fireworks.

Adventurous Journey

The new set of portraits, characters, and voiceovers also doesn’t amount to a significant addition. Personally, I prefer the introduction of new NPC companions, even though there are slightly more voice options for announcing to companions that you’re about to kill them. But both of these additions still make a minor contribution to the vast Baldur’s Gate. Nevertheless, the new characters are much better developed and voiced than the ones originally in the game (which sets them apart from the rest), and this variety is undoubtedly a plus.

However, all these additions still seem quite lackluster. And that’s because the biggest innovation lies outside the game itself. Black Pits is something similar to a mini-game, a separate adventure that mostly resembles a horde mode. Six characters fight against 15 powerful enemy waves, periodically spicing up this RPG violence with shopping. And although it may have been a questionable idea to have breaks between battles, Black Pits presents a worthy challenge to the player and offers an interesting story. However, I am disappointed that this mode is separate from the main game.

Black Pits also deserves praise for never crashing, unlike the main campaign, which suffered from this problem constantly. The game would crash to the desktop every few hours, usually during transitions between locations or, to a lesser extent, when trying to open a menu or screen. This drawback will bother you the most, but it would be wrong to ignore other game errors as well.

Heroes of Baldur's Gate

Here are some of the less significant ones. For example, I noticed a few places where the text is written slightly incorrectly. I’m also not sure if the new quest journal works as it should: after completing one quest with a talking chicken, I encountered a traveler who pointed me to a location where I could find the chicken again. So the quest appeared again, unfinished, but there was no mention of it in my quest journal.

And now a few words about more annoying errors. One of them is a problem with finding the shortest path, which causes my companions to get stuck near a doorway or wander around the map until they reach their destination. Sometimes I have to click again because the companions simply don’t respond to your commands the first time – I suppose this will be especially annoying on the touch screen of an iPad when a version of the game for this device finally appears. Sometimes archers engage in melee combat. Sometimes the entire group is selected, and the selection can only be removed by restarting the game. During the time I spent playing, the Enhanced Edition was updated twice, but the aforementioned shortcomings still exist.

Yes, the pathfinding issue was present in the original, but I am 100% sure that it used to be possible to minimize it by increasing the nodes for the computer to calculate. This option is not observed in the Enhanced Edition, not to mention many graphics and interface options, which surprises me immensely. In addition, along with the multiplayer, a server browser from Beamdog was expected, but in essence, at the moment, there is only the possibility of direct connection.

Reintroduces players to the timeless classic RPG adventure

But even all these problems are not capable of ruining the game. After years, it still remains a magnificent, captivating, witty, and uncompromising RPG, not to mention its difficulty compared to the games that have appeared in the meantime. Overall, the reissue can be considered successful: it did not simplify or change the original game, but brought it in line with modern standards. I believe that any RPG fan should definitely try Baldur’s Gate. But the question is whether it is worth buying the enhanced version for this?

If you want to take a closer look at the familiar world – undoubtedly. And definitely, if you want to play Black Pits. Otherwise, remember that the original game is much cheaper and, within reason, you can increase the resolution, add additional options, and even connect several fan-made (unofficial) quest mods. But keep in mind that these mods are unfortunately not compatible with the new version.

Dive into the world of Baldur's Gate once again

It is best to approach the Enhanced Edition from the perspective of “like it or not”. I will not claim that this reissue is the definitive version of Baldur’s Gate, and then form my opinion based on this point of view. It is not better, it is simply different.

However, it is worth warning new players that they should be aware that they shouldTo save more often and in different ways.In order for this review not to be one-sided, I decided to familiarize myself with the new tutorial, hoping that it would help me better understand the esoteric and somewhat outdated rules of Dungeons & Dragons 2nd Edition, on which Baldur’s Gate is based. But it seemed a bit convoluted to me, so I don’t think it’s suitable for preparing players for such peculiarities as the concept of THAC0.

I also discovered that the game, without notifying me, overwrote both of my saves, the automatic and quick ones, although I could swear I never touched the new quick save button that appeared in the Enhanced Edition. But when I decided to rely on this button, it cost me a significant portion of my gameplay, estimated to be around 60 hours.

So yes, it’s worth keeping that in mind.

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



More Reviews