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bati
Member
(07-02-2017, 12:48 PM)
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Where to start? I've played and finished BG2 a few times since it was released in 2000, but always felt some resentment towards the AD&D ruleset it comes packaged with. It's pretty complicated at first glance and has the added bonus of featuring an absolutely insane lineup of abilities and spells - most of which made their way into the game where their main function is to overwhelm the new players with information overload and at the same time provide a staggering array of tactical options to experienced players. Now, while I didn't develop a real appreciation for this wonderfully complex system until recently, I've always loved the other parts of the game, and as I was going through my last campaign it really hit me how unleashed the game really is.

Where modern rpgs often feel overdesigned, with carefully curated progression and difficulty, BG2 feels like you've been thrown in the deep end of the pool. After a short prologue you start out in the biggest city in the game, with access to many quests, many areas and most importantly, access to varying degrees of difficulty. There are hints sprinkled around as you enter hard areas, but for the most part it's up to the player to decide if they can tackle the area or not. Party composition and gear play a huge role in this and some smart preparation and use of consumables can easily turn the tide of seemingly impossible battles. There are so many instances of hard counters in this game, situations that can be easily resolved with the use a of spell that you forgot you even memorized - but the pendulum swings both ways and just as as you easily dispatch your enemies with a flick with a wrist so can the enemy do to you if you don't take the appropriate countermeasures. The real beauty of this system lies in the non-linear nature of the first half of the game. Chapter 2 is probably the best story act of any rpg I've ever played - mostly because it's a giant collection of interesting side quests.

Which brings me to my next point - side quests. There's very little filler here. Most are pretty lengthy and involved, having you trek across different locations, solve (not so simple) puzzles, collect interesting items and fight foes (and what a diverse lineup it is!) of varying power. There are many twists and surprises along the way and what may start out as a kobold or slaver hunt could easily turn into a battle against a lich. The stories and npcs involved, while part of a typical fantasy setting, are competently written and leave a lasting impression - even minor characters are worth remembering. My favorite thing about the side quests in BG2 however is the motivation for doing them - it starts out with a nice tie-in to the main quest where you're tasked with collecting resources so you can buy the help of a shadowy group, and continues when you realize your party could really use those few pricey items you spotted in Adventurer's Mart (*cough* Robe of Vecna *cough) or you find yourself tangled in a situation that caught you off guard because you stuck your nose where you weren't supposed to. Your party members each come with their own quest and because they are a decent bunch you'll probably want to help them out.

Main quest is surprisingly intimate, which is fascinating when one considers the gigantic scope of the game, and features an enigmatic villain with real motivations for his actions. Again, considering how painfully typical this fantasy setting is, the writing is anything but.

This extends to companions who come in all shapes and sizes, with different levels of combat usefulness, alignments, class kits, interesting backstories, quests and relationships that might cause clashes within the party further down the line, if not kept in check. In truth, these things might make putting a party together a little painful for new players because there are quite a few things (like story triggers) that can really blindside if you're not prepared for them, but at the same time it offers a lot of options for interesting party compositions and interactions within them as different personalities find themselves facing various situations together. Each companion also feels like a real person, with realistic motivations (again, fascinating considering the setting) and morals, and they will not hesitate to show you their disapproval if it comes to it.

