Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. Sign in or register to get started.

Categories

Dark Dreams of Furiae - a new module for NWN:EE! Buy now
Attention, new and old users! Please read the new rules of conduct for the forums, and we hope you enjoy your stay!

Reviews for NPC and Quest MODs for my 2021 BGEE and BG2EE Playthrough

marcnivarmarcnivar Member Posts: 132
edited April 13 in General Modding
Why I write this thread?

English is my third language, I can read, can write for my work, but I'm not good in writing reviews. It took me much more time than I have expected to write these reviews. Why I am doing something so difficult for me? I found that there is actually quite limited information on how good a mod is when I'm doing own research to find which mod I should try. Is the npc/ quest mod good? Is there many interjection? How is the writing? How is the area art? I have all questions but sometime the answers are nowhere. Those mod that I can find many reviews / opinions are basically either too bad or too impressive. Hence, in my opinion, writing some feedbacks is at least something I should do after enjoying these mods that the authors spent so much effort making them without asking anything for return. I really appreciate it, I can still enjoy this game like a new game after 20 years, thanks to their tremendous works.

I was someone who used to dislike any unofficial content because I prefer to keep my games as vanilla as possible (for 18 years) and I thought mod written by non-professionals cannot be good. However, after my 2014 EE vanilla play through, I lack of interest to return to my favorite game because I saw everything, used every vanilla npc. I still want to play, but I don't have motivation. Mods rekindle my passion.


How I rate mods:
a) Overall Experience
- This is just my personal opinion which emphasizes heavily on my own preference (e.g. I like intejections and reactions more than most people). It does not reflect the actual quality of a mod.
- I will consider many things when I rate this part, not only the writing or personality, how fun is the gamplay (e.g. interesting kits, quests / encounters) will also contribute to this.
- Vanilla npcs is rated as a whole (including vanilla content) instead of just rating the mod installed for them.

b) Lore Friendly:
- This is what I think how good is a mod fits the original game- does it feel like a vanilla content?
- Or whether I think it is believable to happen in Forgotten Realms
- Or is the DND lore same with what I know (or from own search online)

c) Area Art:
- Does it integrate well with vanilla areas?
- Does it look like copy paste from vanilla areas?
- Does it look like how it should be in the story?

Screenshots Warning

You may have a glimpse on the screenshots if you want to know how the writing / area arts are, but some definitely contain heavy spoilers. I suggest do not see the screenshots if you are someone prefer to explore yourself.

==========Scroll down to see review =========

A) BGEE NPCs (with SOD):

1) Sirene
(From Sirene, a tiefling paladin of Ilmater NPC for BG:EE and SoD)

Overall Experience: B
Lore Friendly: B+

2) Isra BG1
(From Isra, earnest, engaging female paladin of Sune for BG:EE)

Overall Experience: B
Lore Friendly: A

I decided to write both of them together here as IMO they have some similarities yet different. I also found thread asking and comparing both. They are paladin from different faiths, both non-romancable in BG1 but will be in BG2, and they are also similar in their reaction when facing the cruel and evil plot of Iron Throne.

Both of them are very sweet, likeable and relatable. They have feeling and reaction like real people. However, sometime I feel that they spent too much time talking on similar topic of own worries, slightly more than what will happen in npc written by professionals. This especially happen more for Sirene, and I guess that’s why I saw some people said she is too whiny.

Generally, character wise I like Sirene more than Isra because some her main concern on heritage is actually very relatable to my neutral good charname, who is actually facing a similar and even more terrible fate than Sirene.

Isra is better in term of offering new lore, as she makes me understand more about Sune and another city in Amn, and Amn look bigger to me now. I love MOD that offer more lore from DND as in my opinion this is quite a weak point of vanilla NPC in BG series, BioWare didn’t offer more lore via companions like how they did in their newer games.

Both of them do not have own quest in BG1. Sirene has a minor quest in SOD which I found it heart warming as it is related to a small story she told me long time ago in BG1.

Screenshots for Sirene

Reactions
v2cyhwcevwh5.jpg
ug8tfh9du4om.jpg

Encounter
fqqk5yj0qf31.jpg

Funny banters
8m9u8qbod3x4.jpg
oe3hgnwn3qez.jpg

Screenshots for Isra
Banters
371whb5h39f1.jpg
ypncfi1yrqnm.jpg
zm19pd7qyhin.jpg
rqv74abqdc9z.jpg
3datjeeem0rv.jpg



3) Drake

(from Drake, a human priest of Tyr NPC for BG:EE and SoD)

Overall Experience: B+
Lore Friendly: A+
Most people hate the annoying Anomen. However, I always consider Anomen is well written and implemented character. He is unique and not some typical boring priest.

And now we have another unorthodox cleric but is not annoying. I really like his personality. He is not as rigid as or keep talking about “blind” justice like some typical priest of Tyr (any justice god). I always welcome an experienced big bro who is sarcastic but humorous, always trying to make you drunk and have fun, but still has strong sense of justice and responsibility whenever it is needed.

I also like how he brought out more of the politic and depth of the council and Order of Radiant Heart in Amn. His quest is also great, using some knowledge from bg2 to introduce some lore of Amn into BG1 before BG2 is a good idea, as this made the event in Baldur’s Gate more connected to our future adventure.

He is the only one NPC here that I really hope to have for my current BG2 playthrough as he is so connected to Athkatla and it will be cool to have a local big bro to introduce you to several places there (that is why we need so many taverns there!). Unfortunately his BG2 part is not available yet, and I will definitely bring him some day (after bg2 part is released).

