I think I finally understand why people play through Baldur’s Gate multiple times. When the game initially came out in 1999 I played it, but at that time my hardware was such that it was pretty painful (oh those load times), and I never finished it. When I got it off GOG.com and modded it, I did finish it, and part of my hesitation for buying the Enhanced Edition was I wasn’t sure if it was going to be that fun again. Having just finished BG1:EE, I can safely say that yes, going back through it again is indeed very enjoyable.
A lot of that is the content itself, as it’s fantastic and has held up amazingly well. What jumped out to me this time around is how flexible the game is. While it does have a main quest line that you must complete, it doesn’t dominate the game, and often you can elect when to move it along in between everything else. All of the side content is optional, and while you need to complete some of it to gain experience and items, WHAT you complete and when is totally up to you. What class your main character is, and how you build your party, also changes things more than in most games of this sort.
In short, BG1 is a sandbox RPG, but it’s not the open and sometimes almost pointless ‘sandbox’ of a title like Skyrim. In Skyrim you have entire sections of the game that never even comes close to touching the main storyline, and you also have a lot of ‘stuff’ that is almost completely outside the general events happening. In BG1, even the side stuff generally connects to the main plot, so you always feel like you are working towards the ending, rather than just running side quests. Not sure if I explained that well, but hopefully you know what I’m getting at.
The above is how I’m now playing BG2:EE (yea, picked it up at full price, wallet vote and all that), and it’s just as enjoyable. I identified the party members I wanted to bring along this time, and a somewhat general order for content up to the point I’m most familiar with. So far, I’m loving it.
Couldn’t agree more. Also, after playing a lot of CRPGs where you generated a full party of characters, I think the Baldurs Gate games were the first I encountered that used the model of creating one character, and then adding companions to form a party. I thought that was absolutely genius, allowing you to focus on your one character, while the rest of the party had personalities and dialogue, while still giving you the fun RPG combat of controlling a full party.
Anyway that definitely gave it replayability – after finishing, I immediately wanted to play again with none of the same companions.
And in the case of BG2 in particular, it was a rather different game if you pushed to progress the main storyline as quickly as possible, and then replayed and tried to do absolutely every side adventure you possibly could.
Go for the eyes Boo, GO FOR THE EYES!! RrraaaAAGHGHH!!!
Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, watch it! I’m huge.
I agree with you on BG1 but my experience in BG2 was very different. Although I finished both (an extreme rarity with me and video games) I found BG2 claustrophobic and linear in comparison to the original. I was glad to finish it and never once thought about going back for a second look, whereas I took a couple more runs through BG (albeit not to the end) and would happily play it again.
That was my initial view on BG2 as well. Starting in the big city, vs eventually getting to it like BG1, was a shock. I also think starting in a dungeon like you do in BG2 gives off a strong linear feel right from the beginning (I’m also not huge on how ‘high tech’ the first area feels).
However, playing it again now I look more at the city areas as different areas vs one big city. I’m also focusing more on going quest to quest vs ‘finishing’ one area like I often did in BG1. So far its working.
Is the baldur’s gate i have on the ipad the same thing? I couldn’t get into it.
Yes, though I can’t see how that game would be playable/enjoyable on the iPad. I strongly suggest grabbing it for the PC when it’s on sale next time.