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BG:EE is on GOG sale. I'm thinking about picking Siege of Dragonspear, but reviews scare me.

Greetings. I'm thinking about buying BG:EE and Siege of Dragonspear on GOG, but reviews for the latter are quite disheartening, to say at least. There are 10 pages of 1-star reviews in row. So I got questions:

1) How bad is the bug situation by now? I don't think I can handle Fallout 2 level of bugs like I did when I was teen.

2) Can someone point me in most possible non-spoilerish way to what exactly made "anti-SJW" crowd that mad?

3) How similar it is to original BG games in atmosphere and gameplay? I only played vanilla BG and mostly remember it being cheesy high-fantasy fare with plot which didn't really went anywhere until the very final part of the game. And honestly I liked it as it was, in its shameless DnD charm and endless green fields. But how can you make plot worse than that, really?

mashedtaters
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Comments

  • shawneshawne Member Posts: 3,239
    edited November 2016
    Having been gifted a copy and completed it last week, I can say the following with some measure of certainty:

    1) I went through the entire campaign, with mods, and there was only one gamebreaker at the very start of the game (a non-essential cutscene wouldn't start, causing the game to freeze). Smooth sailing otherwise.

    2) Contrary to @JuliusBorisov's... shall we say, forgiving mindset, I think you'll find the story to be classic Beamdog in that it's an exercise in frustration: some things they get right (the buildup to the titular Siege, the new NPCs - M'Khiin being a particular standout), some things are just train-wreck level bad writing (the entire last act of the campaign, especially the epilogue), and just a general sense throughout that the devs constantly chose the easiest/laziest path when faced with the possibility of doing more interesting things. Massive plotholes (on the level of "this entire story makes no goddamn sense if you think about it for more than five seconds"), flat characters, bizarre decisions in terms of who gets the spotlight and when and what they're doing...

    3) No references to SoD were patched into BG2. If you're hoping for any kind of continuity or connections beyond the appearance of various import items, you're not going to find them.

    Now, taking all that into account, what I'll say is: It's not very good, and it's not going to feel like a natural extension of the saga because the story isn't foreshadowed in the first game or followed up in the second. It's not Baldur's Gate.

    However, if you go into it with the mindset that it's more like Icewind Dale or Sword Coast Legends - just a random Forgotten Realms adventure - odds are you'll enjoy it on that level. Certainly on a technical level, it's currently a very polished release.

    Quartz
  • CalemyrCalemyr Member Posts: 215


    And to lend perspective as a longtime player of the old BG, BG1 had way flatter characters, caused most of the plotholes, and many of the bizarre spotlight moments also stemmed from BG1.

    I have to agree with a lot of rapsam's comments. Comparing SoD to BG1, it is a million times better. Everyone has solid personalities, lots of dialogue and banter, and you're more grounded in the world. It only comes up lacking when compared to BG2, and not by as much as many claim. It's probably better than ToB, but mainly because ToB is honestly not much fun to play, thanks to clunky "epic" rules.

    Where I disagree with you is the Soultaker dagger. It finished its storyline in BG1. In BG2, you start robbed blind. Since its arc is complete, however, its loss isn't felt. Just another artifact Irenicus stole from you and pawned off to pay the rent on his lab.

    SoD opens up a new arc for the dagger, albeit for a single quest. The problem is that it doesn't resolve the arc, and so its absence in BG2 is now keenly felt when it wasn't before. Now it's just sitting out there as an unresolved plot thread sitting like a splinter in the player's mind. Until it's addressed, it's going to remain a point of frustration to a solid chunk of the audience.

    Quartz
  • TressetTresset Member, Moderator Posts: 7,835
    edited November 2016
    @rapsam2003 There are some extremely subtle references to BG2 that have always been in BG1.

    Charming Centeol and talking to her in the original would make her talk about "Jon Icarus". Though the name was later changed to Jon Irenicus she was indeed referring to one and the same person. The journal would even be updated saying that this information seemed useless now, but maybe would come in handy in a "sequel".

    There is also Lord Foreshadow who always spoke of Neverwinter and Athkatla. You had no way of knowing at the time, but he was hinting at both NWN and BG2 as is obvious if you pay attention to his dialog carefully.