Screenshots for Drake
Quest
a8dm8y4pf5lh.jpg

Reaction
1nkvm08nv5cn.jpg

Reaction that involved vanilla npc
eulfl77foj2e.jpg

Banter
gloy4krmqst9.jpg

His quest has shop with cool items!
60x8df422x3p.jpg
001jpyd6l8ek.jpg


4) Aura
(From Aura, a gnome artificer NPC for BG:EE + SoD)

Overall Experience: A-
Lore Friendly: A-
Aura is full of surprise in every single thing.

Most of the professionally written npc will only introduce lore from one place. I always feel like this is quite standard text book character design. Perhaps the authors don’t want to confuse the player with too many thing.

However, Aura brings lore from two rarely mentioned places/cultures in DND games (Lantan and Kara-tur) and it is well implemented. Having a clever gnome from Lantan is very interesting. BG series have several quests or art on the map that are related to Lantan, but to be honest, after so many playthrough of vanilla BG, I still cannot remember this country name. After playing with Aura, I will never forget Lantan.

This is not only because of the lore from her talks, this is also due to the things she can do in the game. she is an artificer, she can create lot of cool scientific summon, traps, items which are so fun to play with. She can even modified some of the useless items in BG1 into something useful but not too powerful.

For example, in my 2020 playthrough, there was one npc gave me a +3 sword with grandmastery, resistance without item description when I was just started in Candlekeep, without any good purpose (gameplay wise and story wise), that is what I consider as bad design.

As for Aura, after finishing a quite early vanilla quest, she will help you to modify an useless weapon into a cool +3 weapon with some restriction and penalty to use. +3 is definitely powerful in early game, but I still have to think how to use it properly due to the penalty and restriction. I even made some changes in my front liners setup so that Isra can use this +3 weapon better without worrying the potential harm it may cause. This is what I consider as a good design.

As someone from Asia and love eastern culture, I really appreciate the lore of Kozakura from Aura. We can always see how the elven npc use elven tongue in their dialogues. However, I almost never see any “Japanese” npc like Tamoko or Yoshimo do that. It’s quite fun to see Aura uses some real Japanese words in her speech when she is astonished. Kozakura and Shou Lung culture are rarely touched in DND games. The way the author is adding some lore friendly real world stuffs into her talk is amazing. Something like the story of a frog in the well is nice and it even makes me wondering whether the author is Chinese or Japanese.

Her quest story is more complicated and interesting at the same time. The assassination attempts and the bridge battle cutscene are pretty cool and also challenging.

Screenshots for Aura
Quest
ocaaoflawrje.jpg

Aura: I'm the godness of traps!
yq8osnqe9zv3.jpg

New option for vanilla quest
biu91db43z16.jpg

Funny banter
briae859zro6.jpg

Lore
bvzbfh0hdhjb.jpg

Aura: Great inventor turns useless junk into cool stuff~
pbdrpwv87b47.jpg


5) Xan
(Vanilla NPC with MODs- BG1 NPC Project + Xan’s friendship path)

Overall Experience: B+
Lore Friendly: A-
Xan is a vanilla NPC with unique personality and voice acting. It is another great example of how BG1 NPC mod successfully brings out more of the potential of an underdeveloped vanilla npc. In my opinion the writing level is the best among the 5 npcs I brought this time (almost same level as the original BG1). His personal quest is not as dramatic as Drake’s or Aura’s, and Sirene, Drake, Aura and Isra may interject more frequently than him, but his dialogues are the most hilarious as he is the only one that made me laugh. He is whiny and gloomy but he never stops surprising me in how he has unlimited ways of converting everything into his own doomed world.

Unfortunately, I think his BG1 NPC contents and the Friendship mod are written by different authors. The npc-initiated talks from different mods seem to have different timers, so I always have the talk from friendship mod comes out immediately after the talk from BG1NPC mod. This has caused some inconsistencies in the topic that he brought out and can be confusing from a player point of view. This may also make me easily notice the difference in writing style as BG1NPC mod tends to use more big words for him compared to the friendship mod.

Screenshots for Xan
We are all doomed~
3n2n8ccdyzma.jpg
uvko804ovwis.jpg

Hilarious banters
4q4qad57c6b9.jpg
ivnn7azd6wc0.jpg
pkyeh38ncnhe.jpg


Beambod's NPCs (SOD part only):

Corwin: B-
Corwin has a lot of interjections (still fewer than Sirene, Drake, and Aura) and fully fit the story in SOD. However, her romance talks are so short and boring that I can’t believe it is written by professional...Romance from mod npc is actually much better..

Baeloth: C+
His appearance in BG1 and SOD is very fun actually. I also like his pretentious personality. I’m always anticipating what he will say, but...he is seriously lack of content. He is much more interesting than Corwin but he rarely interject. I don't even realize that he has any personal quest in SOD (correct me if I'm wrong). He is like not in the party most of the time. A wasted potential.




C) BG2EE NPCs:

1) Adrian:
(from Adrian, a renegade Zhentarim sorcerer with a taste for decadence)

Overall Experience: B+
Lore friendly: A+
Sometime I feel evil NPCs could be easy to write as the authors just have to let them sarcastically criticize every single good deed from the protagonist, or with some chaotic mad talks just to make the NPCs look so evil that "everyone knows they are evil". This kind of evil npc can also be found in professionally written characters, you will know they are "evil" from your first impression, and they consistently "evil" in everything throughout the game.

