I just finished with the new EE content. I bit the bullet and got both Dorn and Hexxat and did my first ever evil playthrough just for the sake of using them. It was surprisingly satisfying. With that said, my (very late) review:
(1) New cutscenes were well done and were a welcome surprise
(2) I really enjoyed plundering the tombs. The layout was great, the layout made you think, the characters inside were interesting, and the combat was fun.
(3) A pure thief who ends up with a dozen spike traps? Game breakingly fun!
(1) You can't RP and take her with anything but an evil party! She straight up murders an innocent girl in front of you. When you call her on it she shrugs it off, and gets snippy with you if you don't write off Clara's death as meaningless. The *only* way I could justify taking her was with an evil character who held onto her coffin/bag of holding to keep her in line and who expressed horror at the notion of her giving up her vampirism (thus making her useless to him). I tried taking her in a second party and just couldn't bring myself to do it, because the dialogue choices would require me to stop RPing the character...which defeats the purpose of the game. What is the point of new content if you can't use it?
* Solution: Only Clara could go through the barrier, so why remove it? Have her go through the barrier, and leave the party behind. Let the player see Clara die. Then Hexxat walks out and claims that she is the same person, and found what she was looking for.
Sure, a smart Charname (or even one of average intelligence) could call her out on the lie. But it creates enough of a suspension of disbelief for non arseholes to take her into the party.
(2) The character herself. You learn next to nothing about her. She is from Maztica...great? No talk of culture, customs, history, background...you learn nothing about her. When I read her epilogue my thought was "Ok...what the heck is this cult, why does she hate it so much...and what does this have to do with anything?" All I knew by the end of the game was that she was a vampire, a lesbian, and didn't like being a vampire...that's it.
(3) The quests had no new loot. Which kinda sucks. Because there are so many great new items in BG2EE, and none come out of her quest. Even things that are just fun...like the amulet of magic missile immunity. Even if it just ended with an upgrade of her cloak.
* L can't make her mortal like he promised. So he upgrades her cloak so it doesn't wreck her during daylight as a consolation prize. Boom! Done.
(4) She doesn't fit well. You fight so many vampires in the series. In ToB you come across a vampire who just assumes you will kill her even though you have a vampire in your party. That boggles the mind! It just seems weird. She also suffers from the Shapeshifter problem, in that she is a vampire who doesn't have the abilities of every other vampire you fight. Meaning it doesn't really feel like you have a vampire in your party.
(5) Missed opportunity. Every other EE NPC shows off a new kit that they added. Why not make her a shadowdancer? Just make her into a shade. Someone who is half-way between the prime and the plane of shadow. Rather than dying at the end of her quest, if she fulfills her wish she becomes a normal thief, just like how Dorn can lose his blackguard powers. Boom! Done! No awkward powers, no jarring 'why spare this obviously evil murderous vampire who killed a party member in front of me when I kill every other vampire for the same reason' issues. A tragic character who *does what every other EE NPC does and shows off a new kit*.
- Great new locations
- Alot of fun in the quests
- Bland, unexplained, jarring character
- Horrible way of introducing her into the party
(1) A powerful, useful, and non-overpowered character
(2) (Almost) great buildup of evil! In BG1EE anyone can take him in the party. Well, except a paladin, or some clerics, that is. He is on a quest for revenge against other evil people, and seems loyal enough to you. So why not make use of him and rid the realms of the other horrible people? It is only in BG2EE that his evil ramps up. And the devs explained it and showed his dissatisfaction in the situation. I would have liked it if the build up was a bit more gradual so a neutral charname could fall into it, but you can't have everything.
* I'd have liked to have recruited him by defending him against attack. Bounty Hunters after him, you come and join him in the fight and kill them. Then the tasks start...so it isn't you just meeting him and going "yeah, let's murder a priest." It's "hey, they are after me now too for helping him, and he's useful...ok, we'll kill one guy. In for a penny, in for a pound..."
(2) The final quest was a blast! The artwork was *amazing*, the fights were downright hard, and different from what I was used to. The waves on the beach, the sounds when you stand there? It felt like your character was in heaven. And getting to inscribe other names in the book of retribution? For the first time in any playthrough I felt like Saemon Harvarian finally *really* died. That was great. I'm just sad that nothing happened from putting the demon's name in the book. But that is probably a problem of dialogue not happening in time more than anything else.