    JuliusBorisovThacoBellSirBatinceQuartz
  • O_BruceO_Bruce Member Posts: 2,761
    1) Majority of bugs have been fixed. There are still some issues. As for my personal experiences, the only problem I have is that the game can randomly crash while quicksaving/leaving area etc and it is connected to steam clouds saves somehow. I predict it will be fixed in the next patch.

    2) There was some Minsc quote that was supposed to be a reference to something and it is now removed. There is a transgender NPC, interraction with takes less than 5 minutes and you have to pry to that NPC a bit to obtain thati nformation. Some people also didn't like the fact that Jaheira and Safana got some characterization. In general, if you are sensible person, there shouldn't have any problems with actual content.

    3) The plot is rather linear, but it does make sense given the situation. There are still optional areas to explore, optional quests to do, there are quests that you can solve in few ways. Main story isn't bad, but in my opinion the writing suffers at times. That being said, you still get to met some interesting characters, fight inteeresting battles, loot some treasures and you can find and learn some things connecting BG1 to BG2.

    ThacoBell
  • shawneshawne Member Posts: 3,239

    And to lend perspective as a longtime player of the old BG, BG1 had way flatter characters, caused most of the plotholes, and many of the bizarre spotlight moments also stemmed from BG1.

    And if we were talking about BG1 in 1998, that would be a valid point. But seeing as how Beamdog didn't exactly stick to that mold in BG:EE itself (since Dorn, Rasaad and Neera have more content than any original NPC to begin with), I'm having trouble seeing how that comparison is relevant. You can't cite 1998 rules as a defense against criticism and then buck the trend when you feel like it.

    By comparison, the SOD characters feel much closer to the BG2 characterizations. Go play BG2 again (without mods) if you don't believe me. The only exception is Voghlin, because half his stuff was cut, unfortunately.

    Really? Because most of BG2's characters go through some kind of arc throughout the game. They start in one place, and they end somewhere else. This is true for Neera in SoD; it's certainly not for Corwin, or Dorn, or Safana. M'Khiin has a big, life-altering dilemma that comes up in one conversation, is resolved in the same conversation, and is never brought up again. You could maybe say that matches Korgan in terms of content and characterization, but that's not exactly a glowing note of recommendation.

    Let's take an obvious example from SOD that people keep bringing up as a plothole. The soulknife dagger...which was something that started in BG1. And then, in BG2, what do we never hear of again in the main narrative? That's right, the soulknife dagger.

    ...I'm assuming you've actually played the game? The reason you never hear about the Soultaker in BG2 is because it was destroyed in BG1. What SoD does is bring it back, and then have it disappear - not only does it not close a plothole in the first game, it reopens one that had already been resolved.

    It's totally Baldur's Gate and it very much feels like an extension of the game, if you line the events up and realize that SOD was a (mostly) logical expansion of 1 which (mostly) previewed events in 2.

    "A crusade appears that no one has ever heard of before, led by someone with no connection to you, is causing problems that have nothing to do with you, and is ultimately about someone else altogether who you've also never heard of" is not a logical expansion of anything that happens in the first game. You could literally cut out the entire plot of the expansion and the epilogue leading into BG2 would be exactly the same.

    @shawne Those three points of mine (and other people who have answered here) focused on the exact questions of the OP. Your three points, however, are an evaluation of the game from your point of view.

    If you could put the pompoms down momentarily, you'll see my comments address the question of bugs and the question of SoD's similarity in theme and execution to the other two games.

    VbibbiQuartz
  • shawneshawne Member Posts: 3,239
    Calemyr said:

    SoD opens up a new arc for the dagger, albeit for a single quest. The problem is that it doesn't resolve the arc, and so its absence in BG2 is now keenly felt when it wasn't before. Now it's just sitting out there as an unresolved plot thread sitting like a splinter in the player's mind. Until it's addressed, it's going to remain a point of frustration to a solid chunk of the audience.

    See, this right here? Unpack it for a second.

    The whole point of this expansion - literally its main gimmick - is to explain why the player leaves Baldur's Gate at the start of BG2 (and presumably why you were hanging around with Imoen and the others if you didn't end BG1 with them).