I have expected something similar when I installed this MOD (my first evil NPC MOD). However, I am quite surprised with how the author characterizes Adrian. The first time you see him, he does not have such "evil aura". He looks like a generic poor guy being slaved who needs your help, and is obviously laying low when he joins my good alignment party for a certain amount of time, which I consider quite rare for an evil NPC. He may be irony or disagree with some of my decisions but he will make in a more subtle manner, until the charname triggered his first quest which uncovered his secret, and then he started to show more "evil" side of him. Even so, he appears to be a "smart evil" style compared to those typical evil character. He will understand why some good choices are needed, or if he disagrees, he criticizes mostly in a more logically manner instead of a pure evil intention (to be honest there are some kind-hearted options in vanilla quests can make the charname looks quite inexperienced or naive). He is also not the type that prefers every evil choice, since there are something even he disdains to do. Adrian acted perfectly as someone with "lawful evil" alignment.

I always curious about Zhentarim / Zhentil keep as it is mentioned in vanilla BG1, but those names are just "name", and there is nothing much to bring out more lore from these places in the vanilla game. Having someone from this origin has sated my curiosity to know more, as he brought some short but good quests that the dialogues gave me a clearer understanding on how wicked those places operate. His quest is pretty cool and very lore friendly to happen secretly in a city like Athkatla. I would say it has the quality that meets vanilla quests, probably due to the good writing of the author as well. Unfortunately, after killing someone, the story seems to stop there, and I has been expected to have subsequent quests, such as someone else is trailing him and lead to more of his backstory. Perhaps there is such quest, but it didn't happen in my game because my charname did not romance him. I think I may rate him higher if I have female charname who romances him some day.

Both Isra and Adrian (from same authors) may initiate some small talks after certain side quests, which I found more immersive than solely interact with interjections. I will hardly forget his comment regarding dragon meat after killing Firkraag, as this is the only time I really laughed in this BG2 playthrough.

Screenshots for Adrian
Quest
5cwse0ed1x8u.jpg

Reaction
7oj7kbo3mfee.jpg
cetwi4cxpryd.jpg

Banter
nm8crkqrs1si.jpg
t5jo43sxc4zx.jpg

Lore
n1233e745ipa.jpg
m3wt7mssp81s.jpg


2) Isra:
(From Isra, earnest, engaging female paladin of Sune for BG2:EE)

Overall Experience: B+
Lore friendly: A
Isra gave me a an impression that her contents improve significantly in BG2 when I was just started. This is mainly due to her great quests in early game. I have to do a quest to let her joins, and this quest has follow-up quest after sometime in SOA. I'm quite impressed with those quests which in my opinion are as good as vanilla quests and such nobility intrigue story fits the theme in Athkatla very well. She started off stronger than anyone else in my party.

However, as I see more contents from her, it is actually still similar to what she has offered in BG1, which is good, but not particularly outstanding. Things that she said in interjections are also not so flesh out compared to the others (I have in this playthrough), but fortunately she has several immersive small talks after certain quests which makes up for this. Her personality is still same, she still conflicted a lot, and can be a bit too whiny sometime. Sometime I think she is lack of personal development compared to Sirene and Xan. Both of them may still be conflicted sometime, but I can still see how they had changed, developed and gained confidence in charname in a certain way. Anyway, this probably is not a shortcoming, considering most of the vanilla npcs also do not really show much development, and it is still great to have someone who reacts and conflicted like normal people when more and more of the crazy things happened (especially in TOB).

Generally I like Isra character but occasionally certain part of her romance may not to my liking. She is someone romantic but does not commit to everlasting love. She is quite open-minded in relationship and sometime I feel awkward when she initiated some talks about her "past" suddenly. I didn't have chance to see her bodhi-napping content this time, so I consider I didn't fully experience all of her romance content. Fortunately, I still find some satisfaction from her ending with charname. This is the type of relationship that takes really long time to blossom, and the journey in BG1+BG2 is just a small part of their life. I would say her romance story was told in a much different way compared to most crpgs.

Screenshots for Isra
Reaction
tdisll9vtltd.jpg
43wsgviij5f4.jpg
wd9oapydikj3.jpg

Quest
2n17ztvi3kwf.jpg
9mieifsi954x.jpg

Banter
hquu5a8mudrz.jpg


3) Sirene:
(From Sirene, a tiefling paladin of Ilmater NPC for BG2:EE)

Overall Experience: A-
Lore friendly: A-
I must admit I thought Sirene may not be as good as the other members in my party when I just started BG2. She appeared to be the same person she was in BG1- always lack of confidence and could not anticipate to have something good in her life, her insecurity continued. Additionally, her first encounter (quest) was not as impressive as those I had experienced from Xan, Isra and Adrian.

However, she has gradually changed after her relationship with charname has developed further. After their relationship "officially" established, this girl who has been alienated since young has finally found her happiness, I can really feel it, and feel so happy for her, this experiences is very heart-warming. I think this is due to two reasons- a relatable and likable character + good story pacing. You will only feel sad for someone that you really care for, and you will definitely be moved when you see someone that you sympathize finally gains her happiness. Additionally, I found it quite fun to tease her (dialogue options) after the relationship is established.

The author said Sirene technically does not have "quest", however, Sirene in fact has a complete and longer plot (compared to some NPC with quests) that I found slightly cliche but overall still interesting and enjoyable. Again, I can see good storytelling and pacing in Sirene's story. Her story is not just from one personal quest + numerous friendship / romance talks like what standard crpgs always have. Her story is slowly unfold via a mix of talks and several encounters that distributed throughout the whole game (there are encounters in SOD, Chapter 2 SOA, Chapter 6 SOA, TOB), instead of just focusing in the earlier part of SOA only, which in my opinion, has given her stronger existence in the whole game compared to some NPCs.

