Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn


Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn review
BG II : The Classic RPG

The good:

+ Indepth Storyline
+ Non-linear campaign
+ Classic RPG Graphics
+ True AD&D System
+ Variety of Playing Options
+ Replayability
+ Voice Acting and Music Score

The bad:

- Nothing


The excellence that is Black Isle studios has created a masterpiece of RPG gaming in Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn.

Gameplay: The game itself, like its predecessor, remains true to the AD&D core rules and creates a real time, graphically vivid version of the timeless RPG system. In the game you take control of a primary character, the story's protagonist, and a party of adventurers. You control your party from a birds eye perspective that allows masterful control of your party during the intense battle sequences. The game also brings with it a heavy influence from the personality and story side of AD&D. In BGII you must navigate the game with charisma as you make friends and enemies. The nature of your play will decide how the world around you reacts and treats you in future. Whether you choose to be and evil assassin who is feared by all, or a noble paladin loved by the people, or one of an infinite amount of other options, Baldurs Gate offers various paths to follow as you create your own story in the world of Baldur's Gate.

Graphics: BGII has classic RPG graphics, that while basic are also stunning. Simple character models remain realistic while the textures and environments of the world around you are visually stunning and make you wish you could visit with a camera.

Plot: BGII follows on from the original Baldurs Gate as the protagonist travels through the land of Amn and is set upon by unknown assailants. You then awake in a dungeon as a prisoner of a man named Jon Irenicus. You escape the prison but your friend Imoen is taken with Irenicus. What follows is a story of your own making. You can choose to chase Irenicus and free Imoen hell for leather no matter the cost, or you can simply explore the land of Amn and its many riches while making yourself the most powerful being in the world...and then maybe save Imoen...

The story is in your hands...

Online: The game supports online co-operative play and this is a really fun way to explore the game. It allows you and some friends to build you own characters alongside each other as you all make choices to decide the path you will take.

Easter Eggs: The game contains many hints and references to previous games and other Forgotten Realms lore in its dialogue and story. Spoiling them here would ruin part of the fun and humour of the game.

Audio: The game has a powerful and beautiful music score and solid sounds effects. The music is enriched with power as you travel the world while remaining darkly beautiful to reflect the atmosphere of the land and your situation.

The great strength of the games audio lies in the voice acting. It is clear the Black Isle got the best professionals they could for the job because every dialogue and every battle cry is realistic and believable, which is all you can ask for in a game.

Controls: The controls of the game can be quite difficult to learn at first. However once mastered they make the game so simple and so easy to control that you are glad they are designed the way they are.

Movement is controlled by a simple point and click. Interacting, such as attacking and talking, is also under the same system.

It is in the hotkeys where the controls can become more complex. Almost every action in the game is, or can be, hotkeyed. As such it can take a while to learn where everything is and what each keyboard button does. However, once mastered the controls are so simple and infinitely effective.

Repetition: Due to the variety in what you can do and how you progress through the game, BGII is really infinitely replayable. You can finish the game 100 times in 100 different ways and there will still be so many more that you could never possibly achieve them all.

Lasting Value: This game is a timeless classic and although graphics and the AD&D rules may go out of date at some point, the rich storyline and lore and the options of replaying give this game a lasting value of eternity.

Tying Into a Series: The game ties in with BGI and also leads into the BGII expansion, Throne of Bhaal. All the games form a wonderful storyline together that draws on much of the lore of the Forgotten Realms and AD&D. It can be quite rewarding to play through the series with one character and watch him/her progress as he/she develops relationships that last through the entirety of the series.

Summary: In summary this game is well worth a shout for anyone, even those who aren't necessarily RPG fanatics. I would recommend playing the whole series in order with one character as it is incredibly rewarding; and by today you should be able to get all the games together for very cheap.

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