    To get to that end-point, Andrew Foley and Amber Scott decided to take Skie Silvershield, statistically the least-recruited character in the entire game (on account of being available dead-last), and craft a story about how you're framed for her murder. So far, so good. The only reason the Soultaker Dagger even comes up is because they couldn't think of any other way to prevent Skie from being resurrected - a plot point that might not have even come up in the first place, except they went out of their way to bring back Skie's father at the very start of the game for no other reason than plot convenience, because who else would even care about Skie in the first place.

    The reason it's a point of frustration isn't just because it's unresolved; it's literally a series of plotholes the writers dug and then threw themselves into at every opportunity.

    Quartz
  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 10,613
    Ignoring plot and story points, as these are totally subjective, I would add that SOD feels like a fusion of Icewind Dale and BG. The story and characters very much keep the feel of the series (if leaning more toward 2 than 1) while the encounter designs and enemies have a very icewind dale feel to them. SOD has some of the best combat int he series, due to improved ai and difficulty that adds tactics and more varied enemies, rather than just bigger stats.

    Quartz
  • FardragonFardragon Member Posts: 4,511
    edited November 2016
    sterner said:

    Greetings. I'm thinking about buying BG:EE and Siege of Dragonspear on GOG, but reviews for the latter are quite disheartening, to say at least. There are 10 pages of 1-star reviews in row. So I got questions:

    1) How bad is the bug situation by now? I don't think I can handle Fallout 2 level of bugs like I did when I was teen.

    2) Can someone point me in most possible non-spoilerish way to what exactly made "anti-SJW" crowd that mad?

    3) How similar it is to original BG games in atmosphere and gameplay? I only played vanilla BG and mostly remember it being cheesy high-fantasy fare with plot which didn't really went anywhere until the very final part of the game. And honestly I liked it as it was, in its shameless DnD charm and endless green fields. But how can you make plot worse than that, really?

    1) The bugs are few. Even when it was released it was a lot less buggy than anything Obsidian has put out.

    2) A woman writing instead of ironing and cooking dinner. (Without the facetiousness, SoD just happened to be a convinent target for anger against liberal values among game developers. Of course, the truth is liberal values are a consequence of being well educated, and you need to be well educated in order to be a game developer).

    3) It's a bit more sophisticated, without a lot of the dumb jokes that were in the original. If you like the dumb jokes I suggest you try Knights of Pen and Paper 2.

    4) Ignore me and everyone else and make up your own mind. It costs less than lunch at the pub.

    Post edited by Fardragon on
    killerrabbitThacoBell
  • megamike15megamike15 Member Posts: 2,199
    thr reviews also suffer from what i call "new vegas syndrome.'. this is where the game was buggy at launch but has sense been patched and is much more stable making the reviews out of date.

    Quartz
  • KuronaKurona Member Posts: 881
    SoD has been really overshadowed by its controversy so a lot of reviews are utterly worthless. Any 0/10, 1/10, 9/10 or 10/10 is almost guaranteed to be either some rant about "SWJ propaganda" and women ruining everything or a blind glowing praise made to counteract the former.

    The only thing I can tell you @sterner is that judging by your op you seem to have really enjoyed the aimless wandering that BG1 provides. SoD is a military campaign with rather well-defined objectives. It's much closer to Throne of Bhaal than to BG1: linear and when you leave an area, you often can't go back to it. NPCs can also complain if they feel you're wasting time exploring things. It's not enforced by gameplay, but it can make you feel pressured to some extent.

    gorgonzolakillerrabbitQuartz
  • CalemyrCalemyr Member Posts: 215
    edited November 2016
    If you want a numerical rating for it, I'd probably give it a 6/10 for objective quality and an 8/10 for nostalgic quality. The game is, stripping off the rose-tinted glasses for a moment, better than average. It's solid (after some patches) and interesting, with a number of touches that keep you glued until the end. It has many flaws, particularly in its pacing and its characterization of new characters, primarily near the end of the game. (Note that the new party members, on the other hand, are quite exceptional.) Worst of all is that it's kind of a shaggy dog story - 95% of the story doesn't mean anything at all to trilogy as a whole, though this could be remedied by adding content to BG2EE. On the side of nostalgia, however, it's also a blessed opportunity to hang out with some old BG favorites, particularly Dynaheir and Khalid who didn't make it into BG2 and therefore never got more than the basic characterization before.

