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Thoughts on the game having just now finished (with SPOILERS)

MaurvirMaurvir Member Posts: 172
So, I just wrapped up my first play through of SoD last night. Just to set the tone, let me say that I now hate holding off on buying the game for as long as I did because I thoroughly enjoyed it. In the slight off-chance that anyone cares, these are my thoughts on it.

First, the positives.

I was extremely pleased with the graphics. When I saw the atmospheric effects in the prologue crypt, I was genuinely impressed, and I continued to be impressed. I have never seen that level of detail, particularly to lava. Real lava is, well, hot - and when I saw the heated air effect over it, I was overjoyed. I never really noticed it missing in ToB, but seeing it in SoD was outstanding. I continued to be impressed with this level of detail for the whole game. Kudos to the art team on that one.

I also thought that the music and voice acting was outstanding. Like BG and BG2, the sound never "got in the way". It was atmospheric, set the mood, but stayed in the background. Again, I'm impressed. It's hard to understate just how important good music and sound effects are to maintaining that suspension of disbelief and mentally keeping you in the game world. The same applies to the voice acting. Other than a few very, very mild nits with existing characters (Jaheira), I heard none that sounded out of place.

The *only* complaint I have here is with Safana, and then only because she was so unlike the Safana I was used to that it was almost jarring. I got used to her, but I definitely noticed.

I was also impressed by the wider degree of choices and greater ambiguity. The original games make it VERY easy to choose the "good", "neutral", and "evil" path. The only way they could make it any easier would have been to put (<alignment>) by every dialogue choice. Beyond that, it was possible to make choices through actions as well as dialogue. The switch in the old Bhaal temple, for example - that was brilliant. I honestly wish there had been more of that "act in character" sort of thing in the original. There were plenty of times where I really had to stop and ask which action or response my PC would choose, and I loved that.

I also loved the fact that the romances weren't so strict about gender. I have long thought that Jaheira should have been romanceable by either gender in SoA. I have actually romanced her with a female PC using cheats, and it is almost 100% fine. (I believe you can count on one hand the number of times she says something that implies the PC is male). I believe she would have been had the game been released later.

I ended up with Shael Corwin, and I thought her romance was brilliant. She really felt like a single mom who has to put her daughter ahead of herself. My only complaint is that she doesn't have very many love talks, repeats the one hint over and over again with little or no variability, and it's location based, not time based. I would have improved that by allowing the romance to complete earlier, and then offering the option to "go someplace private" upon resting, but that's a minor nit.

Next, and I can't understate this, I loved the "You have been waylaid" areas. Unlike the generic battles in the first games, these felt like you had stumbled across something important. They really added to the game rather than simply serving as a random encounter. Using them to add additional color was brilliant, especially the note about the exile. I really wish this was available in SoA.

M'Khiin. Right up to the very end, I loved her character. I picked her up to replace Viconia, knowing Viccy would leave when I got a high enough rep anyway. However, she was a joy to have in the party. Dour, but she got the job done. I was a little disappointed that, after everything that happened, but particularly after the goblin party, that she behaves the way she does at the end. That was definitely bittersweet, but from an RP perspective, brilliant. It is a positive from that perspective - I really didn't see that one coming. THIS is the sort of thing that keeps you on your toes, so to speak.

Finally, I love how consequences build up throughout the game and impact the story in meaningful ways. This is another aspect that I felt was missing from the earlier games. Other than getting a discount (or paying a premium), it almost didn't matter what you did in the original games. Everything was purely a function of your preset alignment. That, to me, was a mistake, as it is made abundantly clear that things aren't that simple. (Viconia and Anomen, if you romance them, are good examples)

I did get spoiled a bit by learning that there were multiple endings, but it wasn't immediately obvious which choices got you each ending or how. Instead, I just RPed it the way I imagined my PC would. Freeing a tortured soul, refusing a dishonorable action, etc. - those came naturally to her. That those choices actually altered the ending was amazing and welcome.

