Baldur’s Gate 2: Enhanced Edition Review: They Didn’t Enhance Enough

Okay so in the interest of full disclosure I have never played Dungeons and Dragons before. I have also never played a Baldur’s Gate game. With that being said, playing Baldur’s Gate 2: Enhanced Edition makes absolutely no god damned sense. It’s pretty much an exercise in confusion and frustration.

Beginning a game by creating a character offers a ton of options with classes and aliments. Far too many options, I really have no idea why this game expects me to know a complex rule structure. I created a thief that seemed to be completely worthless so I went back and made different character. They also kept dying so I just went with a prefabricated one.

Baldur's Gate 2

The game starts with you imprisoned in a dungeon and being tortured. Why is this happening? Who are these other adventurers? Those are good questions of which I cannot provide the answer. If I had played the first game perhaps I would give a shit, but for someone who is going in blind, this is not a good beginning.

The combat is also a complete mess. I don’t know if this version is more difficult than the original but I was unaware that RPG’s featured character’s standing there and constantly missing attacks on an enemy. There are plenty of encounters that boiled down to clicking on an opponent and just watching everyone miss each other for what felt like minutes. Trying to look through the stats of your character doesn’t mean anything to if you’re not familiar with the rule set. Why does the armor number go down? What the fuck does THACO mean?

Also, how the hell does magic work? I eventually figured out resting gives you your spells back, but it took far too long. This is just another instance of the game assuming that the player is coming into the game with prior knowledge. Another small complaint, the start screen gives you three options and at first I jumped into the expansion because it was the center option. I then died from the first enemy a few times and had to look up what game I was playing. The writing is pretty good, though.

Baldur's Gate 2 3

As for the “Enhanced Edition” part, this is the same as anyone familiar with the first game’s rerelease. It cleans up the interface, ups the resolution, makes it run on modern computers, and adds paid DLC characters. It also includes the expansion Throne of Bhaal and a combat focused arena mode. The multiplayer is also cross-play and has a better interface for getting into a game.

I know that Baldur’s Gate 2 is an incredibly well-loved game. I get that. I love the original X-Com, but I understand that if some walked into that these days (even an updated version that was cleaned up) it would be very hard to enjoy. This is more of a warning to people that have no experience with Baldur’s Gate 2. If you have not played this before, perhaps you should check out the first one. Maybe importing a character and knowing the rules and world a bit would have alleviated many of my frustrations, but as it stands, I don’t see the appeal.

Baldur’s Gate 2: Enhanced Edition was developed by Overhaul Games and released November 15th for $24.99. It is being published by Atari. The original Baldur’s Gate 2 was developed by Bioware and is available through GOG for $9.99.

Final Breakdown

[+ Looks really nice] [+ Good writing] [- Assumes too much prior knowledge of the game, rules, and world] [- Combat is boring and confusing] 

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  • Anonymous

    How about you read the manual? Idiot

    • Anonymous

      You’ve been playing old school games since the VIC 20 and you’re surprise that some details are not explain to you… Hum… Remember something like the start of RPGs..Dragon Warrior…FF 1, Daggerfall, etc… ? Where u actually need to read the MANUAL…? But great, now we got Internet ! Yeah ! Google THAC0 now… [+ Looks really nice] [+ Good writing ] [+ COMBAT IF EVERYTHING EXCEPT BORING WHEN U UNDERSTAND THE DAMN SYSTEM] Have nice day.

  • moronradaralert

    seriously. read the goddamn manual. that’s the long and short of it. if you’re so “hardcore” and “old school” you should’ve known that.
    not to mention that Irenicus and Imoen explain within the first 5 minutes about what happened in candlekeep, the signifficance of your lineage, and the reason Irenicus is experimenting on you. did you seriously rage quit literally within the first 4 minutes? or are you just fucking dense?
    and how stupid do you have to be to see three items in a line, and think the center one comes first? left to right, moron, just like everything else in the English speaking world.
    Jesus Christ, maybe nest time they’ll get someone who’s not a lobotomite to write this “review”

  • -Guest-

    A wise Chinese man once said… READ THE FUCKING MANUAL!!

