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Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance II


Sam P
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A quick glance at our trusty calendar here revealed that Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance II is just around the corner.

 

Gamespot gave it a 8.0.

 

As one of the few who thoroughly enjoys the 1st one (I'm still working through it), I'm pretty excited about the sequel. It's essentially the same formula, evolved and distilled to include a weapons system with more depth, a la Diablo. You can create weapons by mixing and matching a variety of jewels and welding them to sockets found on the swords, bows, shields, etc.

 

I think the reason I enjoy the series so much has much to do with my general dislike of serious RPGs. I don't like the meticulous battle strategies in the turn-based combat, I don't like sifting through pages upon pages of stats, I don't like the long-drawn stories and the overall slow pacing, and I don't like having to spend 50+ hours to complete a title.

 

I think Hack-and-Slashers like BD really appeal to people like me. Oh, and Co-Op mode kicks ass, too.

 

Who else is buying?

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I enjoyed the first one a lot on my PS2 before it was out for xbox. I borrowed it from a friend and played through it. I'm looking forward to the second one, although I probably won't buy it right away. I picked the first one up for xbox when best buy had them for $9.99 a few months back. I still haven't opened it however.

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Played a ton of Dark Alliance, co-op is especially fun. Interesting to see three essentialy similar games comeing out, Dark Alliance 2, Champions of Norrath, and Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel (same engine and gameplay). Currently playing Fallout, and I'm sure I'll get the others.

 

I do love the stat based, tweak out every little thing on your character RPG's, but I also like sitting down with a friend and a 12 pack and just killing everything that moves...

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Well, I loved everything about the Fallout RPG's. Brotherhood has about as much in common with them as Dark Alliance does to the Baldur's Gate RPG's. That being said, it certainly has the flavor of the Fallout universe.The addition of a lockon function makes ranged combat much easier, but I think the game is slightly hampered by a more distant over head camera (Romier, you were so very right about that). Most of it plays very similar to Dark Alliance, so basically kill everything and greed on all the treasure. Over all, I'm enjoying it so far but I'm only two boss fights into the game. It certainly is fun, and if you're a fan of the series, it's at least worth a rent. Is it worth buying? Well, it was for me, but YMMV...

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I enjoyed the first game very much. It was my triumphant return to RPGs since I hadn't played one since failing to enjoy Final Fantasy 7 (I loved that series along with Dragon Warrior). I followed it up with KOTOR, I am currently obsessed with FF:Tactics, and will take on DX:Invisible War soon.

 

So now I am confronted with whether or not to return to this series which sparked my interest back in RPGs. I remember feeling that the game got mind numbingly redundant by the end. BHOA was an appealing alternative because I thought it might be fun like BG, but more fresh and different - too bad I haven't seen a single good review for it.

 

I probably won't be needing to buy another game until early summer at this point, so assuming Halo 2 is a Christmas game, this might be a buy for me then.

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Bought Fallout: BOS for the XBox. Great sense of humor and very similar in feel to BGDA. However your character is able to do a rolling dodge and gets mini-guns instead of spells. Gameplay takes a bit of getting used to, also because you can jump and crouchwalk (atypical for a dungeon hack). On the minus side I'm convinced parts of the game weren't finished in time for the release ? the gameplay seems fine (save the occasional framerate burp, which is otherwise a steady 60fps) ? but the extra touches are ROUGH. Poor-quality, choppy FMV's and NPC's that just stand there and don't lip-sync in time with the voiceovers are the two most glaring oversights. It might annoy you if you care about that sort of thing. But given the news about Interplay the past month or two it kinda makes me wonder that this game was just BARELY finished before the home stretch and didn't get the QA it deserved.

 

Reserved BGDA2 and Champions of Norrath as well. If you liked the original Dark Alliance, this month is gonna be pure freakin' heaven.

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I have it sitting here as well War. Can't play it since I'm at work but I look forward to digging in later tonight.

 

On a related note I've recently been playing Dungeons and Dragons Heroes on my box (put in good 4 almost 5 hours or so last night after some emulation fun). The game is a little too easy even on single player (the abundance of items just ruins the game balance) but I think its a genuinely fun game and worthy of a look if your into these type of action RPG's. The feats are interesting and the combat is really enjoyable. It borrows a whole lot from BGDA (even the water) but I think its worth the 29.99 or so I've seen it go for used.

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Bought it, played it for two hours. Love it love it love it.

 

Started off as the Paladin chick (I'm a sucker for big boobs). Once I figured out how to use her I realized I could heal myself so quickly that I didn't need potions. Plus she already comes with a few standard spells and enhancements (boob pun not intended) that make her a great fighter. Holding two weapons is a great touch also but it makes two-handed weapons such as halberds and giant axes almost immediately obsolete.

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Love it love it love it.

 

Agreed Anthony!

 

I want to post a some lengthy impressions soon but Im just too tired tonight (been playing for about five and half hours and Im ready for bed!). For now I'll keep it somewhat short...

 

Thus far this is everything I could have wanted in a sequel to Baldurs Gate Dark Alliance. The graphics are improved (not drastically but the engine was solid as it is) and the music is still as epic as it was. Black Isle even threw in a couple of remixed themes from the PC Baldurs Gate titles! When I walked into the Purple Wyrm Inn and heard the slow tempo travelling music from Baldurs Gate II Shadows of Amn I just had to crack a big old smile.