As a brief interlude - the things which bothered everyone else, but not me.

Imoen. While I might disagree, I understand the reasoning behind it. If she got killed, it would make SoA awkward. On the flip side, I can't count how many times I had to have M'khiin raise Safana from the dead (because she was the chief scout). In a game where ordinary death is recoverable, I feel this could have been fixed by making her "unchunkable" and letting you keep her. However, it actually turned out to be a fun change taking Safana.

Also, with this reasoning, it makes equally no sense to let you take Minsc, Jaheira, or even Khalid. At some point, if they die in SoD, there is going to need to be an explanation later. I realize it's not quite the same, given how much the plot revolves around Imoen, but still. If you are going to take away one character for continuity reasons, at least be consistent.

The linearity. This game felt like the BG equivalent of ToB, and that's fine. (for the more educated; BG:SoD::SoA:ToB) This didn't bother me because the story makes it clear you are marching to war early on. You aren't going to have a whole lot of time to stop and sniff the roses along the way. You also can't go back to a camp that has been torn down and moved. While I love the open-world aspect of BG and SoA as much as anyone else, it's clear that each main area is a tent encampment, which means there isn't much of a reason to backtrack. Even if you could, what are you going to find? Slightly depressed grass? All the vendors, healers, etc. have moved on to the next camp.

Mizhena. Maybe this was fixed, but she didn't say a word about being transgender until after you bring her a lost item. I can certainly imagine that her merely being present caused a lot of people to clutch their pearls, but nothing about her was offensive to me. In fact, I thought the resolution to her quest at the castle was quite good. Given how little that aspect of her backstory factored into the game, I have no idea why it was so controversial when Corwin's bisexuality didn't even move the needle. I guess the outrage over orientation as worn out after Dorn?

The ending. I knew going in, having played both BG and SoA, where this was going. It's a bit like watching Titanic and being shocked when the ship goes down. Oops, sorry - didn't mean to spoil that for anyone! ;) Seriously, what did people think was going to happen? Instead, I thought Beamdog did a brilliant job of fleshing out the events here and definitely making you more emotionally invested in SoA later. I know when I start my next play through of SoA, I will be sitting on pins and needles waiting on the opportunity to kick some evil butt. :)

If you can get over the shock of going from a reputation of 20 and being called the "Hero of the Sword Coast" to zero overnight, you will see that ending makes perfect sense. It isn't just about separating the hero from the people, it's also the opening salvo in separating the hero from their own sense of self. That is, the hooded man really started the process of breaking down your PC in Dragonspear Castle, not Amn. When you look at the ending from that perspective, it's not nearly as objectionable.

However, from a practical standpoint, it also divorces your character from Baldur's Gate, and additionally explains why so few people in Amn know who the heck you are. Regardless of ending, most people in BG probably believe you are either exiled, or more likely, dead. (Given Entar's reaction, both the PC's fans and haters likely believe that (s)he was quietly taken out behind the woodshed.) Thus, your PC is, for all intents and purposes, a complete nobody at the beginning of SoA.

I actually liked the ending, but it does have some issues, hence my putting it here and not in positives.

Now, the not so positives.

Let's face it, Caelar wasn't well written, and it's a shame, because she had such great potential. I didn't have an issue with her arrogance being her downfall - that's a common trope in these sorts of tales. I didn't even have a real issue with her being of divine origin. What I did have a problem with is that she is never developed. While I was pleased that you can "redeem" her in the end, so to speak, she never leapt up from the page and felt truly three-dimensional. Hephernaan had more punch than Caelar, and I definitely had a stronger emotional reaction to him than her.

