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What do YOU like about Baldur's Gate 2?

odessa333odessa333 Member Posts: 59
So hi there.

I've been a Baldur's gate 1 fan girl since BEFORE the original game released, yet I skipped out on 2 for a long, long while after hearing what happened to favorites like Khalid and Dynaheir. Yet for all this, I have heard nothing but praise for how amazing Baldur's gate 2 is. And with Baldur's gate 3 a reality, I broke down and finally gave Baldur's gate 2 it's chance just this month.

And I hated it.

I can't think of a game I've played lately that I dislike more. From story to graphics, everything seems worse. Everything is made so dark visually I can barely see what the heck I'm doing half the time. And the tone is just 'everything is horrible.' You're forced to do horrible thing after horrible thing with no choice about it, which I don't like. It doesn't make sense that you can't do get aid from any good aligned sources in the city. I struggle here to name a single quest with a 'happy' ending. Maybe I didn't find them in my rush to get this over with it, but it seems like it was just misery after misery going for that dark, 'mature' feel.

And Irenicus. Holy hell, this guy is the biggest Mary Sue with the worst plot armor I have ever seen. For all I heard about how great a villain he was, I just found him annoying.


I spent more time planning my different parties for this game than I actually spent playing this game. I don't think I can handle going back to do a second run. I am massively disappointed with this game, and don't understand why it's so loved. I needed to vent a little, it's true, yet I also wanted to give it's fans a chance to defend their game, to try to understand what makes this game so adored. Because right now I don't see it.

What do you enjoy about Baldur's gate 2?



Post edited by odessa333 on
JuliusBorisovilduderinoPermidion_StarkArviaStummvonBordwehrIseweingorgonzolaAerakar
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Comments

  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 11,916
    Did we even play the same game? You're in a bright and sunny southern city. The only dark places are in dungeons, where it makes sense for them to be dark.

    I'm not sure what you mean about tone either. There's still the mix of optimistic, dramatic, and absurd that was in BG1, albeit leaning slightly less into absurd. And everything is horrible? 95% of all the quests either have ONLY a good ending, or the option of one. If anything, there's limited options for any kind of evil playthrough.

    Seriously, the only claim you make that even seems definesible is Irenicus as a Mary Sue. Everything else is just blatantly incorrect.

  • lollerslollers Member Posts: 66
    Oof. I don't know where to start even... How anyone could prefer BG1 over BG2 is absolutely beyond me. Honestly I don't think you'll really find what you are looking for here because it seems like you hate the very things a lot of people love about the game.

    Minsc started out as a regular dude. A level 1 lucky to survive a strike from a gnolls halberd rescuing dynaheir. He would do a bit more than 10 damage in a good round, a little over 20 if he were really lucky. In the end he can do more than 100 damage per second and he ignores most of the damage people try to do to him. The growth arc is massively lowered without BG1.

    Pokota
  • MaurvirMaurvir Member Posts: 907
    I will start by saying that I like BG1 and BG2, but for different reasons. BG1 feels much more like a "real" campaign starting as low-level characters. It's all about exploration and fighting creatures in the wilderness. In fact, there is far more wilderness than not in BG1 - something I found sorely lacking in BG2.

    HOWEVER, BG2 starts you in a different place - both literally and figuratively. You should now be a reasonably high-level character at this point. Killing kobalds and xvarts in the wilderness should be a side-show, not the main attraction. Just like in a real campaign, eventually you stop the random exploration and start focusing on one or more plot lines.

    I love both games, and have played full trilogy runs many, many times.

    So, that said, I can see *some* of your points, but not most. I was deeply disappointed by the Imoen thing, and then again when so many BG1 companions were either killed off directly, or within minutes of you meeting them. It was ridiculous, unnecessary, and I am still irked about it. However, it is possible that, had they been allowed as companions, most people would never experience the new companions.

    I also agree that Irenicus is a bit of a Mary Sue, but really, that is almost to be expected. He is the big, bad villain. If you could kill him in chapter 1, it would sort of put a damper on the rest of the game. I suppose there are still plenty of things to do, but it would devolve into a pointless, aimless series of random quests. Thus, he sort of needed that plot armor.

    Now, the other points I can't agree with. Most of the quests have a positive ending unless you are either playing a thoroughly evil, or stupid, protagonist. Not all of them, because this is old school DnD, but many of them. I would remind you that not all of the BG1 quests ended so great either. Remember that farmer in the Ankheg area? Yeah, that didn't end so hot for him. Pretty sure the unmodded Tenya quest didn't end so hot for a lot of people either.