And now to my favorite part - the loot! This is one of those things that unfortunately keeps letting me down in newer RPGs - even games like Pillars of Eternity, made by seasoned rpg developers, fumbled in this area, not to mention Witcher 3 and it's painful attempt at trying to scale loot, or how they managed to make 99% of loot obsolete with the introduction of witcher sets - but I digress. Games like Dragon Age with its marginal incremental upgrades on gear are not much better, and neither are the Elder Scrolls games - what good is a daedric artifact if it's mechanically identical to any other enchanted item and does some pitiful extra elemental damage on each attack? No, Baldur's Gate will have none of that. This is the RPG if you're looking for interesting loot and actual artifacts. First of all, their acquisition is often tied to memorable quests or encounters - chances are that if you want a particularly powerful weapon you'll probably have to kill a dragon for it, or at the very least a very powerful mage or a lich. There are some notable exceptions of course (*cough* Robe of Vecna *cough*) but for the most part this game does an excellent job with matching the quality of the loot with the difficulty of the task. Second, due to the nature of the round based RTwP system, some mechanics of these items make them far stronger than they sound on paper. Celestial Fury is one such example. Or how about that Mace of Disruption +2? Sounds like your typical weapon that's decent at fighting undead, right? Well, yes, but also WRONG! How about killing one of the strongest liches in the game with a single swing of this bad boy - provided the dice like you, of course? Or wearing an amulet that makes you immune to most spells? Or a sword that dispells magic effects on the enemy with each swing? And it doesn't end there. At some point you will WANT stronger weapons because there will be enemies that will be completely immune to weapons that are not at least +4, or don't have the correct damage type. All these things make collecting artifacts a joy, and putting them to use an even greater joy (seriously, you have not lived until you've seen your fighter solo a horde of vampires while laughing at their pitiful attempts at energy drain).

And it goes on and on. I could write a few more paragraphs about the wonderful soundtrack by Inon Zur, or the beautifully drawn location backgrounds and sprites (which, along with spell effects, still hold up today), the sheer scope of the saga and the sense of adventure it conveys. It's a really incredible journey that has you start from nothing and ascend to godhood in the end - no other rpg I've played has managed to match this.
El Topo
Member
(07-02-2017, 12:50 PM)
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Still the king.
Rad-
Sauna? Penis.
Doorknob? Penis.
School? Penis.
Date night? Penis.
(07-02-2017, 12:54 PM)
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Best game of all time. I think it has aged pretty well too, partly because the backgrounds are hand drawn. I can still start a new playthrough and not be bothered by anything that could feel "old design" by now.
No Love
Banned
(07-02-2017, 12:54 PM)
What do you mean? It's still the best RPG ever made. Hands down.
Anoxida
Member
(07-02-2017, 12:55 PM)
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Agreed. Nothing tops Chapter 2 of BG2. Not any game, regardless of genre. And I agree with loot. It's amazing to me that no game can get that part right. The best part of BG2 is that at the end of the game you feel like a damn god, but early-mid game is actually very challenging, especially for new players. I wish more devs did loot like BG2 did, don't be afraid of letting people get OP, it's fun.
DiipuSurotu
Banned
(07-02-2017, 12:57 PM)
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As someone who doesn't play a lot of WRPGs (I did finish Baldur's Gate 1), I always thought 2 was a bit overwhelming. Maybe I'll give it another chance someday.
Rad-
Sauna? Penis.
Doorknob? Penis.
School? Penis.
Date night? Penis.
(07-02-2017, 12:58 PM)
Rad-'s Avatar

Originally Posted by DiipuSurotu

As someone who doesn't play a lot of WRPGs (I did finish Baldur's Gate 1), I always thought 2 was a bit overwhelming. Maybe I'll give it another chance someday.

Oh it is. But once you get over that it is glorious.
Hooks
Member
(07-02-2017, 01:00 PM)
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I'm yet to play it, ended up buying Age of Decadance instead
Nikodemos
Member
(07-02-2017, 01:00 PM)
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Budgeting, creativity, reasonable deadlines and competent project management intersected in a way that will never happen again.
Renekton
Member
(07-02-2017, 01:02 PM)
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https://youtu.be/DjWWuUDtSaE

Check out his BG retrospective, lots of great insight.
nynt9
Member
(07-02-2017, 01:03 PM)
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BG2 is pretty great, but AD&D hasn't aged well and the fact that late game becomes pretty tedious because of having to buff before every encounter hasn't either.
bati
Member
(07-02-2017, 01:04 PM)
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Originally Posted by Hooks

I'm yet to play it, ended up buying Age of Decadance instead

Solid pick.
vaibhavp
Member
(07-02-2017, 01:06 PM)
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its still the king. difficult to imagine any game topping it ever at this point.

i cried the day i finished it for first time after being absorbed and addicted for weeks.
Nikodemos
Member
(07-02-2017, 01:07 PM)
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Originally Posted by nynt9

BG2 is pretty great, but AD&D hasn't aged well and the fact that late game becomes pretty tedious because of having to buff before every encounter hasn't either.