That then expands to her whole motivation. Raise an army and wipe out the whole Sword Coast just to rescue one dude? Oh, and she has divine origins? Mr. I was right to choose you over her - she's a complete dumbass. It's not like it would have been all that difficult to find some obscure bhaalspawn working on a farm in the middle of nowhere, completely unaware of his or her heritage, and kidnap them in the middle of the night. A reasonably sized mercenary force, lead by Caelar, could've gotten the job done with a lot less drama. Drama that nearly cost her the whole plan, as she ends up with a far smaller force than she would have had by merely not being a dumbass.

You argue that Hephernaan was behind that dumbassery? Sure, he most definitely was. Which makes him a dumbass too. Knowing what he did, you would think he would want a smaller force, since he knows what is in store. His master's goal is pretty simple - open the freaking door. Encouraging Caelar to build up a whole army right over the portal is... dumb. We do know that his thoughts were that this army would be destroyed and raised again as a zombie/undead army, but that's an awfully big risk to take. It took a serious amount of chutzpah for him to talk about her arrogance bringing about a downfall. Of course, if villains ever did the smart thing every single time, these games wouldn't be nearly so fun.

I could deal with that, except that not every villain in BG or BG2 is a complete dumbass. Sarevok's only real "misstep" was in dropping the Iron Throne like a hot potato as soon as he got the job of Duke lined up. That was the opening that allowed your PC to get the hard evidence needed to sink his coronation. A much stronger Iron Throne would have left you watching from the balcony while he took power. Otherwise, with the exception of that knuckledragging moron in the Nashkell mines, his execution and strategy were quite sound once you get the full picture.

And then there is Irenicus, who lived up to his claim of being a genius mage. He made no significant errors with only one glaring (and necessary) exception - trusting Bohdi with a certain item. Seriously, had he not left that one item with her, it would have been game over. You toss back a few beers, kick back, and watch the world go to crap. Oh, and this event happens while you are in the Underdark, so odds are good that you climb out and wonder why it's still dark.

Comparatively speaking, Hephernaan and Caelar are complete idiots in comparison. Still, that didn't keep me from enjoying the story. It was a superb romp, even if I did roll my eyes at the main villains several times.

BTW, this isn't a nostalgia driven observation. There was a lot of contrived BS in the first games as well. Imoen's arrest, for example. I get that, from a plot perspective, that had to happen, but that should have been handled better. The only reason PC didn't get sent along with them was that the cutscene didn't allow you to act. There were also a few other railroaded situations that you, the player, can see a mile away but have no control over. When it comes to stupid plot devices, SoD has no monopoly in the series. My complaint is just how ill-conceived the bad guy's entire plan is from stem to stern.

Then there is the scale. I know, no one wants to play "The Empire Strikes Back" - which is essentially what SoD represents in the series. It's a bridge between an epic BG1 and an even more epic BG2. Unfortunately, the writers got carried away and made an epic mid-quel. Far, far too epic. However, worse than that, it was a very public epic. Had the events been handled in such a way that most people in Faerun would have no idea that they had occurred, such as the events of Durlag's Tower, I could buy it. As it is, Beamdog created a massive disturbance in the force, as it were. It would take a crap ton of retconning screen doors to fit something as wide-scale as Caelar's crusades from being well known in Athkatla.

Now, that said, it was extremely fun to play the actual siege. The events in the camp were amazingly well done. I love how you are given a choice as to who your backup will be, and enjoyed the crap out of that. The castle battle was also great, though I felt a bit let down, as I felt (somewhat ironically) that it should have been harder. As it was, the hardest part of that battle was avoiding killing your own allies with friendly fire while still pounding the crusaders.

There really aren't enough of these kinds of battles in the series. The closest thing to it was Amkethran towards the end. Now THAT was an enjoyable romp.

Overall, I really enjoyed it. I would love to see a new story, unconnected to the BG series, written where the writers can go as big as they want without being tied to an existing story. It's clear the team has the chops, they just need to hone a few areas here and there and work on writing more believable villains.

