I *finally* finished the Baldur's Gate series

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maurvir Meat popsicle
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After many years, and with a fairly long break in between, I finally finished the Baldur's Gate series with the last battle of Throne of Bhaal. That said, I will cop to turning the difficulty down for the last battle, as that was ridiculous. Still, I'm glad I finally got to see the end and make the last choice.

So, looking back, I have a few thoughts.

Baldur's Gate really does hold up, even today. Yes, it's the weakest of the games in many ways, not the least due to its seeming "lack of focus", especially early on. However, a huge part of that is that you start off as a level 1 character with zero experience. Literally. You take on a bunch of rats in Candlekeep at the beginning of the game and *boom* 10 XP! (Each!) Still, even though there are points where it seems to feel grindy, the random encounters with bounty hunters remind you that there is a greater story, and I feel like that aspect of the game can be forgiven.

On the flip side, BG, unlike the latter games, force you to walk through the woods at least once to get to far flung points on the map, which to me brings back much of what I loved about D&D role playing. There is this sense of journey, exploration and adventure, and while you can fast travel after your first jaunt down a path, you will miss a great deal if you don't go back as a stronger party and explore. Prism, for example. The artist below the mines at Nashkell making a sculpture out of a cliff face of Ellisime (who you get to meet much, much later). The ensuing battle with the bounty hunter (or not if you don't mind the outcome) is difficult, but also offers up one of the first +1 weapons of the game. That sort of thing is what makes BG a game worth playing.

Thematically, Baldur's Gate II, Shadows of Amn is the best of the series. It keeps you focused on tight goals, but also grants the freedom to wander off the path a bit - at least for chapters 2,3, and 6. (Though, arguably, chapter 5 grants a fair degree of freedom as well). It's clear Bioware was hitting their stride on this one, as it never falls apart. The side quests are solid, the characters more mature and less annoying, etc. It's darker without being overly dark, and because you start off as a level 9 character, you can skip the grind for the most part. (though I feel this comes at a cost in terms of less exploration and discovery) All in all, it is still my favorite of the series, though I would still carry a party through Baldur's Gate first for continuity.

Lastly, Throne of Bhaal, while important as the 'conclusion' to the game, to me fell flat. It was nothing but boss battles the whole way through with very little in the way of side quests or exploration. Of course, at this point, I suppose that makes sense - your PC is on his/her way to their final destiny. Nonetheless, it felt a bit too on-the-rails. I think a large part of this was that ToB was an expansion to SoA, but in trying to write the conclusion in three chapters, they condensed it too much. You get these super nice weapons and then never get a chance to use them. That said, there were some memorable battles. The last one aside, I think the battle with Draconis was among the hardest - and he wasn't even technically one of the Five. Also, you finally get to see what the deal was with the Golden Pantaloons - which you have (in theory) been carting around since Chapter 1 of Baldur's Gate.

I will definitely do another playthrough of BG1, ToSC, BG2, and WK. I'm not so sure I will bother with ToB again, though. I'm glad I finished it once, but it was a slog that didn't seem to be worth it at times.

What I probably will do instead is console in my favorite items from ToB for the giggles - like the Big Metal Unit. It was hilarious enough having Mazzy, the halfling warrior, wear a juggernaut golem suit. It would be even more hilarious to have Jan, the gnome, turn into a front-line fighter with it.
Pithecanthropus Roast Master
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I love that game, and have played it through several times (Monks rock!). I wish there was another game out there with the same level of fun, and D&D-ness.
Metacell Chocolate Brahma
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Dang, that is some tenacity. I think you beat my record of finishing Pitfall (finding all 20 treasures before the 20:00 time limit ends) 20 years after its release.

Minsc and Boo should really host their own late show.
maurvir Meat popsicle
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Yeah, well, I decided to go back and start again in BG, since I skipped it the first time (BG2 was on sale for $2 on the Play store at the time).

I always forget how much of a PITA Imoen is, pretty much the whole game, because she pays off so well at the end. I just dualed her to mage-thief at level 6 to get the most bang for the buck on her thief skills, at which point I realized she is going to be useless right about the time I actually need a thief.

Now I remember why I had to grind through ToSC for a while after Naskell - getting her thieving skills back is going to be absolutely required when we get to Baldur's Gate itself. It's going to suck losing an archer when the party gets to Cloakwood as well. Fun fact: A level 1 mage gets 1 level 1 spell slot.

On the flip side, by the time we faced Mellissan in ToB, she was a force of nature. Definitely worth the payoff later, but damn, it is a massive pain in BG.
Mustapha Mond Daring to be stupid
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I'm desperate to get into some D&D but I don't feel like I have the time to keep up with it. Like, if I started BG, I'd play a bit then let it sit for five years before getting back to it.

I also want to play with real people again.

I want my youth back!
Metacell Chocolate Brahma
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Have there been any good D&D games since Neverwinter Nights 2?
maurvir Meat popsicle
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Metacell posted:
Have there been any good D&D games since Neverwinter Nights 2?


Nope. :(

BioWare got bought by EA, and huge single-player (or local only MP) games like these were abandoned. You could set up a LAN party for all of these games without an Internet connection, which is verboten these days because it means you can play the game for as long as it will actually run.

Kind of a shame, really - I remember when anything under 100 hours was considered a joke.
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I *finally* finished the Baldur's Gate series