AD&D 2nd Ed. is a bunch of tedious crap because it wasn't designed for superhigh levels like 25+.

That's not the game's fault.
Hoya Destroyer
Member
(07-02-2017, 01:08 PM)
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I havent played BG2 since about 2001, but I finished it close to 20 times. I never seemed to get bored of going through the game with different parties and classes.
I remember...

- Celestial Fury was amazing and always a must have for my party.

- I'd always steal that healing ring from Ribald.

- I'd always beat that super-Lich to death early in the game - clumsily with a +5 staff.

- Firkraag was an awesome fight.

- Trolling magic users with Viconia at 100% magic resistance.

- Irenicus' great voice actor.

- That boring druid was a garbage team member.
hidys
Member
(07-02-2017, 01:09 PM)
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Originally Posted by Nikodemos

Budgeting, creativity, reasonable deadlines and competent project management intersected in a way that will never happen again.

Curious about this stuff.

Any good articles/podcasts/videos on the development of Baldurs Gate 1/2?
sponk
Member
(07-02-2017, 01:09 PM)
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Today's RPGs will never come close to baldurs gate 2. Modern games are so complicated to make whereas baldurs gate 2 was much easier todo from a technical standpoint.

The developers had much more time to focus on the actual game content and boy, it shows.

It's hard to describe what makes bg2 so special. It's fantasy at its very very finest.
Mivey
Member
(07-02-2017, 01:10 PM)
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Originally Posted by nynt9

BG2 is pretty great, but AD&D hasn't aged well and the fact that late game becomes pretty tedious because of having to buff before every encounter hasn't either.

The games pretty much expect you to be quite fluent in the rules and metagame aspect of D&D. Under that assumption it's actually a rather easy game, since they are so many ways you can exploit the systems to you advantage. It's only the really high-level mage enemies that really test your mettle.
If you never heard of Thac0 before, well, it's probably gonna be a bit rough. This is still a game from a relatively novice team and they didn't put in a lot of considerations for novice players. The Enhanced Editions have a lot of options to make things easier, and even a "story mode", though even for people new to this kind of game, I would only recommend that as a last resort.

It's still incredible how Interplay allowed BioWare to make such a huge game. It was almost 2 years in development, right? (January 1999 to September 2000) Must have been an incredibly productive team.
LurkerPrime
Member
(07-02-2017, 01:11 PM)
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It's the classic with everything. I only really played it years later, and its excellence was obvious from the very beginning. The magic behind BG2 is especially clear when you play BG1--you see just how clearly Bioware zeroed in on what was good and what wasn't, and then improved on it in the best ways possible. Also, Minsc & Boo are god-tier party members--they have no equal.

The OP's observation about loot is something that has passed my my before: most RPGs get loot terribly wrong. I think it is borne from a desire to always make players feel more powerful--which makes ARPG-esque levelled loot an obvious choice--but robs said loot of its significance. No longer do you find a sword with a history--an artifact--but instead, a level 37 sword of flames, that will be replaced when you find a level 40 sword of flames (you get 4% more flames with this one!). Witcher 3 tried to have it both ways, but the only way artifact-tier items work is if they're uniquely powerful compared to anything else, which (and I wish I was exaggerating here) rendered the other 99.9% of Witcher loot moot.

I long for the return of artifact-, rather than level-based loot.
Zaru
Member
(07-02-2017, 01:15 PM)
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It baffles me that I played both Icewind Dales but never played BG2 past the first escape.
One day... but it's so LONG.
psychowave
Member
(07-02-2017, 01:20 PM)
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Alright, y'all made me pick this up on Steam.
Nikodemos
Member
(07-02-2017, 01:21 PM)
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Originally Posted by LurkerPrime

The magic behind BG2 is especially clear when you play BG1--you see just how clearly Bioware zeroed in on what was good and what wasn't, and then improved on it in the best ways possible.