GusindaThacoBelljoluvNoonJuliusBorisovArdanisAerakarronaldoZaxaresArtonaDJKajuruStummvonBordwehrAciferLudwig_IISkatanTimbo0o0o0Mantis37Iseweinsemiticgodkansasbarbarian
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Comments

  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 8,911
    Its always nice to see a balanced review.

    semiticgodkansasbarbarian
  • joluvjoluv Member Posts: 2,098
    Maurvir wrote: »
    no one wants to play "The Empire Strikes Back"

    Au contraire.

    ThacoBellkansasbarbarian
  • SamuelVargSamuelVarg Member Posts: 595
    edited April 17
    You didn't think Caelar was well written? She is my favorite and the most complex villain so far in the BG saga!

    How different people can see the same things. Fascinating.

    ThacoBellkansasbarbarianAerakarStummvonBordwehr
  • MaurvirMaurvir Member Posts: 172
    I feel like we never got a chance to know her. We get little dribbles of background, but little that points to get character of personality. Other than that one prior meeting, you don't even get a chance to interact. That, and, as I pointed out, her villainy was pointless unless she is a narcissist; which, now that I think about it, would explain a lot.

    AerakarIsewein
  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 8,911
    @Maurvir Arrogance is her fatal flaw. It informs almost everything she does. She doesn't see herself as a villain. She thinks that because of her ancestry, Celestial and a long line of paladins, she can ONLY be right and good. She is a lot like Sarevok in that she is a mirror to charname. Where Sarevok shows what its like is charname gives in to the taint, Caelar shows that ancestry does not determine your nature.

    Aerakar
  • megamike15megamike15 Member Posts: 1,614
    i really had no real issue with corwin i think she is fine. it's safana i had issues with. now i never used her in bg 1 [ with npc project] so i have nothing to compare her to but i found her annoying.

  • DJKajuruDJKajuru Member Posts: 2,990
    My only serious complaint from SoD is the voice acting of several non joinable npcs. The french accent from Entar sounds fake, dwarves sound scottish but the voicing seems fake too , the old female soldier in the military camp was supposed to sound like "old soldier lady" instead of "old cat lady" , the female ogre voice sounded cartoonish, Hephernan sounded like a cartoon villain as well (a mistake that Beamdog had made with Dorn and Neera in BG1/BG2) , some of Safana's lines didn't sound very natural , the custom soundsets made by the girls who voice Imoen and Safana are too similar to the npc's themselves (which dettracts you from using them) , the drow lovers who escaped and the rashemi couple sounded cartoonish as well .

    That said, I really like the rest of it and I will keep supporting Beamdog and IE material.

    Artona
  • MaurvirMaurvir Member Posts: 172
    Yes, the voice acting was a bit rough in places, but it wasn't so off-putting as to spoil the game. I imagine trying to replicate the voice actors in the original games might have been a challenge, so I'm willing to give them a pass on that one.

    As for the SJW stuff, I don't disagree entirely. It was unnecessary, but by itself that wouldn't be a big deal. What is a big deal is that it seems to have come at the expense of the necessary. Many of the problems listed by fthku go directly to this problem. In her attempt to make Caelar Argent this paragon of female empowerment, she completely fails to tell her story. You know, the part where she screws up so badly she has to fix it by making a special trip to the "bad place".

    In contrast, by the time we get to the end of SoA, we know precisely who Jon Irenicus is, who he was, and how and why he came to be. We get a feeling for what kind of a person he is through the dream sequences, conversations, his journals, and the things other people say about him. We discover his shrine early on, and while it wasn't explained until very close to the end, you nonetheless have to look back and remember that. He felt real in a way that Caelar never did, and I believe that is because Amber Scott refused to write in her flaws. Even as everyone is strolling back to the portal to return to the Prime Material plane, you still don't really know what the hell just happened.

    In a way, the same thing happened with M'kiin. You kind of get a feel for her backstory, and you even meet some of her former family, but she, herself, remains a bit of an enigma. For all we know, she was kicked out for some reason but can't bear the thought, so she maintains that she left on her own. We will never know.

