I realize that there are several other threads already opened up to this topic, although quite a few of them have veered off subject.
I started a new bg2 game and played for about 2-3 hours just to get a feel for the new UI.
My thoughts: v22.214.171.124
-Character creation looks to be revamped to match the new "menu" system. This is where the dreaded scrolling begins. The artistic looking tiles have been replaced with dull text options inside a scroll down menu. It now takes an extra click to get to the kits for each class whereas before it was displayed instantly. Character creation should be completely reverted back in my opinion. The tile selection boxes were overall smoother to navigate and more artistic. I did enjoy being able to choose from a wide array of colors for my character.
-The save screen suffers from a similar fate as many other aspects of the new UI. Why space buttons away from each other and have extra "steps" to accomplish the same action. Just put all the buttons on the saves themselves like before..
-One of the first things I did in game was disable the character outlines and selection highlights since for me it takes away from the immersion of the game when your characters looks like paper cutouts separated from the game world. I also enabled the colored markings and classic selection circles under "feedback". For some reason I get a headache if I don't have the classic selection circles enabled since the new markers are ellipses and change the isometric look of the game field. It would be nice to just have the old EE thick colored markers back. I've mentioned this in another forum but if there is anything I'd like to see improved in these new updates it's the paperdolls. From all the wepons and armor you collect there is much more variety and complexity that could be added.
-Let's start with the area map, overall I thought it was an improvement. The only slight hiccup is that it's sometimes hard to locate your party at a glance when standing in certain locations on the map. The world map on the other hand doesn't need that silly travel button and the travel times look better displayed as a tooltip. Speaking of tooltips, all of the artistic scrolls that used to be tooltips have been replaced with less cosmetically appealing text boxes.
-The quest journal seems like an improvement in it's current state. Although, when your looking at entries you have to tab through the date first then tab again to see the entry. I don't have a problem with quest pop-ups.
-Now on to the inventory screen. Overall it looks to be relatively unchanged in my version. I can finally see all of my AC modifiers, but now my APR is missing... It looks like the circle displaying weapon damage still has some problems. Maybe if the numbers were slightly more condensed? The circle displaying hp should probably have the numbers oriented vertically, they are hard to make out in their current size. Also, the way your cursor "anchors" to items when you pick them up is a minor nuisance. It's more accurate to move items the way it snapped before.
-I'm really not a big fan of this equipment simplification system they added. You could already see the modifications each item made by swapping it in the slot and observing the changes on the stat displays. Now every time I pick up an item (even just to move it) the screen is jolted into displaying it's "effects" in a new stat sheet and lighting up character portraits. Why was this necessary? When your gaming over several hours the last thing you want is something constantly flashing in the background when doing something like inventory management. I know this was supposed to take the "guesswork" out of equipment but I've never heard of someone being troubled by this. You learn fast what kinds of equipment characters can and cannot use. The proficiency system is already intuitive enough for people to catch on about which weapons characters need.
-The character record is where things really go downhill..First of all I'm not a big fan of the chosen color scheme. Red and black text against that khaki colored background isn't nearly as crisp and clean as white against a dark background (I do like the stat modification coloring red/green). In a classic UI sin the five buttons on this screen are all spaced apart from one another instead of being condensed nicely in v1.3. The character's name seems to be the least visible thing on my screen. If you have a multi-class character you have to go digging if you want to see both levels. Also that silly flashing level up bar... In my opinion this whole menu system just doesn't cut it. The most v1.3's UI needed was a little cleanup in it's largest scroll box. You go to the old record screen and your Thaco, AC, HP etc... is displayed right in the open. Your character race, class, and alignment are front and center..and there is just 1 single major scrolling menu with all the extra details. If I was just starting out playing BG I'd be much more confused with the menu system and it's tedious scrolling. Ya, isn't it fun to scroll through all your status effects on top of that. What are spells doing in the character record menu?!
-The arcane and priest spell books suffer a similar fate as the character record. All your spells were displayed beautifully before but now you have to scroll (not just for the spell but the description too!)...and the icons for memorized spells are so minuscule...not to mention the silly "memorize" button...I would just revert all this back. If you're going to do anything maybe polish up some of the spell descriptions or just add some more art to these screens.
-Store layouts are another thing that apparently needed "fixing". Just put the stack of gold coins artwork you see on the inventory screen somewhere on the store screen. I don't know why it's been stripped down so much...The "steal" button was moved...Why?
-Lastly, some of my opinions on the feedback and game dialogue. It's awkward the way text lines up for many NPC's (it looks like they are missing a portrait). There really is no reason to separate character dialogue from the rest of the games feedback. Just have a single scrolling box not a separate one that you need to navigate to when dialogue is happening. Also, a minor note with the feedback, instead of having it display "Goblin takes 10 slashing damage from Imoen" reverse it "Imoen did 10 slashing damage to goblin" I think this looks better. Elemental damages really don't need a description as they are already color coded.
All and all I'm glad to see beamdog dedicated to building on such an awesome game. I'll have to keep playing and see what else I find.