I also like her bodhi-napping part. The part that charname has to delve into fugue plane to get her back (and also the nice area art) makes me remember some old-fashioned jrpg story, yes, you can call it cliche, but it is also effective.

I also like the battle in her Chapter 6 encounter. The author said it is a cheesy battle, but I had great experience in my game, there are twist and surprise, and the enemies fought smartly. Probably they are affected by the SCS mod as well. Anyway, I fought a great and challenging battle that is enjoyable, and that is good enough.

Screenshots for Sirene
Reaction
dacisr1xiz7w.jpg
vic5p0f9l7me.jpg

Cute
dso97r0luywg.jpg

Encounters / quest with new area art
4dsltigjrtyb.jpg
vs6eci6mqvzb.jpg
x5cd733uqafn.jpg


4) Xan:
(From Xan BG2 NPC)

Overall Experience: A
Lore friendly: A-
Xan in BG2 has both quantity and quality. This mod basically has everything we can expect from an NPC.

You want more interjections? He interjects more frequently than everyone else. Sometime he just has one or two lines like how the other npcs react. Sometime he will have arguments/discussions in several lines with the npc. Sometime he will initiate some talks after certain quest. You can even ask him many things happened before via PID. His dialogues are extensive, he is fully aware of everything you are doing and has a varied ways of interactions.

You prefer good quests? He has four quests and several encounters which are written as good as the vanilla quests. You may not realize those quests are from MOD if he didn't intervene. Some quests have connection to your BG1 adventure, both vanilla quest and even MOD quest (BG1NPC Project), and vanilla companions will have interjections in his quest while staying true to their original character. He also has quest that offers me an opportunity to learn more elven lore from DND which I highly appreciate. He also has a quest that started seamlessly just after you trigger a vanilla main quest, which you may not realize it is from MOD if this is your first BG2 playthrough. The author wrote a lot of new lines for vanilla npcs in interjections, quests and encounters, and I never once felt that they are out of character, which is something really impressive that the author has achieved.

We can always see most authors tend to let their "fan fictional" characters stay true to original design, thus they will always react or say something in predictable way because they "must fit the original design". In a game as long as BG series, if an npc never changes, and always says similar thing for hundred hours of playthrough, it could be dull and repetitive, especially for those with more "comical" personality like BG1's Xan. Hence, I appreciate the effort the author tried to shape Xan slowly throughout the saga, and you can notice he has gradually gained confidence, trust and even some "hope". If we compare Xan from TOB with Xan from early BG1, they are actually quite different. However, the transition is slow and well written, hence I won't really feel that he has lost his original personality, I rather say he has developed as a person.

I must be honest, Xan has a personality that I may consider fun but generally I still don't like someone who is so whinny and always lecturing the charname. However, I really like him. This is probably due to his personal development as well. It is great to have someone in your party that does not approve most of your action, or does not blindly follow you in your suicidal hopeless quests without any worry or objection. He is quite realistic, he scared and said numerous times "I will leave after this bla bla bla", but eventually, he follows you until the end. Why? This is because charname needs help. He is indeed scared with our dangerous quests, he wants to leave for own safety, but he can't abandon someone who has faced a cruel fate like charname and Imoen, someone he was reluctant to trust initially but eventually recognize as his good friend. He will even outrage and berate his compatriot because he thinks whatever happened to charname is so unfair. If someone is willing to do everything he dislikes just to help you, I will say this is an invaluable friendship. Yes, Xan is a true friend. His friendship path is so well written and believable.

The only reason I did not rate him A+ is because there are moments of fourth wall breaking and also minor inconsistency in certain dialogue, which I don't really care. I know his romance path is highly rated, and I will definitely try it some day with a female charname.

Screenshots for Xan
Finally someone in the party refuses to sleep in the streets
wv8r9uzr296l.jpg
kus506z3exd3.jpg

Reaction
xm2c5nxo61en.jpg

Quests are full of interjections from vanilla npcs
0doq9mugkn0h.jpg
ldq1qv5g5xs3.jpg

Quest with interesting options
dj4a38bt05a3.jpg


5) Yoshimo:
(Vanilla NPC with MODs- Yoshimo Friendship + Yoshimo's Remorse)

Overall Experience: A-
Lore friendly: A
Yoshimo is one of the best written npc in BG2. I still remember how shocked I was 20 years ago when he betrayed my charname after spending almost half of the game (SOA) with the party and gained my trust (I didn't trust him initially, possibly because he looks traitorous in the portrait). Only very few games will have similar plot (npc left permanently after spending so much time together), the closest one that I can remember is Final Fantasy VII. He appears only around 1/3 in whole BG2 (including TOB), but I remember him more than most other NPCs, and I always feel that it is a shame we can't do anything to bring him back. That is why I installed these mod once I found out there is a possibility to have him back in later game.

When I just started SOA, I found out that some of his talks are quite short and not particular interesting. I thought those are from the friendship MOD, thus I have minor disappointment. After some time, I saw longer and better dialogues from him, and I started to think, ah.. his MOD content is improving. After some time, I only found out that, Yoshimo in fact has a few talks from vanilla game, and those that I found slightly "underwhelming" are vanilla talks...Sometime I can't really even differentiate which one is from vanilla or mod, and I have to switch the language to check it. So I would say the writing of Yoshimo Friendship is good considering how well the talks from different sources blend so perfectly. Anyway, don't expect the friendship talks to be something very deep or extensive until both of you become the BBF though. It just added more talks to increase his presence in the group, added some situational talks which make the upcoming tragic event more sentimental, and it serves this purpose very well.

