Baldurs Gate Dark Alliance First Impressions....

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Romier S, Nov 30, 2001.

  1. Romier S

    Romier S Producer

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    I picked this up tonight at my local Walmart. I was suprised to see it there as I thought the release date was pushed back until the the 4th of next month. Anyway....
    First of all let me say that I am a HUGE fan of the Baldurs Gate series on the PC and of RPG's in general (Almost all of the PC games I own are RPG's). I am still to this day steadily playing BG2 (I still haven't finished it!). I love the series for its rich story, extremely likeable and well developed characters and IMHO the exemplification of what a good CRPG should be (along with the Fallout series and Planescape Torment[​IMG]). It also happens to have the absolute best implementations of table top D&D in the electronic realm!
    With that said and out of the way lets get to the impressions...
    Baldurs Gate Dark Alliance is what some would call an action RPG. In other words heavy on the action and light on the roleplaying. The game is very similar if not almost exactly like its PC long lost cousin Diablo. Some series purist will hate this change but I say FOOEY! to that. This is a different Baldurs Gate and I am enjoying the game very much. Is it as super ulta deep and complex as the PC games? NO! Does it represent the series as a high quality, fun action title that is a blast to play with a friend and alone? HELL YES!
    Story and Presentation:
    The story is a pretty decent D&D fare type story. A warrior female by the name of Edrith (I think, cant remember off hand) betrays the dukes of BG because they did not help her eliminate an orc army. They leave her to die and now she has apparently come back for vengeance.
    The story is much more detailed in the manual and is actually pretty interesting. When you start the game your character is robbed and is seeking revenge. You are then lead to the Elfsong Tavern. The NPC's in the tavern will give you certain quests to do which will of course progress the story even further. The quests are varied and interesting. Again this is nothing like the PC version so dont go in expecting the inumerable amount of tasks in BG2 nor the open endedness of that game. This game is very linear but in a good way. It lets you get to the action as quickly as possible. Think along the lines of Diablo or Diablo 2 and you will understand the quest structure.
    Presentation wise the menus are easy to navigate and once you hit the main menu you can just feel how polished this game is.
    General Gameplay:
    The game plays like Diablo. Period. You control your character from a 3/4 perspective as he or she hacks and slashes their way through dungeon after dungeon of swarming enemies. The left analog stick moves you around. The right analog sticks moves the camera around (very nice!) your character. L1 is the overlay map which you can move across the screen for better placement. R1 is block...so forth and so on. If you have played Diablo you will be very familiar with this game.
    Controls are responsive and have not given me any major issues. It will take some getting used to playing an archer as aiming can be slightly uncomfortable at first but all in all the controls are a dream.
    You get to choose from three characters..an archer, a fighter and a sorceress. I have played all three and they seem to be balanced well. Your character starts out in regular plain gear and will eventually find more powerful items and armor. Including magic imbued items, enchanted rings and even more. You can have some great treasure hunting parties with this one[​IMG].
    Graphics
    WOW! That about sums it up. This game is absolutely beautiful! The character models for the three playable characters and all of the NPC's are extremely detailed and exceptionally modeled. (the female NPC who runs the tavern is, how should I put it, WELL endowed![​IMG]). Enemy models are also nice but some of the Kobold Models are a little blah. Im not super far in the game but given the enemies that I have seen there are only a few low quality models.
    The environments are of the same quality. Exquisitly modeled with very clean texture work. Also, you will see quite possibly the nicest water effects in any game too date here. The water ripples around you and moves very silky and wavey as your character wades through it!! The dungeons are also very expansive and give a very convincing feeling of being in the D&D world.
    The game runs ULTRA smooth. You will almost never see a hiccup in the framerate. Even with at times eight enemies on the screen things stay fluid. Graphically I think this ranks right up there with Devil May Cry and some of the other heavy hitters. Graphics get a big time A+
    Sound and music
    This is one of the most important sections for me as the music in the Baldurs Gate series is some of my favorite. I am happy to report that the orchestral score keeps the overall feel of the series and adds some very nice themes that I hope are used even more in the series. Also I just recently found out the music is by none other than Jeremy Soule, composer of Icewind Dale and Giants. Wow...no wonder the music is so good.
    The score is sweeping and melodic in town and when you speak to the Tavern denizens. As soon as you hit combat it will kick in with some excellent battle music! A++ for the score.
    The voice acting is very high quality and will keep you immersed in the game. I know Michael Bell (voice of Raziel in the Soul Reaver series) is in the game but not too sure about the rest of the cast.
    Sound effects are all high quality so there isn't much to say here. Fans of the series will be happy to see that allot of the spell chants from BG1 and 2 are here as well as allot of the familiar sound effects we are used to hearing[​IMG].
    Features
    I put this section here to go over one thing real quick. 2 player mode ROCKS! Me and a friend have been up most of the night playing together and it is exceptionally fun. This is by far the greatest feature in the game. I wish there was a way to have even more people play but I will take what I can get.
    Complaints:
    Now for some bad spots (yes there are some). I wish they would have have had some kind of character generation system. The premade characters are nice but I would have liked to have seen a good bit of the races and classes from D&D in here. It would not change the story of gameplay much (besides balancing issues of course) and I think the ability to make your own character would have made the game even better.
    My only other gripe is that there is not enough interactivity with the good folks fo BG. They all walk around the streets but you cant talk to them or anything. They are just kind of there[​IMG].
    Conclusion
    All in all some PC players expecting something other than what the game is will be dissapointed. Everyone else should really enjoy this.
    Another must own PS2 game IMO. If you like a good bit of action...a dabble of roleplaying and the D&D setting go for it you cant go wrong.
     