    Seriously!! they are available for free.. what do you know.. on the BG:EE main page!

    http://www.baldursgate.com/manuals.en.html

    If I as a child – without knowing much English at the time- was able to understand “How the hell does magic work” I’m sure you could have done better..

    “The writing is pretty good, though.” – The strong point of BG series is the story and you found it appropriate to only write 6 words about it… how professional

  • https://www.facebook.com/kevin.lee.5095 Sdzero

    What’s with all the hostile comments? He clearly disclosed that he never played a Baldur’s Gate game before at the very beginning of the review. There’s no need to berate the guy because the game isn’t accessible, due to bad conveyance. Nearly every game usually has some form of tutorials at the start, so I can see how he developed his opinion about how frustrating the game can be.

    • Scott

      He has no business reviewing a game he has no interest in learning how to play. I would never review MLB The Show or an NBA game, for instance, but if I did and I scored it very low with my primary gripe being “it’s really complicated and boring” then I’d damn well deserve the ire of those fans who DO know how to play it, and how special it really is.

    • Vulpis

      Which would be slightly plausible…if it weren’t that, as other posters have pointed out, there are manuals available that explain exactly the things he was whining about.

      And on top of that, I don’t necessarily consider ‘prior knowledge’ to be a bad thing, especially considering that this particular series was written for enthusiasts of the tabletop games which, again, have rather detailed (if hefty) manuals explaining just how the systems in the game work. This is much like complaining that Gran Turismo and similar games don’t provide a tutorial for all the tweaks and alterations you can make to your car. They weren’t written for Joe Semi-illiterate gamer that has to be led by the hand, they’re written for the enthusiasts looking for an electronic version of their favorite pasttime.

    • https://profiles.google.com/106631740836392613133 Davide Moriello

      It’s ok, but he define himself “hardcore” and old school. He should have read the manual before start playing like every old school RPG games.

    • Eleclipse

      All the, rightly, hostile coments come from the fact that this is a stupid review by someone who’s probably used to “games for dummies” and approached a complex (in a good way) game without reading the manual, wihouth bothering to understand anything (hell he didn’t even looked and the story of the first, which is like playing mass effect 2, don’t know the 1 and say “i don’t understand the story, it suck”; it’s worth nothing that at the start of the game there’s a viedeo explaining why you are here).

      Plus “i have played videogames since the comodore” and he didn’t read the manual knowing it an old game? It’s already strange that a truly “Old gamer” don’t know the game but this is just stupid.

      Long story short this review suck becouse the reviewer didn’t even try to understand the game, all of this review comment’s reeks of ignorance of the most basic mechanics, it’s like he tried to play football without knowing the rules and then got angry becouse his tennis ball don’t work well.

    • Yamilia Avendano

      Sdzero you’re my favorite.

    • Anonymous

      There is a tutorial at the start. There are pdf manuals that download with the game. This “reviewer” chose not to use it and then complains about it. Not only that, did didn’t compare any differences between the original BG:soa with the EE. He didn’t disclose how many more hours of game play were added with new quests and areas, and he only briefly mentioned the Black Pits. And then he has the audacity to say the original is released on GOG for cheaper. With this one review, this entire website lost all credibility.

    • Random Person

      The game has a massive manual called ADnD. If you want to understand the game’s rules, simply read about those rules. The reviewer is a complete dumbass. You can’t compare a classic to modern games.

      Seriously, this game is a Role-Players wet dream.

  • Muze

    “Assumes too much prior knowledge of the game, rules, and world”

    RTFM has been mentioned many times already so let me just add UM, it’s a SEQUEL…..

  • Gamer

    Dear reviewer.

    Let me just point out that you’re a moron.