    Which makes Mizhena all the more infuriating. A somewhat superfluous character whose primary role is camp healer/vendor has a more fleshed out backstory than the main antagonist and one of your own party members!. I don't mind that she was present, or that her story was told, but it felt like more time was spent telling her story than the stories of people who were actually pertinent to the tale.

    ArtonaIsewein
  • ArtonaArtona Member Posts: 1,025
    I never found Corwin or Safana to be more "strong and independent" than any other NPC in SoD or BG2.
    That is just pure arrogance, to take this downright legendary game and build on it, and then take a crap on one of its characters and claim you did it better?

    To be fair, I don't think you can make characters less developed than BG NPCs. ;)
    Not that I question your impressions (they are your own, after all), but I wouldn't say that anyone in BG has any personality at all.

    ThacoBell
  • DreadKhanDreadKhan Member Posts: 3,775
    Valid point about BG1 NPCs being pretty skeletal... I didn't mind Safana one bit, and found Glint wonderful. I even ran a thief heavy party, with a swashbuckler PC, Safana, and Glint. I feel Safana should have been kitted in some way, as vanilla thief is pretty boring, probably a Swashbuckler.

    I found the game rail-roady, but the large number of side quests make things more interesting. I was annoyed that I couldn't break the seige on the bridge without the camp... I killed a heap of them, but for some reason the Chaos/Horror effects I was relying on stopped working, and enemies that shouldn't be a threat were. Bah!

    ThacoBellAerakar
  • chimaerachimaera Member Posts: 867
    fthku wrote: »
    Funny you should say about the "good, evil, neutral" in the original games (which I disagree with a bit), when that's one of the first things I noticed in SoD. Many dialogues literally have only 3 options, good, evil, or neutral. Compared to the original games where you had, most of the time, a lot of options, and none so linear.
    Eh, I disagree. The BG saga does a lot of things right, but meaningful dialogue options to roleplay your character are not among them. ToB is the absolute worst in this aspect, as far as I'm concerned.

    ThacoBellIsewein
  • Humanoid_TaifunHumanoid_Taifun Member Posts: 963
    @DreadKhan In breaking the siege I was mostly frustrated that after I had killed a few of the enemies, allies started pouring onto the battlefield and stealing my kills. I reloaded the battle several times. In the end I just gave everybody Potions of Fiery Burning/Explosions and a bunch of wands, just so I would be able to mop up the siege camp before any allies arrived. Then I was told to clean the bridge as well and, in continuing with the tactic, I proceeded to blow the whole thing to bits.

    DreadKhan
  • ArtonaArtona Member Posts: 1,025
    @Humanoid_Taifun - I tried clearing entire camp as an assassin, once, stealthy style. I thought that it would be so cool. Imagine my disappointment, when Flaming Fist started showing up... :(

    DreadKhanAerakar
  • MaurvirMaurvir Member Posts: 172
    chimaera wrote: »
    fthku wrote: »
    Funny you should say about the "good, evil, neutral" in the original games (which I disagree with a bit), when that's one of the first things I noticed in SoD. Many dialogues literally have only 3 options, good, evil, or neutral. Compared to the original games where you had, most of the time, a lot of options, and none so linear.
    Eh, I disagree. The BG saga does a lot of things right, but meaningful dialogue options to roleplay your character are not among them. ToB is the absolute worst in this aspect, as far as I'm concerned.

    ToB was infuriating for a few reasons, but Bhaltazar was the one character in that expansion that hit me just right/wrong. It was the only encounter/fight that I felt emotionally ambivalent about, and later actually ticked off over, in the whole game. The only other encounter that came even close was Grimnor. Of course, ToB was essentially the missing boss battles. one right after another, which I found a bit boring after a while. I'm not sure I will redo it on my current play through.