    That said, if you didn't like it, you didn't like it. There is no requirement to love a game just because everyone else does. I would suggest you try some mods before ditching it, though. With the right mods, it can feel like a totally different game. I personally like Imoen4ever because it gets rid of quite possibly the stupidest decision made in BG2 (obviously IMO)

    ThacoBellIseweingorgonzolaArvia
  • jsavingjsaving Member Posts: 966
    edited October 20
    I struggle to understand how BG2 could be viewed as darker in tone than BG1. Your mentor/father dying in front of you while a sinister conspiracy stokes hatred to engineer a war with Amn seems pretty downbeat to me. Whereas liberating enslaved people, freeing towns from nearby threats and then witnessing their transformation, personally steering the D'Arnise keep in a better direction, making a silver dragon whole, and recovering a dear friend all seem like situations where the player wasn't "forced to do horrible thing after horrible thing" and did actually through his virtue make a positive difference to those around him.

    That's not to say there aren't solid reasons to prefer BG1. Maybe you like free-style exploration, or have fond memories of low-level tabletop play, or appreciate Durlag's Tower which remains the best dungeon crawl in the BG series. Or maybe you dislike intricate mage battles, or talkative companions, or the feeling that you're being railroaded into rescuing a companion about whom you don't care. None of those things push me personally into preferring BG1 but I would certainly understand someone having that point of view.

    Post edited by jsaving on
    ThacoBellCloutiergorgonzola
  • Permidion_StarkPermidion_Stark Member Posts: 4,606
    @odessa333
    I'm with you. I think Baldur's Gate was a beautiful game and Baldur's Gate 2 was incredibly disappointing. I think it is overblown and ugly. I hate the paper dolls, I hate the sprites, I hate the mirroring. I hate waking up in a dungeon with companions I dumped in a the first game. I hate the fact they turned Imoen into a mage. And I think the characters that were dropped or turned into cameos were far more engaging than the characters that were introduced. Oh, and I hate romances.

    Still, it's nowhere near as bad as Throne of Bhaal.

  • KorbenDallasKorbenDallas Member Posts: 29
    edited October 20
    I started playing SoD about a year ago after not playing BG1 or BG2 for about 20 years. I looked at the old saved games, well the ones that would load, and I completed BG1 and stopped playing BG2 in Chapter 5 the Underdark. I was trying to stop playing video games so much back then so that was a big part of why I stopped, but I do remember not liking the mage battles and the time pressures in trying to rescue Imoen. Having to choose between siding with vampires or thieves, a lesser of two evils decision, was morally uncomfortable for me that there wasn't a morally correct choice.

    The thematic elements of BG2 are different from BG1 as well, SoD feels more like BG1 to me with the forests, castles, and dungeons. Neither BG1 or SoD are heavy on mage chess or the nuances of D&D, and they feel like you can grab a sword and head out into the world. BG2 seems to require degrees of meta-knowledge to play the game, and on one hand that is one reason BG2 is replayed so much by many people, but on the other hand it's a bit discouraging for casual adventuring.

    Before I started playing SoD about a year ago I tried playing BG1 first. But I didn't like walking through open maps with nothing really happening, there just wasn't enough going on. But 20 years ago when I played it, I absolutely loved it and felt like an explorer. Recently SoD felt more rich and accomplishing during playtime. BG2 took richness to another level and is like a living world, but a different world.

    In BG2 the main character certainly isn't in the Candlekeep mythos anymore, they are in the special world and have crossed the threshold from the ordinary world. It's a more complex and morally challenging world to do the right thing. In my current playthrough, which I plan to complete the game this time, I just rescued Imoen and have the same party composition as my 20 year old save game. As far as critiquing the game, the amazing parts are the sound design, art design, items, richness and vast depth of the writing in every corner of the game. I'm not a fan of the time and moral pressures in the beginning of the game, though I did eventually reason that Irenicus is such a high level enemy that my party would have to go adventuring to have enough experience to be able to take a shot at such a foe.

    I would have enjoyed more wilderness areas in BG2, SoD had several of them and I thought they packed enough adventuring in them, but BG2's setting and campaign is different than those games and it does so many things extremely well that it's daunting to comprehend how the creators of the game could put so much in there just for one game.

    Anyway, this playthrough is on SCS Hardcore and Ascension, I'm much better at the game now than I was before. I thought about what I would do differently after this playthough, and I would absolutely install the Imoen 4 Ever mod. I think it would change BG2 world to be more open and free, and ease the moral dilemma and time pressure of the rescue in the unmodded storyline.

