Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition iPad Review
- Baldur's Gate in all its glory and then some; new NPCs to join your adventure and an all-new campaign to test your skill.
- Deep and complex mechanics encourage players to think carefully and invest in their characters.
- Imprecise touch controls; hard to match the accuracy of a cursor on the PC, especially when dealing with hidden/small items.
- Tutorial races through the basics without giving the player a chance to understand each ability's worth.
Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition knows who it's aiming for and hits the mark almost perfectly, but as a result, gamers yet to enjoy the deep complexity of such an RPG may be quickly overwhelmed and even put off by its clunky design.
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Some of you out there may be old enough to remember purchasing Baldur's Gate when it first hit the PC in 1998. It came with many goodies, not the least of which was a large vertical sleeve to hold the five CDs required to play the game. Later improvements in compression and technology made it less unwieldy, but the original embodied the content held within - an epic tale of adventure based on the 2nd Edition of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons rules. It was bold and it was brutal, but by gosh it was fun.
Flash forward to 2012 and we've come a long way since the sprite-driven and ancient mechanics that ruled much of the Western RPG scene. The quests are no less epic, but instead of large, clunky, button-driven interfaces the games either slip in to a somewhat more tactical design or eschew the neckbeard-like fussiness of number crunching for immediate and non-stop action.
As such Baldur's Gate is a relic of its age, and despite visual enhancements to fit the diminutive original on to larger screens, the Enhanced Edition wears its clunkiness on its sleeve. Nothing is handed to you on a silver platter and you'll have to work for your success by talking to everyone you can; exploring every nook and cranny, no matter how obscure; pilfering as much as you can; and in general, taking the time to micro-manage every step you take.
It's laborious, but that was the fun of the original game and subsequent titles based on the Infinity Engine, as you came to invest yourself entirely in the struggles of your adventuring party.
As such, fans of the original can jump on board without a moment's hesitation, tapping away to issue orders and collecting all new NPCs such as a Monk, a Wild Mage, and even a dreaded Blackguard if you happen to prefer things to get messy.
Of course the latter two will need to be purchased to become playable, but while you're in the store you can also pick up a portrait pack from Jason Manley. For those looking to customize their characters it's a great addition, along with all new voice packs.
Lastly, those looking for more action can delve in to the Black Pits, a new and separate campaign where you'll get to customize your party of six to face deadly waves of enemies.
While it's great to see Baldur's Gate handled with such care, keeping the game so close to the original also hampers its chance at appealing to a new audience, especially one unwilling to delve in to such a dense game with deadly consequences around every corner.
That said, for old-hands and RPG fanatics it's a boon and an easy recommendation.
DescriptionPlay the Legend:
This classic saga of mystery, intrigue, and adventure has set the standard for Dungeons & Dragons™ computer role-playing games ever since.
Now, upgraded and enhanced, it comes to your iPad.
We recommend iPad 2 and better. iOS 5.1 support. The game may function on iPad1, but memory is very tight.
* 80 hours of Epic RPG adventure
* Over 40 classes and kits
* Over 100 spells
* over 150 magical items
* New adventure: The Black Pits, a thrilling combat adventure
* New character: Rasaad yn Bashir, a Calishite Monk searching for answers.
* New character for purchase: Dorn Il-Khan, a half-orc blackguard with a history of violence.
* New character for purchase: Neera the Wild Mage, a half-elf on a quest to control her powerful magic.
What's New in Version 1.0.3Five new class kits: Dwarven Defender, Shadowdancer, Dragon Disciple, Dark Moon Monk and Sun Soul Monk
Item charges now displayed inside the inventory
Auto-pause enabled on map screen
Items appear over character portraits when used
Store items which the player can't afford are greyed out
Players able to raise each other at temples (Multiplayer)
Journal entries may now be edited
Notes may now be copied to the journal
Various minor UI fixes