Sunday, September 26, 2010

Baldur's Gate, part 4

I received an email a couple of days ago from Good Old Games, announcing that they've started offering Baldur's Gate 1 for sale, with the original game and its expansion Tales of the Sword Coast bundled together in a new pack they're calling "The Original Saga", which I think is a bit of a misnomer, since the "saga" of Gorion's ward isn't complete until BG2 and its expansion.

I already own the 4-in-1 pack, so I can't conveniently find this out for sure, but since GOG always packages their games with their own installers with all patches pre-applied, I'd expect that their version installs the game and its expansion all at once. Speaking as an owner of the disc version, I can say it's a bit of a hassle to install the game, then the expansion (on another disc), and then the last patch, and also deal with the unskippable advertisement movies the installer launches at the end of the install process on both discs. (BG2 at least makes them skippable). I would assume, given GOG's no-DRM policy, that they've also eliminated the CD check for playing it, which would be very convenient. I'm almost tempted to buy it again.

[Edit: This is confirmed. And in retrospect, it was pretty silly to think they might not have eliminated the CD check, considering there is no CD included with the digital download. Duh!]

They're not offering Baldur's Gate 2 yet, but I expect it's soon to come. If I were them, I would have released them together, because I personally wouldn't want to play BG1 without Tutu.

The price for GOG's BG1 is only slightly less than what I paid for the 4-in-1 pack, though, which means that if BG2 is at the same price, it will actually cost a little more than what I paid for the disc version, which I doubt is in danger of going out of print soon. The shipping cost balances a little of that out, however. Whether it's worth a somewhat higher cost for the installation convenience and lack of CD check is for the individual to decide, of course. I am curious about the 47 included pieces of artwork, and the soundtrack would be nice to have.

Still haven't reached the titular city

The game's called Baldur's Gate, but I still haven't gotten to the city of Baldur's Gate. Some of this can be attributed to the fact that I'm also playing other games as the mood strikes me (such as Icewind Dale, Mass Effect, Dragon Age, and Dungeons & Dragons Online -- and I have some blog entries in progress for some of those games too), as well as other obligations that occupy my time, but the city is barred to access until you reach a certain chapter of the game. I'm still in Chapter 3, 179 game-days in, as I methodically clear out each zone that's appropriate to my level. I'm following Dudleyville's Baldur's Gate walkthrough, just as a guide to which areas I should go to in which order.

I'm more anxious to finish it now, though, since I've just recently tried out a few minutes of gameplay from Baldur's Gate 2, and it's really astonishing how much better it is! I really like BG1 as it is, but the first few rooms of BG2 really raise the bar, with characters reacting to things in the environment, descriptive text appearing as you enter areas (much like a DM describing the area you're entering), and puzzles to figure out! I can see why people always specify that BG2 is their favourite, instead of BG1.

There are also a lot more mods available for BG2, including at least one total conversion. I haven't played it yet beyond testing to make sure it works, but Classic Adventures will certainly be getting a writeup at some point, because it looks like hours and hours of fun -- old D&D modules being made playable in the Infinity Engine.

No comments:

Post a Comment