And finally, I can have my friend back in TOB. The way he returns is not as expected, but is this possible in Forgotten Realms? I think possibly. In my opinion, it is a very good idea to let him returns in TOB (late game) instead of rejoining immediately after the event in Spellhold. BG2 is very long, we still have to spend much time without him in SOA (especially with more MOD quests installed), so we will have sufficient time to feel the weight of his loss, so the original death scene won't be pointless. Additionally, no matter how good the writing of a MOD author is, there must be some inconsistency in the writing when it is handled by a different (or even a same) person. The more lines you write for him, the more obvious it is. We can compare the dialogues of some vanilla NPCs in BG1 and BG2 and see this. Hence, a good time gap before his return can minimize the difference noticed by the player.

I expected Yoshimo to be super apologetic after he rejoins. However, he did not. He is still chatting in his old way like nothing serious happened before. I found it quite weird and slightly disturbing initially. However, after reading more of his talks later, I can feel his deep regrets and self-blame that are hidden in most of his interjections, npc initiated talks, situational talks following some quests etc. He is tortured by his action in the past, and player has the options to show forgiveness or hates in most of his dialogues, and his reactions to those choices can be quite heartwarming or painful to see.

I think possibly this is the best way to write him, because this is actually how he is more likely to do rather than becomes super apologetic and with "remorse" written obviously all around his face all the time, which is too predictable and boring.

I found relief in his ending (good alignment charname), hence for me this mod served its purpose. (Thanks!)

Screenshots for Yoshimo
Chit-chat
j5c1mxd2dovf.jpg

He knew what is inevitable
9vitdhj7y4pb.jpg
k2lg8va06v85.jpg

The day I lost a friend
kv7lkkdichek.jpg
j54xfpg914hu.jpg

What a surprise!
gctg8wp95nsd.jpg
wng4ha1gxft5.jpg

Yoshimo has dialogues and reactions in TOB finally
k4iwj1u3b54y.jpg
b51xnat113w0.jpg


6) Imoen
(Vanilla NPC with MOD- Imoen Friendship)

Overall Experience: B+
Lore friendly: A+
I gave Imoen B+ only for the experience in my current game because she is in my party for Chapter 1 and from Spellhold to the start of TOB only (as I swap Yoshimo in for her in TOB). If I bring her for whole BG2 (SOA+TOB), together with the friendship / romance MOD or even extended dialogues from Ascension MOD, I think I can easily give her A to A+, since she is your dear sister and plays very important role in the main story in BG2. She is almost irreplaceable for a complete BG2 experience, especially for a good alignment charname.

Imoen's Friendship MOD does not add too many dialogues, but the contents integrate with the original one so well. To be honest, at some point I have totally forgotten that I have installed this MOD (after 70 or more hours in Chapter 2+3 without her). Some time after she returned to the party, I started to think "hmm...vanilla Imoen actually talks more than I remember, and she has more sisterly love than I remember, which is really heartwarming and the charname seems to have more options to roleplay as a caring brother, so I must be wrong in what I remember so far- BG2 NPCs without romance do not have many npc-initiated dialogues...". After that thought, I suddenly realized I had installed this mod...This was an impressive experience, I found myself started to change the language often, loaded an earlier save, triggered her dialogue again, so that I can find out whether such talks are from vanilla or MOD. Some are actually extension of vanilla dialogues and in my opinion this is a very good way to expand an existing character.

Screenshots for Imoen
3uws5ngd8f77.jpg
zjf3uyxp9lpn.jpg


D) BG2EE Quests:

1) Tales of the Deep Gardens

Overall Experience: B+
Lore Friendly: B+
Area Art: B+
Countless beautiful dim lanterns in a dark ominous cavern, with everyone here sound crazy and you can't escape this world that everything looks like defying the logic you know. Color is essence, can even kill? A dark and intriguing concept which suit the puzzle solving nature of this quest mod perfectly. I appreciate the area art very much. The area here has great dark and foreboding atmosphere but what really impressive is the use of colorful elements everywhere which results in a synergy that make it looks peculiar and unique. I also like the experience of exploring this unknown place with uneasy feeling, which somehow reminded me how I felt when I played Demon Soul.

I'm not someone who likes puzzle solving in CRPG (especially those that are solely based on text). However, I still think the puzzle solving part of TODG offers much more fun compared to most of the vanilla quests with puzzles because the concept and design are quite creative. However, area from MOD sometime can be quite difficult to look for clues, for example, I spent around 1 hour looking for the NPC that you have to lure him to the fire area to get the yellow color. The walkthrough said where he is, but it is still difficult to find in my game, as I didn't realize that I can visit the place he is standing (didn't appear because of the fog of war).

Story wise I think TODG has different flavor compared to original BG. However, can the things occur here happen in forgotten realm? Possibly, there are a lot of weird things happen in DND stories, so I would consider TODG still relatively lore friendly despite having a story with different style.

Interactions from my party:
- Sirene few times
- Xan few times and a great closing words which makes me feel "this is indeed a great adventure"

---updated after 2021 IWDEE playthrough---

I changed the score for area art significantly as I it rated highly initially mainly because of the first area with beautiful lantern, which I eventually found out that it is from IWDEE. However, the reuse of this area for this MOD is a very good idea as it fits the story and atmosphere perfectly. If you have not / are not going to play IWD1, the first impression of the area art from this MOD can be easily rated as A+.