That being said, however, I think one area where Black Isle have overcomplicated the system is weapon specialisation. In BG1 you had general specialisations: large sword, small sword, blunt weapons, crushing weapons etc. In BG2 you have individual weapon specialisations (flail, mace, morning star, club etc.), and if you start as a complete newbie you have no idea what good weapons you'll encounter at what intervals in the game, potentially causing you to make suboptimal choices regarding your points. And this was before the idea of respec was even a glimmer in somebody's synapse.
dude
dude
(07-02-2017, 01:21 PM)
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Still the GOAT.

Though if the scale of the jump from PoE1 to PoE2 will be anywhere close to BG1 > BG2, it might finally be dethroned soon.
No Love
Banned
(07-02-2017, 01:31 PM)

Originally Posted by Zaru

It baffles me that I played both Icewind Dales but never played BG2 past the first escape.
One day... but it's so LONG.

Both Icewind Dale's aren't even a 1/10th as good as BG2. Icewind Dale is the Dynasty Warriors of ADND games. BG2 is required RPG playing. If you want to see a game that shits on Mass Effect and Dragon Age from a great height and shows Bioware at their absolute peak (they were also cranking out MDK2 as a side project, no big deal), then you have to set everything else aside completely and go balls deep into this game. If you ever checked the "RPG" box on any gaming related survey, this game should auto-install itself have your hard drive so you don't miss out.

BG2 is the ultimate RPG. Everything else, even the best of the best, is still just an attempt to reach the same heights. Fallout 1 and 2, Planescape: Torment, maybe some Obsidian stuff and a few others are great games in their own right, but I'd wager that most people that have gone deep enough into BG2 would put the crown on (old) Bioware's masterpiece.

It might sound like hyperbole but just find out for yourself.
Arttemis
Member
(07-02-2017, 01:37 PM)
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Originally Posted by dude

Still the GOAT.

Though if the scale of the jump from PoE1 to PoE2 will be anywhere close to BG1 > BG2, it might finally be dethroned soon.

Haven't played PoE, but I only hope that a game comes out to surpass the shear overwhelming perfection of BG2.
LurkerPrime
Member
(07-02-2017, 01:40 PM)
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Originally Posted by Nikodemos

That being said, however, I think one area where Black Isle have overcomplicated the system is weapon specialisation. In BG1 you had general specialisations: large sword, small sword, blunt weapons, crushing weapons etc. In BG2 you have individual weapon specialisations (flail, mace, morning star, club etc.), and if you start as a complete newbie you have no idea what good weapons you'll encounter at what intervals in the game, potentially causing you to make suboptimal choices regarding your points. And this was before the idea of respec was even a glimmer in somebody's synapse.

The whole game is overcomplicated, which is part of why it works, I think. If you go down the road of streamlining, you would end up axing most of the game's systems; the magic system, whole weird XP web, multi-classing, dual-classing, the multitude of races and classes, alignment, spells (divine vs. arcane, innate, plus the sheer amount), status effects, the whole Pandora's box of the PC starting above level 1 and being a direct sequel to BG1, the myriad of companions, items, and equipment, the mere concept of balanced parties. It's all waaay too much, and any other game would've stopped after the first few. But Bioware, in their genius, made it work.

Baldur's Gate isn't about optimal builds--it's about adventuring. (Although I admit, part of my fun playing it is planning everything around getting that one cool artifact weapon, and planning out my party and stuff.)
StereoVsn
Member
(07-02-2017, 01:42 PM)
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Originally Posted by nynt9

BG2 is pretty great, but AD&D hasn't aged well and the fact that late game becomes pretty tedious because of having to buff before every encounter hasn't either.

There are items, spells, and mods that help with this. It ages fine if you take care and time and really only have to fully buff for specific encounters.

BG2 is still perhaps the best CRPG of all times and with EE and updated mods one can modify it to your liking as well. It is really in the required to play list of anyone who loves CRPGs.
Haganeren
Member
(07-02-2017, 01:50 PM)
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I could never enter the first one... The magic system still elude me to this day.
... Magic to talk to the animal ? And you can only have a certain number of magic with you at a certain time ? And you have to rest ? And where is absolutely everything, what is this interface ?