    ThacoBellGrond0
  • QuickbladeQuickblade Member Posts: 949
    Maurvir wrote: »
    So, that said, I can see *some* of your points, but not most. I was deeply disappointed by the Imoen thing, and then again when so many BG1 companions were either killed off directly, or within minutes of you meeting them. It was ridiculous, unnecessary, and I am still irked about it. However, it is possible that, had they been allowed as companions, most people would never experience the new companions.

    The fates of the vanilla BG1 companions
    5 joinable
    6 alive (and not fated to die by canon in-game events)
    3 alive then dead (You physically see their avatar/sprite and then they die by canon in-game events)
    5 dead (usually by reference)
    6 unknown
    5 joinable
    Edwin
    Imoen
    Jaheira
    Minsc
    Viconia

    6 alive (do not die by canon in-game events)
    Garrick
    Quayle
    Coran (possibly in next category)
    Tiax (Very likely in next category though)
    Branwen (tutorial)
    Xan (tutorial)

    3 alive then dead (Physically see their sprite/avatar alive and then they die by canon in-game events)
    Faldorn
    Safana
    Xzar

    5 dead (usually by reference)
    Ajantis (only directly referenced if Keldon in party)
    Dynaheir
    Khalid
    Montaron (and you can see the body)
    Skie (by events of SoD, otherwise unknown)

    6 unknown (no reference in unmodded game)
    Alora
    Eldoth
    Kagain
    Kivan
    Shar-Teel
    Yeslick

    So 11 alive, half joinable, 8 dead, 6 unknown. Seems ok to me. I never got attached to any of the dead, so I guess I just didn't mind that much seeing them dead in the sequel. My favorites are in the alive or unknown columns. (particularly Imoen, Jaheira, Viconia, Branwen, Kivan)

    Grond0gorgonzola
  • ilduderinoilduderino Member Posts: 716
    edited October 20
    Anomen will also recognise Ajantis I think

    Some of darker tone of BG2 comes from the number of companions that die and the manner. Gorian heroically dying to save the PC is one of the oldest tropes ever and can’t have surprised many, like Obi-Wan biting the dust etc etc. BG2 immediately kills off, in a pointless and futile manner, members of the cast that didn’t have “this chap will die heroically to save you” written in neon and bold on their foreheads

  • BlackbɨrdBlackbɨrd Member Posts: 265
    I can think of a few quests with good endings, saving Trademeet for example, freeing the slaves in the slums, killing the slavers, helping Nalia take back her keep from the evil Trolls, even in the opening dungeon you can help the dryads who are slaves of Irenicus's. They actually ask and plead for assistance.
    @odessa333

    Another thing I do like about Baldur's Gate 2 are the companions and their quests. I liked Haer'Dalis, Mazzy, Valygar, Korgan, Yoshimo even Nalia! I also liked how vocal companions are and how most of them have personal quests.

    ArviaJuliusBorisovThacoBellAerakar
  • BracchusBracchus Member Posts: 16
    Most of your complaints with BG2 seem to come from a "feeling" perspective rather than actual gameplay so with that as a basis to answer you, we're going to disagree right from the start. BG1 is all about basic low level D&D style gaming, while BG2 allows for a lot more advanced high level gameplay options. So your question would be like asking me "why did you prefer AD&D over the original Basic D&D boxed set?" I don't even bother doing trilogy runs anymore. There's really no point after an initial few starter runs of BG1 and SoD to bother starting new characters at those points. Not unless you're really a purist and unwilling to console in a few (totally optional) item imports you wouldn't otherwise get by starting from BG2. I don't take the RP aspect of this series TOO seriously because as fun of a ttd&d based video game it is, it's just not ever going to replace PnP in that respect. Not even close, so I treat it mostly as it is: a video game where in this case, the sequel has much more gameplay to offer.

    gorgonzola
  • jsavingjsaving Member Posts: 966
    Well, the OP does deserve credit for saying, hey, my experience with BG2 was so different from the conventional wisdom that I'd like to better understand its good points.

  • DinoDinDinoDin Member Posts: 1,182
    ilduderino wrote: »
    Anomen will also recognise Ajantis I think

    Some of darker tone of BG2 comes from the number of companions that die and the manner. Gorian heroically dying to save the PC is one of the oldest tropes ever and can’t have surprised many, like Obi-Wan biting the dust etc etc. BG2 immediately kills off, in a pointless and futile manner, members of the cast that didn’t have “this chap will die heroically to save you” written in neon and bold on their foreheads

    Hm, I disagree that some of this stuff was unnecessary. First off, side protagonists being killed midway through a plot are not all that uncommon in this kind of high fantasy. It's often a way of raising the stakes in the middle of the action.