Screenshots:
Areas that I like
ipys2jd7bfyt.jpg
3xwsh02afeyj.jpg

Dialogues
bd1csdv6wtxm.jpg
1x7zljhgfrga.jpg

Xan's interaction
owypjuyl6njj.jpg

2) Innershade

Overall Experience: B
Lore Friendly: B
Area Art: A
Story wise perhaps it is not something very special, but what I like is the storytelling- the way the author uncover the story hidden in a small village with an ordinary first impression. Talking with NPC, learning about their simple life, helping with minor chores, everything very classic. However, after descending into the mine, everything turns abruptly into the dark, weird and confusing atmosphere that once I experienced in TODG.

The way of having a boy who tells you a lot of stories that mostly are for flavor purpose, except one story is obscurely providing more insight on the main quest (from this mod) is kinda cool. It offers something for player to explore and guess what is actually happening based on different clues.

The talks with old lady offers something very different from vanilla. It is quite relaxing and heartwarming to have someone simply care for you due to pure kindness without expecting you to do anything for her like how most of the vanilla npcs are.

I expected there may be some follow-up content after leaving Innershade, but I forgot about it after some time actually, thus I was quite surprised when the follow-up encounter happened in TOB, though the ending is slightly confusing.

You may know where the materials of the area art comes from, but it still looks unique and gorgeous.

Interactions from my party:
- Sirene several times

Screenshot:
Cozy small village in the forest
5aje52w17ruu.jpg
xh75xhl7aeb4.jpg
m89bzwmqebcn.jpg

Dialogues
xvp1tujz79r5.jpg
rclgizmks7i3.jpg

Your amiable granny
kyyham7tdav9.jpg

Sirene's Interaction
6oabzunvdv0m.jpg


3) The White Queen

Overall Experience: B+
Lore friendly: B+
Area art: A-
This quest is more like vanilla chapter 2 quests compared to TODG and Innershade. You found a quest in Athkatla, traveled all the way to some where else and helped someone to kill some evil bastards, but eventually you found more backstory behind it, something quite typical but still enjoyable. I always enjoy a story that you will eventually find out that both sides are not really good and you are looking for lesser evil. Unfortunately, if I understand correctly, this quest seems like does not offer more solutions (like how similar vanilla quest may have). It would be great if we can side with White Queen or deal with the hag.

I may not think White Queen is as good as some of the best vanilla chapter 2 quests we have, but it is still good enough to at least play it once or twice, if we have more interjections from vanilla npcs. The only vanilla NPC I brought this time is Imoen, but she has one line here only. Hopefully we will have more interactions if I bring different vanilla NPCs next time. As I didn't bring Viconia this time (who I know has more content here), I will definitely play this again some day. Generally I think it has more replay value compared to the two previous COI mods because there are more battles (gameplay), and the loot are quite tempting, some I consider worth installing this mod just to have a look on the amusing item description (ya, the Ladykiller..).

Interactions from my party:
- Imoen once

Screenshots:
Areas
74km8nfsfm02.jpg
i59mvoilxzlx.jpg

Dialogues
18mjtj5gxw9p.jpg
r2w9fgrtduzo.jpg

Items
siogg4id4ror.jpg
tg2k5qrh2xc5.jpg

4) I Shall Never Forget

Overally Experience: A-
Lore Friendly: B+
Area art: A
I think this has the best story among the 4 COI mods that I have installed. A sad love story could be cliche, but it is touching. Orion is a very well written character. I can deeply feel his grief as his dialogues focus on every single minor details. For example, he has a lot of things to say about his wife when player interacts with several things in his house. Player is helping him as a stranger for just a short time, but the dialogues written makes me feel like I have slowly gained his friendship, and this has given me a glimpse of hope that perhaps I can convince him to give up and accept the reality when he has to face the inevitable truth. Unfortunately and as expected, we can't really save him. The final reunion cutscene is kinda sad but relieving.

I also like the Incomplete one. This may be the only lich that I will remember (storywise) in BG series. Another sad character.

The purple themed area looks great.

Sune temple integrated into vanilla area seamlessly. I thought it is a vanilla area when I discovered it. This is because I rarely visit that part of map for almost 20 years and I thought I missed out. I only realized that it is a mod content until I saw some items in the store that I have never heard before.

The bird minor quest is quite surprising. I thought a vanilla npc that I could not remember approached me some time after releasing the bird. I even tried to find that npc name in Baldur's Gate wiki..

Interactions from my party:
- Sirene multiple times
- Imoen once

Screenshots:
Dialogues
r676k23rje3u.jpg
ggl8w9k2o4g1.jpg
8tjn1x9u38k2.jpg

Areas
m2pd3n0wyauo.jpg
itz58n54kkcc.jpg

Bird
076xrffpeetz.jpg

5) The Sellswords

Overall experience: A
Lore friendly: A+
Area art: A
As a fan of Drizzt's series, I think I could not ask for a quest mod that suits my taste more than this MOD.

In my opinion Bioware did a great job in demonstrating the malicious atmosphere of an Underdark city that is so similar to what we have experienced in the novels from R.A. Salvatore. My only regret is the cameo of Jarlaxle and his friends are quite brief, and I always hope to have more after leaving Underdark, and so, this MOD satisfies my need perfectly. It is great to see Jarlaxle, Artemis Entreri and especially Kimmuriel have more contents, and they are so well-written and very believable. In my opinion it is crucial that the MOD content should not have anything contradicts with what I remember about them. In fact, some of the dialogues even reminded me why I love them, especially their interactions at the end of the story.