(3) Great new loot. Both Dorn's sword and later the 2 suits of great armor.
(4) The epilogue fit, and went well with the story. It shows the bad end he came to without someone to keep him in check, which fit the character and the saga perfectly.
- A location that was superbly done
- A hard end game fight
- Great new loot
- A useful character who is worth taking
- Could have used more of a gradual slide into utter depravity so a neutral charname could fall alongside him
(1) BG1EE he is just about completely worthless in a fight. Even at the end of the game all he is good for is having a sling and trying not to get killed. That is...really...bad.
(2) In BG2EE he 'just knew' that Algoroth was behind the Two Fold trust, without *any* proof. How did he know? That part made very little sense.
(3) No way to toggle off monk running speed, meaning that if you aren't careful he'll get himself killed
(1) The new locations look great. The temple in BG1EE, the amphitheater, heretic temple, dwarven hold...all well done.
(2) Did I mention a dwarven hold? Finally! I loved it. It makes him a must have for any dwarven playthrough.
(3) Useful new loot (such as the monk gauntlets early in the game, which makes the Saemon Harvarian bug tolerable when using Raasad)
(4) He's a powerhouse by the end of the saga, but not gamebreakingly so
(5) Enjoyable dialogue, as he comes across as a sincerely good person, though not that bright.
- Great new locations, including a dwarven hold
- Well written dialogue
- Good loot
- Good story
- Horribly weak character in BG1EE, to the point where Garrik is a better choice (at least he can use wands!)
(1) The stoner elf. Just listening to him talk breaks any and all immersion. Just...damn.
(2) No mention by any druid or ranger about how the wild mage enclave messed with nature worse than anything else in the saga. Really Jaheira? No mention about how an entire section of forest, and the water that flows to other localities, has been completely and utterly corrupted by uncontrolled magic? Really?!
(3) The cat quest. Try it. You'll see.
(4) Her way of talking can get to some people, as she can sound modern. It doesn't bother me, but I can see how others would be.
(1) Wild mages are fun! I'll never forget when a wild surge caused an exploding cow to kill half of Nashkel. Good times!
(2) More wizard fights, which are always welcome because they can be hard.
(3) I liked the arch villain. A wild mage in Thay hunting other wild mages, while hiding her secret? That was a nice twist.
(4) Neera comes across like a pretty realistic person, flaws and all. She was a well written character.
(5) While something of a (fun) liability in BG1EE, but BG2EE she turns into an amazing mage with a huge selection of lvl9 spells...so long as you don't wild surge.
(6) I like systems where magic is dangerous and shouldn't be thrown about without care or thought. The mechanic got that feel down great, where Neera can consistently do exactly what is needed to save the day, but at a risk.
- Locations were good, but not up to par with Raasad, Hexxat and Dorn
- Some interesting new loot (robe where you make everything wild magic? That is pretty cool, same with the Brick)
- Some tough fights, though not as new and interesting as what you see with Hexxat and Dorn, but still fun
- With the exception of the stoner elf, well written and well thought out character
(1) Only in BG1EE!
(2) A bit...too powerful.
(3) No new quests
(1) Some...dare I say it? Actual dialogue in BG1! For someone who can't have mods because of Iphone use, that alone makes him worth taking.
(2) GREAT voice acting.
(3) A bit...too powerful.
- Actual dialogue
- Worth taking as a character
- Best voice acting since we first heard Minsc
- Superbly well done easter egg
- Not enough of him
(1) Too hard to get
(2) Not enough dialogue/banter
(3) No equipment! Add in a low dexterity, and high movement speed, and you have a recipe for disaster. I took him once, and he just kept dying. It got to the point where I was just feeling bad for the poor bear, as it felt inhumane to keep raising him just to see him die again. And I very rarely ever have another character die.
* Rings should fit anyone, so why not wear those? Why can't he have a necklace? Or an ion stone? If Wilson was supposed to be like a kensai, then why not allow him similar restrictions?
(1) He is a bear.
(2) Good to have with a ranger or druid Charname, because...well...he is a bear.
- Good concept
- Poor execution
Thank you for reading, please tell me why I am wrong.