 

The gameplay has been altered somewhat to include faster weapon switching ala the recent Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel (you can have several equipped at a time: Long Range, One handed and Two handed). As Anthony mentioned you can dual wield weapons now and your character will take the appropriate penalties for doing so (especially if they are not using the same type of weapon in each hand). I don't think this makes the two handed greater weapons obsolete at all (especially when you see some of two handed weapons some merchants have..YIKES!) but it certainly adds a new level os strategy and customization to your character.

 

The new gem/rune system just reeks of Diablo 2 and I say that with as much positivity as possible because its just as deep and the amount of combinations and customization you can do to your weapons and armor is INSANE. You could spend hours on this feature of the game alone. Take into account five different characters each with thier own dialogue trees and reasons for taking on this adventure and well I can see myself getting very hooked to BGDAII.

 

Level design so far is pretty good though a bit too open and somewhat unfocused at times (especially in the opening dungeon). Just seems like you really have to re-cover ground unneccessarily at times. If anything my preference veers towards the more enclosed and tightly designed levels of the first game but it looks as though the developers have gone for something more ambitious which is commendable. Either way this is not something that will prevent me from devouring every last ounce of content that I can from this game.

 

I can only imagine what kind of experience Champions of Norrath will bring to the table! Randomized dungeons, online play, more character customizing. Champions should be an action RPG'ers wet dream come true. However as of right now you have we have the dream that comes the night before and anyone who was on the fence about getting this one should really take the plunge. Its more D&D. Its more Dark Alliance and if your remotely a fan you'll be happy as hell you spent the cash.

 

(MY GOD I WISH THIS WAS ONLINE!).

 

EDIT: Also wanted to mention I got a nifty BGDAII bonus CD that includes a bunch of character art, all of the trailers for the game including the character introductions and a nice little history section detailing the events of the first game. Awesome little extra!

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So what characters are you all using? How do you like to kill things?

 

Single player game I'm using a Barbarian with two weapon fighting. I have 2 crafted scimitar that are pretty nasty, though I had to save/break down quite a few items and gems etc. to make them. For my multiplayer game I started a Dark Elf Monk. She's unarmed and wears medium armor. Her martial arts combos are painful enough once you get her to higher level. I also gave her some ability with a staff for her spinning attack thats great to hurt and keep enemies away.

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Just finished the 1st one. Ending is a cliff-hanger indeed.

 

Spoiler question:

Hmm, if our heroes (I'm on Co-Op) teleported to this new realm, it's safe to assume the sequel picks up from there. However, Dark Alliance II has all new character classes. This makes no sense. So my Dwarf and Archer both turn into something else?

 

Romier (or anyone else), does the Co-Op system in the 2nd game work similarly to the 1st? I.e. I can import/ export characters at will?

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Romier (or anyone else), does the Co-Op system in the 2nd game work similarly to the 1st? I.e. I can import/ export characters at will?

 

You can still import and export when you feel like it. Its very nifty. You are correct also Sam. The second one picks up almost immediately where the first ended. In fact the opening movie shows the three heroes coming through the portal. The new characters are ALL NEW. Something happens to the original heroes which prevents them from joining in this new adventure. I'll leave you to play the second game and see what happens.

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  • 2 weeks later...

So far, I have about 8 hours (in-game time) of play for BG:DA2. Here are my impressions:

 

Things I like:

- The graphics are still nice.

- Getting rid of arrows was a welcome, if unrealistic, change.

- The addition of gems and upgradeable equipment really adds to the depth of the game. The first game was about collecting. This game is about collecting AND customizing.

- The voice acting is still top-notch.

- Being able to dual-wield weapons and adding another quick equipment switch option (one-handed weapons/two-handed weapons/range weapons) is really helpful using the right tools for the right job.

 

Things I do not like:- I really wish they would have allowed changing the angle of the camera (not just rotating it). Being able to zoom in is nice though (I don't remember the first one having that feature, but if it did, then I apologize).

- Damn, the game is dark. Maybe it's because I'm playing it on a Sanyo Z1 LCD projector, but sometimes I honestly can't see what I'm attacking. A gamma/brightness slider would have been nice.

- I would have liked to have seen different character choices (the choice of characters seems melee-heavy with no pure wizard-type character).

 

I can't imagine that if you liked BG:DA that you wouldn't like BG:DA2. It's better in pretty much every aspect. It's certainly not in Diablo II's general vicinity, but it is a fun, well-executed game that is worth buying for all action RPG fans.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Woohoo!

 

I just parted with 4 of my PS2 titles: The Getaway (mediocre), GTA: Vice (have it for XBOX), Stuntman (not my cup of tea), and Hitman 2 (to be re-purchased as an XBOX variant). Taking advantage of a 30% more total trade-in credit at E.B., I returned with Dark Alliance II (green variety) with 16 bucks to spare.

 

Good deal.

 

Will most likely get started tonight.

 

Romier and others: are the difficulty levels roughly identical to the original game? I started on Normal in the first game, only to find out half way through that there are no advantages over easy (in terms of experience points and such). Playing exclusively on Co-Op, my teammate and I both levelled rather slowly and found Normal a touch hard during boss fights.

 

Should I just start on Easy this time around?

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