    The best I can say about the game is that it felt like meeting up with old college buddies after a few years. Suddenly it's like no time has passed at all, but you find yourself amazed how things have changed. Getting the band back together to voice these guys (when they could) was a coup and a number of them even provided excellent player voice options, such as Jim Cummings (Minsc) providing a boisterous good-natured brute and Melissa Disney (Imoen) providing a sassy, no-nonsense adventurer. I don't usually play female Scions, but Disney's voiceset is easily excuse enough. They even convinced David Warner (Irenicus) to provide a voiceset and, though it comes off as "Irenicus Lite", still has to be my favorite male voiceset since Icewind Dale's Warrior 5. ("Excuse me, I'm just going to look for some of my blood... Oh, look! There's some!")

    The worst I can say about the game is that the plot, being linear and having a rather disappointing climax, doesn't tempt me to play through it again, and I've replayed Throne of Bhaal a few times. I will replay the game again once it hits Android (as that's my preferred platform for this kind of game), but, while I'm bound to my computer, it just isn't intriguing enough to pull me away from other, more interesting games like Final Fantasy XIV, Skyrim, Fallout 4, and Dark Souls 3.

    But, even after all the crap I talk about it, I know I'll be buying the game for a second time when it hits Android. That should probably say something about the game. Or me.

    QuartzArcanis
  • rapsam2003rapsam2003 Member Posts: 1,636
    Tresset said:

    @rapsam2003 There are some extremely subtle references to BG2 that have always been in BG1.

    Charming Centeol and talking to her in the original would make her talk about "Jon Icarus". Though the name was later changed to Jon Irenicus she was indeed referring to one and the same person. The journal would even be updated saying that this information seemed useless now, but maybe would come in handy in a "sequel".

    There is also Lord Foreshadow who always spoke of Neverwinter and Athkatla. You had no way of knowing at the time, but he was hinting at both NWN and BG2 as is obvious if you pay attention to his dialog carefully.

    Those are 4th Wall hints; they're not story hooks.
    Fardragon said:

    Of course, the truth is liberal values are a consequence of being well educated, and you need to be well educated in order to be a game developer

    lolwut

    I guess guys like Ben Carson (you know, one of the premier neurosurgeons of the world) are uneducated because they're conservative. Comments like this are incredibly silly.

    Quartz
  • shawneshawne Member Posts: 3,239

    I guess guys like Ben Carson (you know, one of the premier neurosurgeons of the world) are uneducated because they're conservative. Comments like this are incredibly silly.

    Ben Carson believes the Egyptian pyramids were grain silos. 16 INT, 3 WIS.

    killerrabbitVbibbi[Deleted User]
  • CalemyrCalemyr Member Posts: 215
    edited November 2016
    Some snide comments on political gaffs and the state of higher education...

    Meh. Politics are never a good idea for message board discussions. There are rabid extremists on both ends, and a neutral position is fodder for both.

    Post edited by Calemyr on
    RavenslightThacoBell
  • FardragonFardragon Member Posts: 4,511
    edited November 2016



    I guess guys like Ben Carson (you know, one of the premier neurosurgeons of the world) are uneducated because they're conservative. Comments like this are incredibly silly.

    I've taught A Level Physics to many students who have gone on to become doctors. It doesn't require much intellect, or education in any broad sense. Just the ability to memorise a stack of standard answers. A narrow focus helps.

    I've seen Carson on TV, he struggles to string a coherent sentence together, let alone say anything that makes sense.

    Anyway, here in the UK, even the conservatives are socially liberal (see: David Cameron).

    killerrabbit
  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] Posts: 0
    edited November 2016
    The user and all related content has been deleted.

  • CalemyrCalemyr Member Posts: 215
    This is D&D, amigo. Death is cheap, and crypts charge adventurers by the hour.

    Yes, sadly they didn't set up hooks in the game save that told you about the Scion's decisions in BG1. The closest they have is "Do you have any of Drizzt's gear? You must have killed the guy, then.", which is a shame. In fairness, they never expected Baldur's Gate to do well enough to deserve demand a sequel. Remember, this was from the old days, where people created experimental games without having a franchise mapped out before development.

    Black Isle tried very hard to find a way to make a story that worked without access to your BG1 decisions, with fan favorites being given preferential treatment. In the end they told a very big, very complex story, that was in many ways more about the party than about the world they adventure in. It wasn't perfectly written, but I feel it was well written and is still one of the most variable and entertaining games I've seen.