    And here is a free advise: When you review videogames, you should always the read the manual or google some basic information online. It shouldn’t too hard for such a veteran of videogaming like yourself.

    Or just please stop wasting internet space with this kind of rubbish.

  • Purudaya

    Sorry author, but this isn’t Skyrim; the rules aren’t so simple that a two year old could understand them.

    Baldur’s Gate 2 is a game of intense strategy and tactics. If you didn’t know what THACO was or how Magic works, you obviously neither read the manual nor played the tutorial. If you found the game too hard at first, did you try going into settings and moving the difficulty slider to “easy?”

    You said that you didn’t know where you were at the start of the game or why you were there (that’s the point), but you could have found out enough of the backstory by (1) talking to the other characters or (2) clicking on the “Biography” section of your character sheet.

    All you need to enjoy this game is about 20 minutes of reading the rules or playing the tutorial. One of the most beloved RPGs of all time did not deserve to be rated “Poor” just because you weren’t willing to invest even a little bit into the learning curve.

    Given the content of this article, I’m going to guess that you gave up before leaving the opening dungeon. If that’s the case, you had nowhere near the sufficient information to review this game and should consider withdrawing your review for lack of research.

  • titus

    Hahaha what an utter retard. Ever heard of a manual, douche?

    Halp! I have no idea what I’m doing!!!

    How about you review games that you can actually play. Maybe start with that “massive game collection”.

  • Panzerscout

    Terrible, just terrible. This guy should be ashamed, he says that he is “playing” since Vic 20, but it looks to me like he played just a couple of CoDs, and then a quickie of Dragon Age II for the “RPG” expertise.

  • http://twitter.com/revanbh revanbh

    Why on God’s green Earth would you choose to review a game based on a tabletop ruleset you have no clue about? Why didn’t you give this review to someone with history in D&D and Infinity Engine games? Someone who could actually judge and evaluate finer points of game mechanics involved. Someone who was actually competent to do the game and the review justice.

    And yeah, this game requires you to pick up the manual and study it if you are new. I understand that is a curiosity in an age of instant “I win” button-mashers, but a guy who has been – supposedly – gaming since Commodore should expect that in a game. Slamming a title because of your inability and/or unwillingness to take the time and learn the ropes is rather unprofessional in a reviewer.

  • http://N/A Tony

    Got to be the worlds worst review ever. No experience of even D&D let alone played ANY Baldurs gate game and then he goes on to ‘review’ BG2? In this case full disclosure is not a good move. Having experience in what you are reviewing is essential. Not knowing this is the most basic mistake a ‘reviewer’ can make. Oh and by the way RTFM!!!!

  • Boo

    Dear Reviewer,
    Next time, please do NOT review games which are above your IQ.
    Thanks in advance.

  • Shi3umi

    Guys, let the game take the criticism.

    Baldur’s Gate 1+2 are the reason I play video games. I adore the series. But BG2 is super obtuse for new players. Even BG1 did a better job easing players into the world, the mechanics, and the player’s relationships (of course, it was way easier to do so in the first game, but still). And it sounds like BG2EE didn’t do much to make it easier on the newbies.

    If you’re a fan of RPGs and you’ve never played Baldur’s Gate before, the reviewer is right, you shouldn’t jump in headfirst with BG2, enhanced or otherwise. Go play BG1, and I’m sorry about the badly-integrated tutorial monks in Candlekeep.

    • BigGreenPig

      BG2EE has a tutorial… The reviewer can’t read.

  • H-dog

    I played Baldur’s Gate when I was fucking 10. And I had no problem grasping what THAC0 is or why AC goes down instead of up. It really isn’t that hard, unless you’re a moron who can’t and won’t read. jesus.

  • Macona

    Is this a real review or just a troll? o_O

    • https://profiles.google.com/111792440066282806109 Lazare Garssaint

      This review is troll review. It’s obvious.