  2. Tim Markley

    Tim Markley Screenwriter

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    I was really surprised to see this post. Everything that I've seen said that this game wasn't going to be released until 12/3. I'm a huge Diablo and Baldur's Gate fan and this game is one of the reasons that I bought my PS2. This is a must buy for me and I'm glad to hear that it has finally found it's way to stores. I'm gonna go check out my local Walmart tonight to see if they have it! [​IMG]
     
  3. Dave F

    Dave F Cinematographer

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    FYI: There is a demo of this on the Winter Jampack demo disc.

    -Dave
     
  4. Romier S

    Romier S Producer

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    Tim,
    I too was suprised to see the game as I mentioned above. I was going to go to EB and put my money down on this for the 12/3 release date. I just so happened to go to Walmart late night to buy Willow on DVD when I saw it in the case and practically tackled the store clerk onto the floor so I could get my grubby hands on the game.[​IMG]
     
  5. JasonK

    JasonK Supporting Actor

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    Thanks for the review, Romier. I plan on getting this next week sometime. I'm really interested in the 2 player mode. The last great 2 player RPG I played was Secret of Mana, so it's about time there's another one.

    Jason
     
  6. Brad Grenz

    Brad Grenz Second Unit

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    I keep hearing that the game plays like Diablo, but I'm not sure how this could possibly be. Diablo is all about pointing and clicking with a mouse. I assume you don't use one of the analog sticks to control an on screen arrow to select what to attack and where to move. I figure the game actually plays more like a 2D, overhead veiw action RPG like those Zelda games. Where you use an analog stick or the D-pad to control character movement directly (with a camera relative scheme), walk up to something and press a button to attack, or cast a spell, or whatever. Would I be right about that?

     
  7. Romier S

    Romier S Producer

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  8. Romier S

    Romier S Producer

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    Just wante dto bring this topic back as the game should be released officially today.

    I just finished the game last night and I am sooo hoping they get the sequesl out ASAP!!
     
  9. Joseph Young

    Joseph Young Screenwriter

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    I don't normally jump at 'dungeon crawlers,' but something about BG[​IMG]A really appealed to me. I bought this title pretty much 'sight unseen' (and after perusing several glowing reviews) and I must say, it was worth it!
    The graphics deserve an A+. From the title screen, with it's beautiful animated trees and stalks of grass waving in the breeze under a starry sky, to the ultra detailed character models (this is a sad and revealing statement about me, but remove the female elf's clothing and you'll see what I mean
    the graphics ooze quality. The frame rate is remarkable, butter-smooth... just walking around is a pleasure.
    The water effects equal, if not surpass, ICO's. The bass is remarkably full, from the splintering of barrels to the flickering torches, to the odd grunts and moans coming from either direction while you stumble through a sewer.
    Although this game adheres (apparently) to the 3rd edition d&d rules (about which I know absolutely nothing), it actually reminds me of Gauntlet. I am not familiar with the prior Baldur's Gate titles, so I don't have much to compare it to. I have yet to play the 2 player mode, but I am looking forward to it.
    A real surprise, this game absolutely transcends the genre it belongs to. Stripped down, it's a dungeon crawler (with questionable length), but the execution is masterful. Recommended.
    Cheers,
    Joseph
     
  10. JasonK

    JasonK Supporting Actor

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    I'm only 2 hours or so into this (just got it Thursday) and am working my way thru the sewers. This game is a blast. I like how detailed your character's attributes are - it took me 5 minutes to decide how to level him up. I can't wait to test out 2 player mode. One "what if" I have though: Online play. Had this been included, I'd be trying to find a way to get my PS2 online.
    It still gets a big ol' [​IMG] from me though.
     

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