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My Siege of Dragonspear Review

BaptorBaptor Member Posts: 286
First, my experience: I am a huge fan of the Baldur's Gate series of games. I bought them all the moment they hit the shelves back in the late 90s early 2000s, including the Icewind Dale and Planescape:Torment games. They introduced me to D&D and the Realms, two of my great loves.

I did not buy SOD immediately on release. I waited about six months due to the reported bugs and the bad reviews. I wanted to see if that stuff got cleared out. The bugs got fixed, but the reviews didn't. Beamdog had been diligent in reviving those games and making them better - they had done a good job so far - so I decided to give them a chance and I bought it.

The Good

New NPCs
I thought the new NPCs I picked up were really interesting (Glint is my fav) and fun to run with. They also fleshed out some older NPCs which was nice too, especially since this is the last we see of some of them.

NPCs, Banter, and Interactions
The new NPCs are great and imaginative, with Glint being my personal favorite. Banter and interaction between NPCs is more organic and clean and happens more often. Love it.

Spectacles of Spectacle
This was such a cool thing to do. In particular, I enjoyed that the portal that opens to summon the creatures is the iconic PST portal graphic.

Caelar Argent and the Crusade
The actual character of Argent and her story was really good in my opinion. I will talk more about this later but I think she and her story suffer from being tied to the Bhaalspawn saga. I think in another game it would've had a chance to shine as it deserved to.

Areas of Opportunity

Railroaded Plot and Interactions
As many have said, the writing is not so much bad as it is lazy for an RPG best known for its amazing choices and open worlds. The game is laid out so that you have very few choices and those you do get are "false choices" where every dialogue option leads to the same fate. While it's true that TOB, a similar expansion, is railroaded compared to SOA or BG, it still allows you to take on the areas in the order you desire and you can go back to areas you left if needed. SOD does not allow this.

Voices
On one hand, I was impressed that Beamdog got the old gang together to re-voice the characters, but the years have been long and in Warner's case, unkind (as they are to us all in time) and his voice doesn't really sound like Irenicus anymore. For the others, I'm not sure what the point in re-voicing them was since using their BG voices would've worked just fine. The only one that really bothers me is Warner - Irenicus is my favorite villain.

Romance...?
I liked Glint a lot except for the fact he starts hitting on you from out of nowhere, making sexual innuendos and without the slightest encouragement. In the real world, that throws off creeper vibes to me. I was never a big fan of romances anyways, so this is kind of jarring. In fact, most of the new NPCs seem to start hitting on you within literally hours of knowing you. Maybe I don't get out enough?

Discontinuity
Prequels are hard - so hard in fact that in this writers humble opinion, they are not worth the effort. This game was supposedly created to fill a gap that didn't really need to be filled if it even existed. I always assumed that the "darker circumstances" that caused your "departure" from Baldur's Gate WAS the kidnapping by Irenicus. I never saw a "gap" to fill. That said, some of the things that supposedly happen or don't happen in this story mess with the continuity of BG2 SOA.

Irrelevent
Since the events of Dragonspear weren't part of the original games, it doesn't figure into BG2 SOA or TOB at all. This means the story is pointless as far as the story-arc of the bhaalspawn. It was fun the first play because it was new. Now I feel like it's a chore I have to do before getting to the REAL fun of BG2 SOA. That's not fun.

One Hit Wonder
All of the above serve to make the game a one hit wonder. I played it because I liked BG - I liked it because it strikes the nostalgic chords - but when I was done it had almost zero replay-ability. You can only play this expansion one way, so any re-play is just a step by step re-tread of what you did last time. Not that interesting.

This game would've been SO much better had it been expanded out into a full standalone Infinity Engine game that had nothing to do with the Bhaalspawn. If it had just been "The Siege of Dragonspear," a brand new game with a dozen or more zones, dungeons, and a town or two, it would've been pretty good. Maybe the railroading would've disappeared in a large game like that.

Final score for SOD - 3/5 not great, not terrible.

Personal recommendation: buy it but buy it on sale and realize you're only going to get one good play out of it. Treat it as a "what-if" if the continuity bothers you.




Post edited by Baptor on
elminstersemiticgoddessButtercheesejoluvHudzyswitIllustairBelgarathMTHJuliusBorisovAerakarMoradin

Comments

  • BaptorBaptor Member Posts: 286
    Well kudos on all of you who worked on it. It's amazing and I can only hope it does well enough for a BG3. I'm also hoping for Icewind Dale 2: EE and perhaps a Planescape Torment: EE.

    And Glint was fantastic, like a good aligned Jan Jansen. It's how gnomies roll.

    elminsterBelgarathMTHJuliusBorisovAerakar
  • ArgyleArgyle Member Posts: 48
    Zaviak was my favorite NPC dialog sequence. The "surfer dude" cliche has been done a million times in Western media, but this one just worked a certain way where I found it so funny and refreshing. Unfortunately it was done so well that I don't think anyone else should try it in the future ... unless Zaviak himself were to reappear? Whoa.

    Glint was definitely worth keeping in the party. His dialogs and voice sets were interesting, and sometimes were a welcome offset in some of the more serious portions of the game. There was one odd dialog where somehow Glint thought he was in a romantic relationship with my PC ... that came out of nowhere.

    The story was good, but I am not sure I quite understood the ending. I won't spoil it here, but it certainly appeared that the driving motivation behind the story's main antagonist plotline got a little confused.

    BaptorJuliusBorisov
  • BaptorBaptor Member Posts: 286
    Argyle said:

    There was one odd dialog where somehow Glint thought he was in a romantic relationship with my PC ... that came out of nowhere.