      Of course, BG2 is not so easy when you have not played BG1. There are explanations in-game, there is manual. When I was a teenager, I played BG1 and BG2, in english language as it’s not my native language. And I had no problem !

      So, what’s the point to write a troll review ??

  • http://www.thismightnotbeawebsiteimnotsurebutimnotgonnacheckbecauseidontcare.com Kaltzor

    Well, first I would like to congratulate on picking up one of the best RPGs made out there. But that’s all the credit I’m giving for this utter lack of effort.

    When you choose to play the Shadows of Amn part of the game, the games plays a cinematic that does explain everything important that happened in the first game, if you watch that, you didn’t miss out on anything that happened there. Not knowing the 3 NPCs you start with wouldn’t have been fixed, but Baldur’s Gate 1 didn’t really do a particularily great job with fleshing out the NPCs to begin with so you aren’t missing much… and Imoen was a last minute addition into BG1 by the developers to fill in a gap for a good aligned thief NPC so her story properly only starts in BG 2 anyways so there is absolutely nothing missed there.

    That list of classes, almost every one of those classes has it’s uses. They’re not there just to confuse new players, they are there to let you make a character you want to use.

    The alignment is just a flavor thing, you can choose to ignore it or you can try to play along with it.

  • PegasusOrgans

    You either are an old school gamer/old school RPG gamer or not. If you ARE, you know any game before 2005 might need to have the manual read before being able to enjoy the game. Oblivion was the real start of RPGs being dumbed down. Even Morrowind might have been “too complex, oh noes” for you. You cannot take a game from 20 years ago and ask “why doesn’t it have all the conviences and simplicity I’m used to?” Hell, a yound, inexperienced gamer might just not know better, being completely ignorant of old games, but a guy that supposedly could figure out X-Com(I doubt you were telling the truth on that one) couldn’t figure out BG2. Maybe you mistook the new XCOM remake for the classic old X-Com from the early 90′s? Yeah, I think that might be the case. Stop posing, you fool, it’s obvious.

  • Anonymous

    Well, what should be the comment about this review.
    It’s quite obvious that the reviewer would have expected to find in BG2EE something in line with the recent so called “RPG” games: light, easy game mechanics, action based, superficial. Which is not actually what RPG should stand for: it is just what now bear this label in videogames. But this is in contrast with the “long seasoned” supposed experience of the reviewer. A long seasoned player cannot ignore the difference between a 2013 so called “RPG” and a real, classical RPG.
    Everyone can draw his/her conclusions.

    PS Reviwer, if you are going to write about a games named “Chess”, please try to understand at least how the different pieces move: king, queen, bishop etc have unique characteristics!! If you don’t do that, you may be puzzled about how the game develops, become very frustrated and rate the game as one of the worst even made

  • francisco

    Hahahaha hahahaha hahahah hahahaha hahahaha hahaha !!!!
    Sorry but this test made my day !
    Hahahahahahahahah Fuck me ! So funny !

  • http://taritoons.blogspot.com Buttercheese

    It can’t be said often enough: Read the manual.

    And saying that you don’t think it hasn’t been enhanced enough without having played the original is a pretty bold move. The new content adds hours over hours of new gameplay, amazing new dialouge, engaging new characters, beautiful new areas etc. pp.

    Truly, you picked the wrong game to review.
    Or you are just a troll.

    In both cases, being a videogame tester is appearently not your calling.

  • Jean-Luc

    While BG2:EE does warrant criticism it is not for the reasons mentioned in this review. Author is clearly not familiar with the subject matter and admitting to it does not excuse a poor review. One shouldn’t review things one does not understand in the first place.

  • nike

    This guy has no idea what he is playing.

    Doesn’t use the manual and the tutorial – whines he doesn’t know how to play

  • CJ

    RTFM

    • CJ

      Btw, BG2 was one of the first CRPGs I ever played. I was around 15. I read the manual first and then enjoyed playing it immensely, despite haven’t no prior experience with D&D.