The first thing that impressed me is how the author set up a role-playing friendly reason for a good alignment charname to assist the notorious drow. I consider it a brilliant design. Generally, the quests and npcs are also quite lore friendly, occasionally some drows may look like they are "not too drow" in their talk, but still acceptable considering the story setting. I would say the content and overall design of the quests are very similar to the vanilla game, and can be easily treated as an extension of original Underdark questline.

This MOD also added a lot of interjections from vanilla NPCs. I will definitely install this MOD in almost every future playthrough after seeing Imoen has so many interjections that suit her personality very well (she was the only vanilla npc I brought this time). This is very immersive and has contributed significantly to the "vanilla feel" of the quests added.

Xan has crossmod content with this MOD. However, I found that some of his talks are actually quite fourth wall breaking. His approval of Bregan D'aerthe when we left Underdark also a bit inconsistent with how he dislikes the drows in Chapter 5.
Screenshots:
Dialogues
kupbr2xxbrlc.jpg
dobpua73lw6x.jpg

Iconic characters
s2ikr4i7b6zz.jpg
czbdzqo6ub6s.jpg
eac2cpotjdr3.jpg

Vanilla NPC interjection
czfli3491hxn.jpg

Details
jv2ssr4rhwrm.jpg

Post edited by marcnivar on
evildevil97IseweinenergisedcamelMantis37megamike15Aedanbonewhiteglory

Comments

  • AWizardDidItAWizardDidIt Member Posts: 165
    Love to see these types of threads. I hope you'll continue to post your impressions of mods as you go into BG2.

  • marcnivarmarcnivar Member Posts: 132
    Love to see these types of threads. I hope you'll continue to post your impressions of mods as you go into BG2.

    Yes, I will definitely do that, quite impressed with my experience in BG2 now. Everything is significantly better (SCS gameplay, Sirene, Isra and Xan contents improve a lot~)

  • marcnivarmarcnivar Member Posts: 132
    I have updated the following:

    - revised the introduction part and general layout
    - included screenshots from my game for all reviews here, including those BG1 mods that I wrote earlier (in February)
    - updated 6 new reviews for BG2 NPCs (Adrian, Isra, Sirene, Xan, Yoshimo, Imoen)

    Reviews for the quests MODs will be updated later, possibly next week.

    I finished this 2021 playthrough and enjoy it very much. Thanks to all MOD authors.

    SharGuidesMyHand
  • marcnivarmarcnivar Member Posts: 132
    I have updated the following:

    - How I rate mods- added Area Art
    - updated 5 new reviews for Quest MODs

    And so I finished all my reviews for 2021 playthrough. To be honest there were moments I thought I could not finish these reviews due to poor writing. It is like taking forever for me to finish it.

    Million thanks to all MOD authors. I like all of the MODs installed this time, including tweaks, UI, portrait, SCS etc which significantly improved my experience. I should probably write something for SCS (I installed it in BG2 only) as the gameplay has improved so much that I can't really go back to vanilla now. I think I might not be able to finish this BG2 playthrough without it because I played BG2 too many times. Perhaps I will leave it until the day I play a complete BG1 to TOB playthrough with SCS.

  • megamike15megamike15 Member Posts: 2,634
    edited March 25
    the yoshimo romance mod does add some talks around the city that fleshes him out more so i'd recommend checking that out even if you aren't romancing him.

    same with imoen romance. if anything it does a better job of fleshing out imoen then the friendship mod which i found lacking. again you don't need to romance her to see most of the content. especially alot of the stuff in tob which gives her more story stuff compared to vanilla.

    SharGuidesMyHandmarcnivar
  • marcnivarmarcnivar Member Posts: 132
    megamike15 wrote: »
    the yoshimo romance mod does add some talks around the city that fleshes him out more so i'd recommend checking that out even if you aren't romancing him.

    same with imoen romance. if anything it does a better job of fleshing out imoen then the friendship mod which i found lacking. again you don't need to romance her to see most of the content. especially alot of the stuff in tob which gives her more story stuff compared to vanilla.

    Didn't know that I can do that for more content even if I do not want to romance them.

    How about Edwin romance? I plan to take him for romance with another mod npc, thus initially I thought I won't install Edwin romance to avoid inconsistency. If Edwin will have more talks from that mod even I don't romance him, I will definitely use it.

  • megamike15megamike15 Member Posts: 2,634
    not sure never played it. unlike those other two pretty sure it's just romance talks. it does add a new viconia epilogue if your not a fan of her more bitter sweet one.

    marcnivar
  • SharGuidesMyHandSharGuidesMyHand Member Posts: 2,559
    marcnivar wrote: »
    3) Sirene:
    (From Sirene, a tiefling paladin of Ilmater NPC for BG2:EE)

    Overall Experience: A-
    Lore friendly: A-
    I must admit I thought Sirene may not be as good as the other members in my party when I just started BG2. She appeared to be the same person she was in BG1- always lack of confidence and could not anticipate to have something good in her life, her insecurity continued. Additionally, her first encounter (quest) was not as impressive as those I had experienced from Xan, Isra and Adrian.

    However, she has gradually changed after her relationship with charname has developed further. After their relationship "officially" established, this girl who has been alienated since young has finally found her happiness, I can really feel it, and feel so happy for her, this experiences is very heart-warming. I think this is due to two reasons- a relatable and likable character + good story pacing. You will only feel sad for someone that you really care for, and you will definitely be moved when you see someone that you sympathize finally gains her happiness. Additionally, I found it quite fun to tease her (dialogue options) after the relationship is established.