    Yeah...I was confused too. I am sure the writer was trying to do something interesting with that scene, but it doesn't seem to really go anywhere and it does come out of nowhere too. I was kinda confused what to say to him afterwards because I didn't want to romance him and well..it was awkward.

    Speaking of which, the one romance you can do seemed kind of pointless in the end. I mean I knew it would be when I started it, but still. Kind of a downer, especially since when the chips are down that person just abandons you.
    Argyle said:

    The story was good, but I am not sure I quite understood the ending. I won't spoil it here, but it certainly appeared that the driving motivation behind the story's main antagonist plotline got a little confused.

    I get where you are coming from, but I managed to get it. Irenicus' goal in Shadows of Amn is to awaken your divine spark. Since your spark is from the Lord of Murder, cold blooded murder is what it takes. Imoen tells you in his dungeon he murdered innocent people in front of her to awaken her godsoul and later in the asylum he murdered dozens of people with his machine to kick-start yours. I think he was trying to get you to slit Skie's throat so that Bhaal would awaken your godsoul so he could of course steal it to become immortal himself. When you refuse he does it hoping it will still work out.


  • IllustairIllustair Member Posts: 866
    Loved Glint as well. I haven't finished the expansion (RL!!), but I've seen enough to say that he's now among my most favorite even among the old ones. Very well-written and the voice acting fits perfectly! I am not a Jansen fan, and considering that they have some similarities, yet I still love Glint - that's saying a lot!
    Baptor said:


    NPCs, Banter, and Interactions
    The new NPCs are great and imaginative, with Glint being my personal favorite. Banter and interaction between NPCs is more organic and clean and happens more often. Love it.

    This pretty much sums up everything else I have to say.

  • BelgarathMTHBelgarathMTH Member Posts: 5,649
    @Baptor, I agree with everything thing you said in your review. I am learning to ignore people on the internet who hate stuff. What other people like, don't like, love or hate, has nothing to do with me, and what I will enjoy. If a game sounds interesting to me, I buy it.

    Some people just seem really invested in hating stuff, and trying to shoot down, destroy, and be angry all the time, especially on the internet. It's like they get off on it or something.

    semiticgoddessHudzyJuliusBorisovAerakar
  • megamike15megamike15 Member Posts: 2,646
    i agree. did a full series run [ can't call it trilogy anymore thanks to sod.' and everything people complain about just seemed over exaggerated.

    that character talked to her saw the text [ which is voiced which may be why people complained.} shrugged and moved on.

    safana never used her anyways so can't form a real opinion but from what little of her i saw not really my favorite person in the world.

    the liner plot: better then tob.

    the ending: felt rushed? sure. i wish it was alittle longer

    iomen being taken from me; i wish she was in the prologue dungeon. there is no reason to replace her with safana if you import. she could have just started her training afterwards and nothing changes.

  • BaptorBaptor Member Posts: 286

    Some people just seem really invested in hating stuff, and trying to shoot down, destroy, and be angry all the time, especially on the internet. It's like they get off on it or something.

    True enough, it's becoming an internet profession now methinks.

    iomen being taken from me; i wish she was in the prologue dungeon. there is no reason to replace her with safana if you import. she could have just started her training afterwards and nothing changes.

    True. I did miss Imoen.

  • IakusIakus Member Posts: 35
    I suppose I should give a brief comment on SoD as well.

    It has flaws. Some of which were noted (quite loudly) at the start. And I suffered the classic "ninjamance" with my companions. Seriously, I somehow managed to end up romancing Corwin, Glint, Neera, and Safana simultaneously!) But overall, it was a fun experience.

    Was it linear, even railroaded at times? Sure. but keep in mind: It's an expansion, not a full game like BGEE. And it's a bridge between Baldur's Gate and Baldur's Gate 2. So it's not like there's a lot of wiggle room on what can happen.

    I also wished for more returning companions. Garrick, Alora, Yeslik, Branwen. But the ones we did get were fine. You can't have everything, and BG had So. Very. Many. Companions. And this gave us new ones as well. I particularly enjoyed Schael Cowin and Glint Gardnersonson. For the old characters, I thought a couple of them felt...different...than before. But I guess that's understandable, given time and new writers.

    So, the characters were (mostly) fine. I loved the banter. I enjoyed the story, the encounters were more than "you have been waylaid by enemies and must defend yourself". The "Shining Lady" was a great antagonist. One I sympathized with so much I found myself wishing I could join her crusade more than once.

    Also: Spectaclle of Spectacles: I wish it had more charges ;)

  • RaduzielRaduziel Member Posts: 4,716
    My turn:

    Just finished and it is a great game. The antagonist really touched me and more then once I caught myself wondering if I was doing the right thing by facing her.

    Didn't liked the begining because it has the same issues that BG2 has IMHO: it doesn't respects the history of you with the NPCs. In many runs I never take Jaheira/Khalid or Minsc/Dynaheir, but there they are, acting like old friends of you.

    It is railroaded? Yeah. But MUCH BETTER then Throne of Bhaal, undoubtedly. The story have a nice flow and you feel a sense of urgency on the problems that comes to you.

    Didn't explored the NPCs because the RP oriented me to don't give a damn about the goblin and the Skald, but Glint and Corwin were in my party and I need to say that they are amazing. Specially Corwin who is a totally badass and made my point about something that I say for AGES: Kivan isn't a great archer (even kitting him as an Archer). She is.

    [spoiler]In the final battle no demon could touch me because she killed all of then as soon as they got in her LoS. It made possible for Minsc to tank Belhifet

    IDK with who I can talk to give a tip: the Marshal (I forgot his name) shouldn't be waiting for you at Dead Man's Pass, I wasn't able to report that I've saved Skie because once I returned to the camp he was nowhere to be found (he was at the meeting already).

    BelgarathMTHBaptor
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