    But it's important for establishing extra motivation for the PC at the start of SoA. I think it was a safe way to cover all their bases with a canonical opening. If he just kidnaps Imoen, well maybe you dumped her in Nashkel. But he does something to three different good NPC's, one of which you were likely to have used for most of BG1. I mean, they could only write one story in BG2, so they cast a wide net.

    Secondarily, it allowed them to import some of the popular NPC's from BG1 while breaking up the couples thing, which wasn't popular with players. I think they go a little overboard with bringing in too many NPC's as questline moments, but I think they did a great job with bringing back just enough as playable characters, while adding new, interesting ones for the setting.

    ThacoBellilduderinomegamike15
  • ilduderinoilduderino Member Posts: 716
    @DinoDin I agree that killing those npcs gives motivation for pursuing Irenicus, the point about the deaths being pointless and futile was that they feel pointless and futile in context of their characters, and the impact this has on the tone of the game.

    Gorian dies at the start of BG being a good dad and in an unsurprising manner, the npcs that die at the start of BG2 feel they haven’t met their purpose (although some players may be thinking, why are you here, I left you at the Friendly Arm Inn / you attacked me in Nashkel). Khalid dying frees up Jaheria to romance the PC, so I agree these decisions achieve plot objectives (it also breaks up pairs of characters and the non fan favourites were culled), but the story ends of Khalid and Dynaheir feel hollow, which contributes to an immediately darker tone to BG2.

    People seem to have a downer on Dynaheir but I would much rather have had her story continue than travel with Aerie, Nalia or Neera (but I enjoy all things Rashemen).

  • MaurvirMaurvir Member Posts: 907
    Part of the problem is that BG2 practically requires the protagonist to have a party to get out of the starting dungeon. You don't start in the middle of the woods as in BG1, where you could, in theory, sneak to the nearest town and start recruiting a party. Not that this is necessarily a bad thing, but now you have the issue of who should be available for this impromptu party.

    Obviously, most people play good aligned parties, so most of the choices were good-aligned (Jaheira is essentially a good aligned character, despite being labeled as TN) If you aren't terribly thrilled with those options, you can always try to sneak out, but then you miss a bunch of stuff - including any imported items that are hidden behind locked, trapped chests. (assuming, of course, that your PC doesn't have thief skills)

    I get why the decision was made to have you wake up in ID, and later to have Imoen kidnapped from your party, but to me, it felt a lot like you started the game by heading out from a train station. I love BG2, and still play it today, but I always hated that aspect of the game - and it's why I'm such a fan of mods that subvert it.

    Now, once you get past that, and into the Athkatla itself, it's a whole different ball of wax. There is far more depth (literally and figuratively) to that city than Baldur's Gate. While I wish other cities had been expanded, such as Trademeet or Umar Hills, Athkatla could entertain a player for a long time all by itself.

    megamike15
  • megamike15megamike15 Member Posts: 2,520
    edited October 21
    the game needed to give you motivation to go after Irenicus. by the time you get to chapter 2 you have atlest 3.

    1. revenge
    2. you want to save imoen
    3. answers for why he wants your power.

    and as for the party thing it never bothered me. if i'm not using minsc that run i just use him for the starting dungeon and once i'm out kick him out for who i want and move on with my life.

    the baldurs gate games are very flexable about this. your not gonna be stuck with the same 9 or so party members like you would be in later bioware/obsidian games. you can mix and match as you see fit epically if your like me and use modded npcs.

    thats my main reason i enjoy baldurs gate 2. it's very replayable. one run will be vastly different then another depending on my party and i will see new content every time.

    Post edited by megamike15 on
    ThacoBellBracchus
  • BrightL1ghtsBrightL1ghts Member Posts: 52
    edited October 21
    For me it's creativeness. I can't think of any other game except for bg2 / morrowind / arcanum where you could have so much fun with magic. Yes, it breaks the game in the hands of a good player (hi, wild mages and their completely not overpowered nahal's reckless dweomer), but hey it is so damn fun.
    And come on, who doesn't like to join a multiplayer game, feeblemind the host, wipe out entire Athkatla, and leave the game. Thug life.

    DinoDingorgonzola
  • BracchusBracchus Member Posts: 16
    megamike15 wrote: »
    the game needed to give you motivation to go after Irenicus. by the time you get to chapter 2 you have atlest 3.

    1. revenge
    2. you want to save imoen
    3. answers for why he wants your power.

    and as for the party thing it never bothered me. if i'm not using minsc that run i just use him for the starting dungeon and once i'm out kick him out for who i want and move on with my life.

    the baldurs gate games are very flexable about this. your not gonna be stuck with the same 9 or so party members like you would be in later bioware/obsidian games. you can mix and match as you see fit epically if your like me and use modded npcs.

    thats my main reason i enjoy baldurs gate 2. it's very replayable. one run will be vastly different then another depending on my party and i will see new content every time.