    The author said Sirene technically does not have "quest", however, Sirene in fact has a complete and longer plot (compared to some NPC with quests) that I found slightly cliche but overall still interesting and enjoyable. Again, I can see good storytelling and pacing in Sirene's story. Her story is not just from one personal quest + numerous friendship / romance talks like what standard crpgs always have. Her story is slowly unfold via a mix of talks and several encounters that distributed throughout the whole game (there are encounters in SOD, Chapter 2 SOA, Chapter 6 SOA, TOB), instead of just focusing in the earlier part of SOA only, which in my opinion, has given her stronger existence in the whole game compared to some NPCs.

    I also like her bodhi-napping part. The part that charname has to delve into fugue plane to get her back (and also the nice area art) makes me remember some old-fashioned jrpg story, yes, you can call it cliche, but it is also effective.

    I also like the battle in her Chapter 6 encounter. The author said it is a cheesy battle, but I had great experience in my game, there are twist and surprise, and the enemies fought smartly. Probably they are affected by the SCS mod as well. Anyway, I fought a great and challenging battle that is enjoyable, and that is good enough.

    Screenshots for Sirene
    Reaction
    dacisr1xiz7w.jpg
    vic5p0f9l7me.jpg

    Cute
    dso97r0luywg.jpg

    Encounters / quest with new area art
    4dsltigjrtyb.jpg
    vs6eci6mqvzb.jpg
    x5cd733uqafn.jpg


    I never played BG1 Sirene, but her BG2 counterpart is one of the deepest and most well-developed NPC mods I've played. I would only caution players that she may not be ideal for anyone who's looking for an NPC with a colorful personality and/or an easily forthcoming romance. However, she's ideal for anyone who might be interested in a slow-building, "coming out of her shell"-type romance and wants to feel like they've genuinely achieved something with their romance.

    marcnivar
  • marcnivarmarcnivar Member Posts: 132
    edited March 27
    marcnivar wrote: »
    3) Sirene:
    (From Sirene, a tiefling paladin of Ilmater NPC for BG2:EE)

    Overall Experience: A-
    Lore friendly: A-
    I must admit I thought Sirene may not be as good as the other members in my party when I just started BG2. She appeared to be the same person she was in BG1- always lack of confidence and could not anticipate to have something good in her life, her insecurity continued. Additionally, her first encounter (quest) was not as impressive as those I had experienced from Xan, Isra and Adrian.

    However, she has gradually changed after her relationship with charname has developed further. After their relationship "officially" established, this girl who has been alienated since young has finally found her happiness, I can really feel it, and feel so happy for her, this experiences is very heart-warming. I think this is due to two reasons- a relatable and likable character + good story pacing. You will only feel sad for someone that you really care for, and you will definitely be moved when you see someone that you sympathize finally gains her happiness. Additionally, I found it quite fun to tease her (dialogue options) after the relationship is established.

    The author said Sirene technically does not have "quest", however, Sirene in fact has a complete and longer plot (compared to some NPC with quests) that I found slightly cliche but overall still interesting and enjoyable. Again, I can see good storytelling and pacing in Sirene's story. Her story is not just from one personal quest + numerous friendship / romance talks like what standard crpgs always have. Her story is slowly unfold via a mix of talks and several encounters that distributed throughout the whole game (there are encounters in SOD, Chapter 2 SOA, Chapter 6 SOA, TOB), instead of just focusing in the earlier part of SOA only, which in my opinion, has given her stronger existence in the whole game compared to some NPCs.

    I also like her bodhi-napping part. The part that charname has to delve into fugue plane to get her back (and also the nice area art) makes me remember some old-fashioned jrpg story, yes, you can call it cliche, but it is also effective.

    I also like the battle in her Chapter 6 encounter. The author said it is a cheesy battle, but I had great experience in my game, there are twist and surprise, and the enemies fought smartly. Probably they are affected by the SCS mod as well. Anyway, I fought a great and challenging battle that is enjoyable, and that is good enough.

    Screenshots for Sirene
    Reaction
    dacisr1xiz7w.jpg
    vic5p0f9l7me.jpg

    Cute
    dso97r0luywg.jpg

    Encounters / quest with new area art
    4dsltigjrtyb.jpg
    vs6eci6mqvzb.jpg
    x5cd733uqafn.jpg


    I never played BG1 Sirene, but her BG2 counterpart is one of the deepest and most well-developed NPC mods I've played. I would only caution players that she may not be ideal for anyone who's looking for an NPC with a colorful personality and/or an easily forthcoming romance. However, she's ideal for anyone who might be interested in a slow-building, "coming out of her shell"-type romance and wants to feel like they've genuinely achieved something with their romance.

    In my opinion, she may not shine in BG1 and in fact can be quite average that time, however, seeing how conflicted and insecure she was in BG1 is also an important part of her storytelling. Seeing how she develops as a person from BG1 to BG2 is something I really appreciate in this BG1 to TOB playthrough. This is a relationship that takes really long time to flourish.

    SharGuidesMyHandmegamike15
  • megamike15megamike15 Member Posts: 2,634
    this might just be a case of sirene bg 1 being aion's first mod. then made the bg2 part and then sod. there is a clear quality difference in writing between bg 1 and sod.

    marcnivarSharGuidesMyHand
Sign In or Register to comment.