Long before Mass Effect or Dragon’s Age, developer Bioware made a name for themselves by delivering one of the all-time greatest computer role-playing games ever, Baldur’s Gate. Featuring a strong campaign storyline, memorable characters and dialogue choices, it was ground breaking in nearly every way and set the stage for the developer’s rise to being one of the top Western roleplaying game developers. Even now, 14 years after its release, and over a decade since its sequel, fans still clamor for a new entry in the franchise.
Sadly that sequel is not here yet, nor do we know if it ever will be, but while we lament the inactivity of the franchise, developer Overhaul Games allows us to go back to the past with Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition and re-experience the original classic as it was meant to be played. Or if you have an iPad, re-experience it as it was never imagined to be played. When playing Baldur’s gate originally came out, I never would have imagined that I could take the experience on the go with me and play it on a car ride. Regardless of how you play it though, the Enhanced Edition makes the game easy for anyone to get into and play.
Of course by easy to get into and play I mean from a technical standpoint because there is nothing particularly easy about Baldur’s Gate as a game. In fact despite a very thorough pair of tutorials, the game will probably still seem quite obtuse, especially if one has never played an RPG of this style. You see Baldur’s Gate comes from an age of gaming where players did not require handholding at every turn, instead allowing users to experiment and discover what would work best for them. Despite allowing so much player freedom in how to approach things, Baldur’s Gate is not an open-world game, at least not in the modern sense of the word because while the Forgotten Realms are massive and provide plenty for players to explore, each area on the map is self contained.
All in all, Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition is everything you would expect from Baldur’s Gate. So what exactly is enhanced about this Enhanced Edition? Aside from being able to run smoothly, albeit not bug free, on today’s hardware, the game offers a whole new quest called The Black Pits. The Black Pits, is a fun side story that can be accessed from the main menu. While not as well developed as many of the original game, or its expansions quests, it serves as new Baldur’s Gate content and for fans that may well be enough.
What may also be enough to pique one’s interest is the ability to take the game with you on the iPad. Yes, there are some control issues and they diminish an otherwise amazing port of the game. The big problem being that the iPad, for as great as it is does not have an input as accurate as a mouse. Fingers and iPad styluses lack the fidelity to hit small click areas like equipment belts or even some doors, thisit can make control in the game be somewhat lackluster but if one is willing to fight through it, this is still Baldur’s Gate, in all its glory on iPad.
If you have previously played Baldur’s Gate, this Enhanced Edition will tickle your nostalgia until you smile. And you will smile because its mere existence leaves hope that other classic Black Isle roleplaying games will get the same treatment. Personally I am holding out for a working version of Icewind Dale (The GOG version is buggy beyond belief) but that is just me. Regardless of if you are coming at it for nostalgia, a history lesson or just want something fun, challenging and long to play, there is very little downside to Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition. It’s as good as it ever was and now it is mobile.
Note: Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition was played on both PC and iOS for the purpose of this review.