    I agree but I wish none of them had quest timers. Or at least changed them so that as long as you do them before Spellhold, that satisfies them and ditch the timers altogether

  • SelerelSelerel Member Posts: 25
    I always looked forward to the dialogue options with Imoen, Minsc, and Jaheira in the beginning. Depending on my history with them in BG1 (and now SOD), I roleplay the options and see what shakes out. In one BG1 playthough, I actually killed Minsc in Nashkel, recruited Dynaheir separately, then had her PERMA-DIE later on. I just thought of it like this guy got resurrected somehow and is stil crazy.

    SOD really does help bridge the gap now, though. Regardless of BG1 circumstances, these 3 are in or around Charname's orbit directly going into SOA.

  • iosfrustrationiosfrustration Member Posts: 144
    I do absolutely love BG2, the way that the parts of the game come together give it a lasting appeal that is hard to beat.
    The plot is a hastily thrown together pile of crap. No doubt about that. It’s basically a shabby pastiche of Star Wars. A 12 year old would be ashamed.
    The entire focus of the game was changed very late in development and it shows
    Fortunately the amazing characters, locations and interactions carry the day.
    Some of the most memorable moments in the game come BECAUSE the main plot is so weak. Players have huge flexibility to play the game the way they want, to project their thoughts into the characters, and to play those roles.

  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 11,916
    I must have missed the part where the emperor steals Luke's soul.

    megamike15iosfrustration
  • DanacmDanacm Member Posts: 838
    I had a game where Minsc and Jaheira died in irenicus dungeon. So the new begining was there. :smile:

    iosfrustration
  • MaurvirMaurvir Member Posts: 907
    ThacoBell wrote: »
    I must have missed the part where the emperor steals Luke's soul.

    In fairness, that would explain episode 8...

    iosfrustrationThacoBell
  • DinoDinDinoDin Member Posts: 1,182
    One thing I forgot to mention that I love is the huge sum of gold for the main quest.

    Almost every single other RPG has a main quest that's go to A, then B, then C, etc. And much of BG2 is that too. But one reason the opening segment of the game is so enjoyable is that there are near infinite number of ways you can go about completing this initial quest.

    This plays into the non-linearity, I previously mentioned. But, to me, no other RPG has topped this specific moment in that regard.

    megamike15ThacoBell
  • megamike15megamike15 Member Posts: 2,520
    Maurvir wrote: »
    ThacoBell wrote: »
    I must have missed the part where the emperor steals Luke's soul.

    In fairness, that would explain episode 8...

    nah luke in ep 8 is just a grumpy old man who is only friendly to r2.

  • iosfrustrationiosfrustration Member Posts: 144
    Ok, it’s a bit of a stretch, but I’m going to spin a line of bullshit and run width it

    Why BG2 = Starwars

    The big bad = bhaal/Emperor
    The dragon = irenicus/Vader

    In both plots the dragon cares nothing for the wider goal, they have their own agenda to turn the protagonists power to their own ends

    In both plots the protagonist and the dragon clash early. charname/irenicus in chateaux irenicus, Luke/Vader in the cloud city.

    In both plots the dragon abducts the “rogue” from the protagonists party (Vader takes Han to Jabba, Irenicus takes Imoen to the asylum)

    In both plots the protagonist embarks on a hero’s journey, grows in strength and skill, meets many people that will help them later

    In both plots the protagonist travels to rescue their companion and is captured and horribly tortured in the process. Then triumphantly escapes, demonstrating their full power in the process ( charname transforming into the slayer and defeating Bhodi, Luke embracing the power of the force and defeating Jabba/boba fett

    In both plots the protagonist does great deeds and leaves his enemies battered and bloodied. Luke destroys the death star, charname destroys the drow city.

    In both plot the protagonist, now a fully fledged hero confronts the dragon and defeats him (Vader in the throne room, irenicus at the tree)

    In that defeat the nature of the true threat is revealed - the Emperor in deathstar2, bhall in hell.

    The protagonist reclaims their essence from the dragon, (destroying irenicus, turning Vader to the light side)

    And in doing so sets the stage for the final confrontation with the big bad (TOB and episodes 7/8/9

  • megamike15megamike15 Member Posts: 2,520
    thats a very bad comparison as irenicus could care less about bhaal. he could have taken any powerful soul he just chose yours as it was convenient.

    ThacoBell
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