Another Outing For Baldur’s Gate

Enhanced, and Still Enchanting

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On the release slate for this week is another Switch remaster of an old classic. Baldur’s Gate. And its sequel; Baldur’s Gate 2. I guess the original subtitle, ‘Shadows of Amn’ is too much of a mouthful after ‘enhanced edition’. That this is labelled an ‘Enhanced Edition’ is worth noting straight away. It isn’t exactly a remaster, and certainly not a remake. I’m sure the game has been improved in many different ways, but watching the trailer at the bottom of this page will leave you in no doubts as to the game’s age. Maybe that’s why there’s so little actual gameplay in it. The classic Dungeons & Dragons based roleplaying game has been ‘enhanced’ for some time on PC, and is now making the leap to consoles. We’re growing quite used to seeing remasters of older games hitting store shelves, but this one is a little older than most.

Originally released on the PC in 1998, Baldur’s Gate is 21 years old. Even the enhanced edition originally release 7 years ago. That makes this ‘remake’ old enough to almost be retro in its own right. Commanding about a £40 price tag the two games will cost you just a little under a standard new release. For comparison its worth noting that the port of The Witcher 3 also hits Switch today. That’ll cost you another £5, and for most people it’s probably worth spending it.

Baldur’s Gate was a landmark roleplaying game, with a pedigree that’s hard to question. For some people, classics never age. For some, its harder to justify the price tag. If you can live with the ways in which it has aged, though, Baldur’s Gate (and to a lesser degree its sequel) are games RPG fans need to try. It’s battle require some pretty serious strategy – and its quite easy to wander into a battle you’re not strong enough to win. The game was open world before that term was everywhere. If you wandered a little off the shortest route you might find something dangerous, curious, or even hilarious. You can talk to almost all of the NPCs. Equally importantly, you can attempt to steal from them or even attack them. Its not necessarily a good idea, but the option is there.

In short, it did an admirable job of emulating the freedom and deep narrative of a D&D campaign. Even now many games don’t manage that. If that sounds like something you’d be into then give Baldur’s Gate a try on whatever format you can.

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Matt Crofts
Matt is the SFFN's Retro Editor, focusing on all things old but interesting, including (but not limited to!) books, movies and video games. As a researcher in Gothic literature Matt also has an affinity for black cats, Hammer horror, and all things Dracula.