    It is relevant here because some of the same sort of mess showed up in SoD. I get that CRPGs don't have the same flexibility as a PnP campaign because the DM is a computer, not a human, but I do feel like more effort could have been made to allow you to RP a wider variety of behavior.

  • fthkufthku Member Posts: 21
    chimaera wrote: »
    Eh, I disagree. The BG saga does a lot of things right, but meaningful dialogue options to roleplay your character are not among them. ToB is the absolute worst in this aspect, as far as I'm concerned.

    I agree about ToB, as well as BG1 somewhat. I suppose I should have emphasized I was speaking about BG2. It was the first game I played in the series. Whenever I restart the series, at some point I will actually want to rush through so I can make it to BG2 (and now SoD). I feel there's always a lot of dialogue choices there, but it might be the nostalgia talking.
    Artona wrote: »
    I never found Corwin or Safana to be more "strong and independent" than any other NPC in SoD or BG2.

    To be fair, I don't think you can make characters less developed than BG NPCs. ;)
    Not that I question your impressions (they are your own, after all), but I wouldn't say that anyone in BG has any personality at all.

    It's not so much them being strong and independent (which I think is positive) which bothered, as it was the fact that the game is forcing you to acknowledge it.

    As I stated above, I do agree about BG. I find BG to be immensely inferior to BG2 in general, in almost every sense. I'll have to disagree if you are talking about BG2 as well, but that is of course your opinion. While it's no Planescape: Torment, I felt most characters in BG2 to be well developed, some of them even slowly changing over the course of the game. But in any case, the characters being developed or not wasn't actual one of my points =) alongside the whole "strong and independent" schtick I actually felt Corwin was a pretty good character all things considered (though I loathed her attitude, I still think the character is good, portrays the "stick up the ass" soldier pretty well). Safana was only annoying in that they changed her personality.

    Isewein
  • MaurvirMaurvir Member Posts: 172
    While Safana's personality was changed, it did line up pretty well with what happened in BG2, so I don't really mind that much. If anything, I was annoyed at how BG2 ended her character no matter what. It left a real hole too, as she was a single-class thief. Every other good/neutral aligned vanilla thief was either dualed or multi-class, which meant you either got a crappy thief (I'm looking at you, Nalia) or a thief that took FOREVER to get decent HLAs (Jan).

    As for BG1 vs BG2, they both have different charms. BG1 started out seemingly aimless in that you get thrust into the wilderness, literally, with little more than what you salvage from the battle the night before. It feels much more wide open than BG2, which was more tightly constrained in many ways. You could almost forget about the greater campaign at times thanks to that vast wilderness, with only the repeated attacks that name you personally to remind you that there is a larger story. I actually like that about BG1, and I still enjoy replaying it for that reason.

    If you add in ToSC, BG1 is actually a real treat - especially Durlag's tower. While the Underdark in BG2 exceeds it, that was one heck of a ride.

    BG2 is definitely an upgrade in almost every way. You get vastly better developed NPCs, you get more deeply defined characters and stories, and, of course, you aren't scrapping for every last bit of XP unless that's your thing. On the other hand, you are set on your course pretty early on and you have to work out a RP excuse to go exploring the way you did in BG1 guilt free. After all, Imoen is rotting in some dungeon waiting for you to come and get her. (I just RP it as wanting to be maximally prepared to storm what I expect will be a big, scary fortress of magic) Even then, there isn't much wilderness to explore compared to BG1, and you fast travel from the outset. There is no discovering new wilderness by walking there.

    The only original game that felt lacking was ToB. It really needed more time to bake.

  • fthkufthku Member Posts: 21
    edited April 23
    The thing about BG1, and my main complaint about it, is that it only feels so much more open world, but in fact most of the maps have literally zero content on them, whereas BG2 might have fewer free areas to explore, but each has meaning, has content! of course, it's all about preference.

