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First Impressions (about 8 hours in) No spoilers!

My first impressions on Siege of Dragonspear as of approximately 8 hours into the game. Before you read further, if you love Baldur's Gate and haven't purchased SoD yet...just, go buy it now. It's worth it, plus, "Gorion would be proud of your actions!"

I put on my robe and wizard hat.

Pros:

The vibe of the game so far feels as if Black Isles and Wizards of the Coast made it. No joke, Beamdog stepped up to the plate with Boo and the miniature giant space hamster swung his fierce little claws with a D20 and rolled a 21! Thereby critting everything and everyone in the park with his glorious "squeak" as Minsc wept proud, ranger tears from his moon-face. Yeah I have to admit I've been infected with the Minsc fever again, and Boo apologizes for this behavior. "Make way, real life people! I'm armed to the teeth, and packing a hamster!"

Voice acting is, simply put, spot on. Every character that has vocals feels the part, from characters that are haggard and gruff to characters that are squeamish and shy. They are the sails that this boat known as Baldur's Gate get across the ocean of story with, and they are as sturdy and true as Minsc's faithful furry friend!

Game play is exactly what you expect from an infinity engine game of 17 years ago. I've experienced only moments of bugginess with character movement, where one character will not realize how to move around another character and begin a strange dance along-side the other...maybe Minsc should have taken his anti-seizure medication before starting this journey... This is easily fixed and not game breaking, only a nuisance when it does happen. (I've had it happen about 4 times so far)

New companions
are very, very compelling characters. They give this feeling as if they have a long history to share with you and it comes across with every sentence they speak.

Story tie-ins are EVERYWHERE. There is a specific character you encounter early on that speaks mysteriously about you and wants to know more of you. This character is only mentioned of in few brief sentences from few characters in the original Baldur's Gate, but an important character in Baldur's Gate 2. If you're a die-hard fan of the series, you'll probably be able to start figuring out who that is exactly. There are multiple small details that are added to dialogue with characters that bridge those gaps between the first game and SoD, so you know exactly where, and how, the story picks up.

The combat, did I mention the combat? It's everything you could expect! No surprise punches leaving you knocked out like the losing party in a brawl at the local tavern. If I could say one thing about the combat without spoiling any of the details of it, it would be that the stats are balanced so well in normal difficulty that you don't feel like that guy you once were in the original Baldur's Gate in Candlekeep with only a staff, whiffing round after round on little rats in a room full of cats.


Cons:

The story is hard to discuss without spoilers but i will do due diligence to ensure none are given! Up to this point in the game, the story feels very "on-rails". It definitely exudes a "DLC" vibe, taking the open world adventure that you could choose where and what to do whenever you wish and making it a single story focus. It may just be that this is how they intended for the first few hours to be so you don't become overwhelmed and wonder where you should go or what should you do, only more adventures with miniature giant space hamsters, and time, will tell. For now, this is the experience I'm feeling and can say no more without spoilers.

That cell shaded feel of the characters leaves me with mixed emotions. It takes the characters and POPS them into your view over all the terrain and scenery around them. This is ok if it were only my companions or really important story characters, though this seems to be present with nearly every npc in the game. For me, it pulls the character out from their environment and causes the blending of npc and scenery to be a jarring visual experience. It's almost as if it's fourth wall breaking, causing you to notice the character far more than the beautiful artwork they're travelling through. I would rather just have npc's with the small circle under their character than the thick black outline of the entire unit.

The default AI became annoying quickly, especially with casters in my group. This is a very minor con though, so don't worry too much about it. For me it was simply because I was accustomed to playing the game in a specific way. The advanced AI that you start with will, upon seeing a foe in their view, immediately begin casting spells if they were walking towards a certain point, overriding the movement order you had just recently given them. So if you're moving the group and constantly re-positioning their travel destination they'll start casting a spell and you'll likely interrupt it as you have them move again. This is very easily fixed with MANY options in the customization for AI. This is merely a minor nuisance I found with how I enjoy playing the game, so once you tweak and set the AI how you want it, the advanced AI becomes a GODSEND for those pesky encounters you don't want to have to micromanage every single companion with.



All in all - TLDR

This game is worth the money, all of the money... It's worth MORE money, SHUT UP AND TAKE MY GOLD COINS! I'm enjoying every aspect that Beamdog so painstakingly put into the game as a whole. I haven't sat down to play a game for 8 hours and lost track of time like this in quite a while.

They boast (I believe) 36 hours of gameplay? Heh...*picks up phone* "Hi, work? Yeah, I think I'm sick. With what? I think I got bitten by something. Yeah... I'm feeling I'll. I think it was a small furry creatu-GO FOR THE EYES BOO, GO FOR THE EYES! RRREAAA- sorry, I don't know what came over me... I probably need a doctor." *click*

Comments

  • NervalNerval Member Posts: 10
    Hello,

    Thanks for your feedback :) . I am waiting a few weeks myself, and a few fixpack, before buying it. Your opinion seems useful to me as I relate to the same kind of elements.

    Anyway, as an aside, I've just purchased BGEE for the new expansion, I was only playing BGIIEE before. I have found some tweaks to the UI, and in particular:
    That cell shaded feel of the characters leaves me with mixed emotions. It takes the characters and POPS them into your view over all the terrain and scenery around them. This is ok if it were only my companions or really important story characters, though this seems to be present with nearly every npc in the game. For me, it pulls the character out from their environment and causes the blending of npc and scenery to be a jarring visual experience. It's almost as if it's fourth wall breaking, causing you to notice the character far more than the beautiful artwork they're travelling through. I would rather just have npc's with the small circle under their character than the thick black outline of the entire unit.
    I haven't played SoD, but in BGEE, if we are actually talking about the same thing, you can completely disable this effect in the Graphics section of the options. I completely agree with you, the effect is really pulling you out of the scenery.

    Anyway, have a nice day :) .

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