    ThacoBell
  • killerrabbitkillerrabbit Member Posts: 402
    1. Very few bugs left. The new UI is annoying bu if you aren't familiar with the old UI you won't notice the change.

    2. Their own prejudices. Full stop.

    3. It's an expansion. The story is good -- the epilogue is great, ignore claims to the contrary. Unfortunately, the game is entirely linear and lacks replay value so you'll be lucky to get 2 or 3 games out of it. Still, more bang for the buck than any of the Captain America movies so go for it.

    Quartz
  • sternersterner Member Posts: 3
    edited November 2016
    Wow, it sparked some discussion. So far I bought BG:EE and peeked at menus and starting area a bit. I can tell I'm rather impressed with overall improvements. Original BG has somewhat shoddy feel to it on modern computers, giving an impression it may show you blue screen of death if you click somewhere wrong. When I did my original playthrough, against my better judgement, I went for purist run without injecting game to BG2 engine. As the result, the game culminated with final boss battle crashing like 20 times in a row. This version has much more solid feel. I'm pleased with the interface overall. Quite a lot of tweaks but most of the original options are still there, I guess - my favorite nerd option to display the dice rolls is still here. The "MMO-style" journal I was hearing about is ok for me either. Even character sprites are somehow improved, now seem to be a bit better detailed, with nice black outlines to make them stand out better from background. And there seems to be some kind of bonus gauntlet scenario which I don't remember being mentioned on store page.

    Overall I'm pleased with the purchase so far. If I don't encounter something gamebreaking I will probably eventually pick up the rest of infinity engine collection. As for SoD - I found podcast with Chris Avellone discussing it. Well if Chris thinks it's worth discussing I guess nothing wrong with playthrough, even if some characters are written heavy-handedly. There wasn't a proper DnD game like for 8 years anyway.

    You know, maybe you should try nudging GOG into changing how its reviews work, so it wouldn't display the aftermath of people from Codex bombing the reviews no matter how much you update the game.

    Post edited by sterner on
    TressetJuliusBorisovGallowglass
  • TressetTresset Member, Moderator Posts: 7,835
    Back on topic people!

    @sterner Sorry about the arguments that are going on here; I think you just hit on a sore subject for some people. I am glad you are enjoying the game so far!

    JuliusBorisovNimranGallowglass
  • batoorbatoor Member Posts: 677
    edited November 2016
    Some sort of references to SoD in BG2 are actually important. Exactly how ''much'' I couldn't say, but as of right now there's very little to even indicate SoD even happened. And Caelars crusade is too big an event for that to not have been heard of in Amn. I mean you had Waterdeep, Daggerford and Baldur's Gate involved. It's not an isolated event by any means.

    Even more so for first time players who might end up buying the the entire package. They don't know the circumstances surrounding SoDs development or they don't care and not everyone visits forums or looks behind the scenes. I imagine they would be genuinely confused as to why there is no mention of SoD in BG2 at all.

    And SoD will be considered part of the main canon now for the foreseeable future. So there's no pretending it didn't happen.

    So if things are left as they are now, case closed..Well that will become a problem imo.

  • caves_of_steelcaves_of_steel Member Posts: 2

    1) multiplayer is still unsable as f*** but than again single player is all right

    2) eh well minsc i guess but they got rid of the line. though i thought the people rioting against some of the "sjw" stuff did it for other reasons . the trans character e.g. had no story whatsoever exept "well i'm but a humble merchant npc - yes the kind that never talks - and btw: i was born the wrong sex and feel differently all right? " i think that was just poorly done i have no problem with their beeing a trans char arround.
    other example in my books would be safana but here again i think the problem is in the execution of the idea of havin a quasi-feminist char: had they picked shar-teel for the role i would have aplauded but i dont think it works with safana, since she was - if nothing else- a femme fatale

    3) gameplaywise you cant do much wrong it is infinity engine after all.
    plotwise : if you liked the bg1 plot for not goeing anywhere there are two opions: you will hate sod or you will love it.
    The plot in my opinion also only in the end gets anywhere but you cant just wander of and ignore it for the time beeing it is kinda linear

    Quartz
This discussion has been closed.