    In very much the same way, Mass Effect 1 has a huge amount of maps (worlds), yet there's basically 3 models repeated all over, with the same type "quests" to just kill the enemies there and that's it. In comparison, ME2 has a *significantly* lower amount of worlds to explore, but each one is unique with a lot of content in it. It's actually the same as your point (which I completely agree with) about random encounters - those get old really fast in BG1, and almost as much on BG2. SoD really succeeds in that point in making them have a bit of content.

    Agreed about the expansions, in both aspects. TotSC adds something I felt really missing in BG1, while ToB definitely feels lackluster. Completely rushed (I believe it came out within a year of SoA, maybe not even), horribly linear and not well thought-out in general. BG2 will always remain my favorite (of the series. of all my RPGs, Fallout 2 is the one I keep coming back to ;) )

    SoA does feel like it's weird how you're supposed to rescue Imoen and chase Irenicus, yet you can take all the time in the world (and it doesn't help when you literally say this to every companion upon first joining you), but aside from that, I absolutely love it. The nostalgia is a major factor, I'm sure. After all, I've been playing this game every now and then for.. Oh my, nearly 20 years now. I guess it's hard to accept certain changes. Maybe I just miss the 90s, when old fashioned D&D was actually popular in gaming, old quest games such as Simon the Sorcerer.. But yeah, I'm ranting like an old guy.

    Isewein
  • RaduzielRaduziel Member Posts: 4,404
    I have my opinions about SoD but those are subjective what made them irrelevant to be shared.

    One thing that I missed in SoD, however, was a massive dungeon (I thought the Temple of Bhaal would be one, but unfortunately I was wrong). TotSC gave us Durlag's Tower, ToB gave us Watcher's Keep, SoD could be inline and give us something like those.

    I know that SoD has a rush and a sense of urgency, but so does ToB. And even Durlag's Tower is usually explored
    between escaping Candlekeep and returning to Baldur's Gate
    what is also a rushed part of that campaign.

    Another good place for a massive dungeon would be the Basalt Tower - instead of a lift, it would be more appealing to fight our way to the top (and that wouldn't damage the sense of urgency). I don't know if that comes from some FR canon, though.

    Aerakar
  • chimaerachimaera Member Posts: 867
    edited April 24
    fthku wrote: »
    chimaera wrote: »
    Eh, I disagree. The BG saga does a lot of things right, but meaningful dialogue options to roleplay your character are not among them. ToB is the absolute worst in this aspect, as far as I'm concerned.

    I agree about ToB, as well as BG1 somewhat. I suppose I should have emphasized I was speaking about BG2. It was the first game I played in the series. Whenever I restart the series, at some point I will actually want to rush through so I can make it to BG2 (and now SoD). I feel there's always a lot of dialogue choices there, but it might be the nostalgia talking.
    And this is where we disagree as well. BG2 is where the writing already takes a dive, in my opinion. Already in the opening scene the dialogue can make no sense, depending on what happened in BG1, if you import a character.

    BG2 had better companion characterization, sure. But it also has a companion turned into a plot device and a main plot based on a fake sense of urgency.

  • fthkufthku Member Posts: 21
    chimaera wrote: »
    And this is where we disagree as well. BG2 is where the writing already takes a dive, in my opinion. Already in the opening scene the dialogue can make no sense, depending on what happened in BG1, if you import a character.

    BG2 had better companion characterization, sure. But it also has a companion turned into a plot device and a main plot based on a fake sense of urgency.

    To each his own, as we both said :) I am curious though, which part did you find not making sense in the opening cutscene? maybe I missed something.

  • chimaerachimaera Member Posts: 867
    edited April 24
    fthku wrote: »
    To each his own, as we both said :) I am curious though, which part did you find not making sense in the opening cutscene? maybe I missed something.
    The entire setup. To clarify, I don't mean JonBon's rambling, but the dialogue with Imoen/Jah/Minsc.

