is extremely large, with hundreds of side quests which are
optional to complete. The game starts off with you captured by an
unknown Mage, and your party. He has been torturing you with
different spells and such to see what kind of "Potential"
you have. During the game, you manage to escape, and during the
game, one of your party members will be taken, from there, you
will start your search for this missing member, and along the way,
encounter many, many adventures! You'll meet many new NPC's, and
some that were in Baldurs Gate, and depending on which NPC's you
adventure with will sometimes change the secondary story.
the plot thickens in Baldurs
II, and for those who didn't actually "get" what
was going on in BG1, you'll be happy to know it's all
spelled out for you in the first opening sequence: you are
the son of the God of Murder. That's quite a title and
considering you probably will spend most of your time
doing good deeds, the whole story maintains a dichotic
nature which nags you not only as a player; but as a
character through the few dream sequences.
From the minute you enter the game, you'll notice the
story is fast, furious and full of twists. While Baldurs
Gate had it's own twists, they are nothing compared to
what you'll see in BG2. Just as you begin to get
"comfortable" in BG2 something crazy or
unexpected happens. It could be a plot-changing
conversation with someone in your party, a sudden event in
an alley after dark, or a hilarious outburst of insults
from one of your party members to a wandering NPC. Every
minute you play this game something fun happens. There is
no "groove" to get into like in many other
Overall, the game has quite a bit more personality than
BG1 did. Primarily this can be attributed to the abundant
interaction between group members. They laugh at each
other, ask each other questions, and even get cross at one
another. Sometimes they ramble, sometimes they ponder and
Minsc (as usual) is just a goof. It all draws you into the
experience much better than BG1 did. No longer do you
really feel you've got just a band of 6 avatars on the
screen. They seem like real people with real problems and
Quests are much more complex now, although the Fed-Ex
quest does still exist. In fact the scope of some quests
are so large and involving that you will suddenly be
horrified that you've got 5 other unfinished quests in
your journal. I have come to the point where I'm certain I
cannot complete them all because I'd run out of time. I'm
guessing I'll have to play the game again to hit them all.
Ingeniously woven into one quest is the new
"Stronghold" feature in BG2. Depending on your
class you will, at some point, become a "Lord",
"Arch-Magi" or some other grand title that sees
you inherit a large chunk of land or other valuable piece
of real-estate. In my case, after a long quest I agreed to
take over a Keep as Lord to prevent it from falling into
the hands of a rival faction which would have laid claim
to it had the girl I was with (who was on the quest) been
forced to marry. It is your duty to do whatever it takes
to keep your concern going... whether interviewing actors
as a Bard, or driving out enemies from your farmlands as a
Fighter. This depth is incredibly pleasing.
The new class Kits in BG2 are exciting. I didn't think
they would make much of a difference, but they do. Not
only do you have more freedom to be unique in the game,
but the NPCs now have much more personality because of
their variety. For instance, one NPC that joined me early
in the game wasn't just a Thief. He was a Bounty-Hunter.
He swung a Katana, talked like a samurai and enjoyed a
good fight. The Monk I play is also very unique, full of
talents, and even has monk-like avatar animations. Getting
away from the "Fighter, Thief, Mage, Cleric"
homogeneity is very refreshing.
Dialogues are more plentiful in BG2... and well done with
voice-overs quite often. David Warner plays your
arch-villain and it's just cool to hear this guy talk.
There are some BG1 voice-overs thrown in for nostalgia.
Pathfinding? We all know how bad the pathfinding was in
BG1, and how it was "improved" in IWD. Well, the
pathfinding is still not perfect, but it IS much better.
In fact it's acceptable, and the faster your rig, the
higher you can set the pathfinding script.
Sound & Graphics
the Infinity engine is still being used in B2, it doesn't
feel as archaic as it was in the other titles. The OpenGL
3D support is welcome and that alone has stopped my
computer from chunking in most scenes. But by far and away
the best improvement has to be the higher screen
resolutions. I have played in 1024x768x32, even though it
isn't "officially" supported. But the 800x600x32
on my 19" monitor is absolutely perfect. I no longer
feel like I'm playing through a microscope.
The removable GUI sections, and the full screen option are
also excellent, and the sound scores in Baldurs Gate II
are brilliant as well. But that is to be expected after
seeing what they did with Baldurs Gate. Ambient sounds are
a little better than Baldurs Gate, although many utility
sounds (like opening containers etc.) have not changed.
All voiceovers are top notch, without exception. And
compared to Baldurs Gate there are quite a lot, so if you
are into CRPG's, or even just like a great game, you
should seriously think about buying Baldurs Gate II!
Higher resolutions & supports 3D accelerator card for
enhanced special effects for
spells, lighting, and the fog of war.
Still uses 2D
sprites and pre-rendered background scenery.