      • CJ

        I also hadn’t played the first game. Oh, and those people in the dungeon with you – they all give their back stories in dialog at the start (right after the intro video explains everything that happened in the first game. It’s like you just loaded it, saw numbers and rage-quit in confusion after the first cutscene. I’m no fan of the Enhanced Edition, but you could have a go at a proper review.

  • TheSHEEEP

    I was around 12-15 when I first played BG1 and 2. I did not read the manual, not a fan of reading manuals, never was, never will be.
    I grasped most of what was going on about an hour in. I’m not a genius by any means.

    This review is, tbh, just a statement of incompetence.

    I do not disagree with the final review score that much. I’m by no means a fanboy of the BG:: EEs. But the reasons for the score. And the review itself.. oh.. my.. god. You should seriously be ashamed for publishing this… thing.

  • Davide

    lol this guy is a truly idiot. Read the manual idiot ! this is D&D!

  • madaboutvideogames

    I managed to work out how to play this game when I was 12. You’re 30+ with 20 years experience playing games and still have no fucking clue. That’s modern game journalism in a nutshell.

    Your review should have been a single paragraph explaining your mental deficiency and a warning to like-minded morons to stay away.

  • Nihiliste

    What a fucking joke. 10 year olds played this game when it came out, and a guy who claims to be a veteran gamer can’t figure out the basic rules or learn how to read.

    I feel bad for the reviewer. Looks like the world’s most stereotypical bedroom dwelling loser but is too stupid to figure out how to read a manual.

  • Anonymous

    The most retarded review i’ve ever laid my eyes on. Go review MLP and Barbie video games you pseudo gamer.

  • Anonymous

    It is clearly a troll and here is why: Note the 5th post from above where a guy named Sdzero tries to be a fanboy of the reviewer and defend him. Note the review author’s name: Scott Desavouret. So…

    Sdzero … Scott Desavouret. Basically an acronym. More than a coincidence??? I think not!

    Now, look at the reviewers photo and compare it to the poster Sdzero’s ….note the striking resemblance??

    So, for me it was obvious from the content that this is a troll post, but this should definitely prove it. Thanks for wasting everyone’s time jerk. …do I get a prize now??

    So the bottom line: He is not a moron for his ridiculous review, but for wasting everyone’s time with this BS. Obviously this is the (first and) last time I’m visiting this website.

    —> Loser!

    • Andres Ruiz

      Actually, Sdzero is not Scott Desavouret. You do not qualify for the prize, I’m afraid. Have a nice day!

      • OPF

        BG2:EE is an enhancement of the original BG2, so in order to reliably review it the reviewer MUST be familiar with the original game. If not he could not see the difference between the original and the new one – hence the review has no point.

        What this reviewer tried to do ( unsuccessfully, to say the least) is to review BG2 as a whole, and giving it 2/5 doesn’t hold much water and a sad joke – because bg2 is still considered one of the best RPG ever created, to this day.

        Overall, this review is a disgrace by every parameter, and if as an Associate Editor you can’t see it, than it tells much about this site which for me lost its credibility.

        • Andres Ruiz

          Our review policy states that reviews are solely the work and opinion of the author. Unfortunately, there was an issue in this particular review that has already been addressed many times by your fellow commenters, and we have recognized that, but we have moved on. Thanks anyway for your input and have a nice day!

  • Azrael the Cat

    Basketball sucks. It took me forever, like a whole 15 minutes, to understand that the numbers on the board go up when the ball goes through the basket. But sometimes they go up by three and sometimes they go up by two, and noone ever stops the game to explain why this happens. I’m assuming it’s a bug.

  • http://twitter.com/CosbyBepop CosbyBepop

    1. Why the hell are you reviewing a sequel to a game you know nothing about?

    2. Your attacks are missing because your dexterity isn’t high enough. If you knew ANYTHING AT ALL about RPGs, you would know that.

    3. You are a complete and utter retard. Delete this joke of a review and properly examine your life.