  • MaurvirMaurvir Member Posts: 172
    Raduziel wrote: »
    Another good place for a massive dungeon would be the Basalt Tower - instead of a lift, it would be more appealing to fight our way to the top (and that wouldn't damage the sense of urgency). I don't know if that comes from some FR canon, though.

    If you mean the lift you take from the underground river, I'm pretty sure you were supposed to be spying, not opening a second front. ;)

  • RaduzielRaduziel Member Posts: 4,404
    edited April 25
    Maurvir wrote: »
    Raduziel wrote: »
    Another good place for a massive dungeon would be the Basalt Tower - instead of a lift, it would be more appealing to fight our way to the top (and that wouldn't damage the sense of urgency). I don't know if that comes from some FR canon, though.

    If you mean the lift you take from the underground river, I'm pretty sure you were supposed to be spying, not opening a second front. ;)

    No. The lift at the very end of the DLC (as I said, the Basalt Tower).
    The one in Avernus that takes you to Belhifet.

  • Humanoid_TaifunHumanoid_Taifun Member Posts: 963
    @Maurvir That was pretty stupid in my opinion though.
    You have explosives and a way into the innermost part of the enemy castle.
    What you end up doing is using the explosives against a wooden fence protecting the outermost bailey of the castle. A fence that could have been taken down any number of ways. A fence that the enemy chose to protect with a small group of archers outside of the castle.

    If I had been the commander, I would not have opened a second front in the keep interior. I would have opened the main front there. There are no real defensive structures down there after all. Even if the elevator is a serious bottleneck, I would still prefer that over having my troops charge against well-defended walls.

  • megamike15megamike15 Member Posts: 1,614
    Raduziel wrote: »
    Maurvir wrote: »
    Raduziel wrote: »
    Another good place for a massive dungeon would be the Basalt Tower - instead of a lift, it would be more appealing to fight our way to the top (and that wouldn't damage the sense of urgency). I don't know if that comes from some FR canon, though.

    If you mean the lift you take from the underground river, I'm pretty sure you were supposed to be spying, not opening a second front. ;)

    No. The lift at the very end of the DLC (as I said, the Basalt Tower).
    The one in Avernus that takes you to Belhifet.

    well as i'm not that familiar with forgotten realms lore that isnt from the games. i had no idea that tower had a name.

  • batoorbatoor Member Posts: 652
    edited April 25
    Well the crusade was doomed anyway. No mortal army from faerun could march on Avernus and succeed. Such a large force would attract too much attention in Avernus and probably be overrun within a short time.


    But you should have had the opportunity to side with the crusade near the end. Hordes of the underdark has a similar choice at one point. Unfortunately Caelars charactr suffers a bit because the final siege and the events that proceed after that feel so rushed.

    I loved the battle with Belhifet though..he's a competent final boss and it connects with Icewind Dale decently.

    Ludwig_II
  • jasteyjastey Member Posts: 1,091
    Raduziel wrote: »
    No. The lift at the very end of the DLC (as I said, the Basalt Tower).
    The one in Avernus that takes you to Belhifet.

    I have to admit that I am thankful there is not a dungeon crawl at this point of the game. I see your point, but just out of principle: this is a part where you have to go through. I appreciate there is no dungeon we have to go through to proceed with the game, here. (I think the only one would be the starting dungeon, and that's actually doable in very quick steps if you feel like it).
    It's a matter of taste, I guess.

    Raduziel
  • jasteyjastey Member Posts: 1,091
    batoor wrote: »
    Well the crusade was doomed anyway. No mortal army from faerun could march on Avernus and succeed. Such a large force would attract too much attention in Avernus and probably be overrun within a short time.
    That's an interesting throught. Maybe it didn't happen because
    it was orchestrated by Belhifet himself, so to speak.
    batoor wrote: »
    I loved the battle with Belhifet though..he's a competent final boss and it connects with Icewind Dale decently.
    @batoor I am curious: why do you think it connects well with IWD? I am more on the "why did they take a foe that will be killed twice now" side of things, currently.

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