Seriously, i have less difficulty to play Ultima II or Might & Magic than that. I just can't understand that serie at all.
Ushay
Member
(07-02-2017, 01:52 PM)
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Easily one of the all time greats.

I'll never forget that Firkraag fight. I had to cheese it so hard with fireball scrolls from outside his range haha.

The companions were also some of the best ever, I loved how some of them were flat out incompatible with each other. Bioware have never done this again.
ilium
Member
(07-02-2017, 01:56 PM)
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Still the pinnacle of RPGs and likely never to be topped.
Zaru
Member
(07-02-2017, 01:58 PM)
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Originally Posted by No Love

Both Icewind Dale's aren't even a 1/10th as good as BG2. Icewind Dale is the Dynasty Warriors of ADND games. BG2 is required RPG playing. If you want to see a game that shits on Mass Effect and Dragon Age from a great height and shows Bioware at their absolute peak (they were also cranking out MDK2 as a side project, no big deal), then you have to set everything else aside completely and go balls deep into this game. If you ever checked the "RPG" box on any gaming related survey, this game should auto-install itself have your hard drive so you don't miss out.

BG2 is the ultimate RPG. Everything else, even the best of the best, is still just an attempt to reach the same heights. Fallout 1 and 2, Planescape: Torment, maybe some Obsidian stuff and a few others are great games in their own right, but I'd wager that most people that have gone deep enough into BG2 would put the crown on (old) Bioware's masterpiece.

It might sound like hyperbole but just find out for yourself.

Now that I remembered also playing all of Neverwinter Nights 1+2, I'm feeling even weirder about skipping BG2.
bati
Member
(07-02-2017, 02:01 PM)
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Originally Posted by dude

Still the GOAT.

Though if the scale of the jump from PoE1 to PoE2 will be anywhere close to BG1 > BG2, it might finally be dethroned soon.

Fingers crossed. I actually had BG1 on my mind as I played PoE, the two games are pretty similar in how they felt, somewhat constrained scope wise, but also similarly structured. This was before White March though, which then added some much needed width to PoE. And I like what they've done with legendary tier loot in the expansions (while conveniently sidestepping the proficiency issue at the same time) so I'm hoping that trend will continue in PoE2 and maybe shift even further to where BG is/was.
giapel
Member
(07-02-2017, 02:02 PM)
One of? It IS the best. Ever. They don't even try to make them like that any more.
Phediuk
Micro-Member
(07-02-2017, 02:03 PM)
If there's a better RPG, I haven't played it.
Mangoverboard
Banned
(07-02-2017, 02:04 PM)
What's the best way to play this now?
bati
Member
(07-02-2017, 02:05 PM)
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Originally Posted by Mangoverboard

What's the best way to play this now?

Enhanced Edition is great out of the box, no further tinkering is necessary.
Fantastapotamus
Wrong about commas, wrong about everything
(07-02-2017, 02:10 PM)
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It is an always will be.
StereoVsn
Member
(07-02-2017, 02:13 PM)
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Originally Posted by bati

Fingers crossed. I actually had BG1 on my mind as I played PoE, the two games are pretty similar in how they felt, somewhat constrained scope wise, but also similarly structured. This was before White March though, which then added some much needed width to PoE. And I like what they've done with legendary tier loot in the expansions (while conveniently sidestepping the proficiency issue at the same time) so I'm hoping that trend will continue in PoE2 and maybe shift even further to where BG is/was.

PoE2 is thankfully restructuring loot across the board and there is an in depth Kickstarter update on that topic. I am also hopeful PoE 1 to PoE 2 will be a similar jump in quality as BG1 to BG2. PoE unfortunately had a messy and uninteresting magic system and plain bad loot system but expansion did correct some of that.
Zabojnik
No, the other west!
(07-02-2017, 02:16 PM)
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Originally Posted by Mangoverboard

What's the best way to play this now?

Yeah, still the GOAT.

I very much doubt that PoE2 will dethrone it, however I do expect a similar jump in quality as BG1 -> BG2, which means it could still end up being one of the all-time greats.
Sesuadra
Member
(07-02-2017, 02:18 PM)
how's the iOS version?
Jay Sosa
Member
(07-02-2017, 02:21 PM)
Great game, insane lore and detail but the pure gameplay, mainly the battle mechanics are highly frustrating, especially in narrow dungeons.

But that seems to be somewhat of a tradition in WRPGs, I think the only one that's really fun in that regard is Diablo.. and that's more of an action game..

bonus: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=93XFxKXdbqY
ksamedi
Member
(07-02-2017, 02:35 PM)
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Agreed OP. My favorite part of the game is the rewarding nature of finishing hard quests and getting a good loot reward for it. The game rewards exploration and skill. The world, quests and characters are very varied and very well put together. Rpg devs should study this game as it is a staple of the genre, just like botw is for action advanture games. Its a pitty no rpg has ever come close since.
CHC
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(07-02-2017, 02:39 PM)
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Originally Posted by StereoVsn

PoE2 is thankfully restructuring loot across the board and there is an in depth Kickstarter update on that topic. I am also hopeful PoE 1 to PoE 2 will be a similar jump in quality as BG1 to BG2. PoE unfortunately had a messy and uninteresting magic system and plain bad loot system but expansion did correct some of that.

Never finished Pillars but I probably will if the sequel is amazing. It's always hard with nostalgia projects that invite comparisons to older and potentially better games - if they aren't just totallly amazing, at some point to you just decide to replay the game that it's referencing rather than finish the new one. That's what happened to me, was just like "I'd rather go play BG2 again."

But then again, the BG1 - BG2 leap was pretty amazing so hopefully it can be the same kind of thing again.
EVOL 100%
Member
(07-02-2017, 02:43 PM)
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It's the best WRPG of all time and I'll fight with anybody who disagrees. I can respect Planescape stans though

PoE was a brave attempt, but it lacked some of the pulpy schlock that actually gave a lot of character to BG2. I hope PoE2 does better
Renekton
Member
(07-02-2017, 02:52 PM)
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Quick question.

Any of you grew up on CRPGs from 80s to mid 90s?

Or is your RPG prime mainly in the late 90s to early 2000s?
Haganeren
Member
(07-02-2017, 03:06 PM)
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Originally Posted by Renekton

Quick question.

Any of you grew up on CRPGs from 80s to mid 90s?

Or is your RPG prime mainly in the late 90s to early 2000s?

I grew up with W RPG i couldn't understand on Macintosh and then it was Faery Tales Adventure 2 mainly. (I suppose Little Big Adventure doesn't count as a C-RPG in any way)

But since then i played mostly J RPG... Right now i'm trying to return to C-RPG, i love some of the expereince i played. (Like System Shock 1 et 2) found other interesting (like Elder Scroll Arena or Ultima 1) but as i said earlier, there is still some W-RPG i can't seems to enter no matter what i do... (Baldur's Gate is the prime exemple)
MisterShine
Member
(07-02-2017, 03:06 PM)
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Originally Posted by Renekton

Quick question.

Any of you grew up on CRPGs from 80s to mid 90s?

Or is your RPG prime mainly in the late 90s to early 2000s?

I played a lot of early-mid 90's RPGs when I was a kid (my dad bought me lots of them for PC), but Baldur's Gate is really what started my love of video games. Going back past 1995~ish is more interesting to me than it is actually fun or engaging.

Originally Posted by Sesuadra

how's the iOS version?

If you're playing on an iPad, honestly it is superb. The UI works excellently. For phones it is simply too small with all the reading/dialog selecting.
Berzerkiymc
Junior Member
(07-02-2017, 03:07 PM)
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How does Divinity Original Sin compare? played it a bit but never completed. pondering if to pick this up.
Memnoch
Member
(07-02-2017, 03:08 PM)
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Jeeeesh after that monologue OP I had to fire up the game and get started yet again! Thank you!
Taruranto
<3 BioWare <3
(07-02-2017, 03:14 PM)
Yes, it is.

I pretty much replay it every year and every time I'm amazed.

Most modern RPG devs should be forced to play it at least once. Maybe then they'll understand concepts like itemization and encounter design.

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