Baldur's Gate II: Enhanced Edition

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Baldur's Gate II: Enhanced Edition
Developer(s) Overhaul Games
Publisher(s) Atari
Distributor(s) Beamdog
Series Baldur's Gate
Engine Infinity Enhanced Engine[1]
Platform(s) Microsoft Windows, OS X, iPad
Release date(s) November 15, 2013
Genre(s) Role-playing video game
Mode(s) Single-player, multiplayer

Baldur's Gate II: Enhanced Edition is a remake of the role-playing game Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn and its expansion Baldur's Gate II: Throne of Bhaal. The game was launched on Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X. Baldur's Gate II: Enhanced Edition was officially announced as a Beamdog exclusive that would feature some new content, widescreen compatibility, and will continue to utilize 2nd Edition D&D rules.[2]

The remake was developed by Overhaul Games, a division of Beamdog and was published by Atari. The release includes remastered versions of the original Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn and its expansions under an enhanced version of the Infinity Engine, known as the Infinity Enhanced Engine. Overhaul Games initially planned to release in 2013,[3] after the release of Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition, but due to contractual issues with Atari, Beamdog announced that the Enhanced would not be launched.[4] On of August 15, 2013 Beamdog CEO Trent Oster announced that the contractual issues have been resolved and that news regarding Baldur's Gate II: Enhanced Edition was forthcoming.[5] This edition was released on Nov 15th 2013 on PC.[6] It was released on the App Store on January 16, 2014.

Gameplay[edit]

For all editions, the game follows 2nd Edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, licensed by Wizards of the Coast. The game features much of the same updated gameplay presented in Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition,[7][8] give the same updated multiplayer, including cross platform multiplayer, which allows players from different platforms to play with each other.

Major changes to the game's presentation include its higher resolution and widescreen viewing modes to enhance gameplay.[9] The iPad and Android versions present a radical departure from the original interface, with the multitouch screen allowing for gestures that can result in zooming in and out. This is to allow for larger text and more focus on enhanced detail. Tablet versions also allow for users to swipe between screens, eliminating the use for tabs.[9] Ex-Bioware employee and creative director for the enhanced edition Trent Oster said, "When I describe playing a Baldur's Gate combat scenario to someone, I use the analogy of a football playbook. ... When you think about Baldur's Gate in this light, the iPad makes so much sense. In fact, I think Baldur's Gate is almost the perfect game for the touch interface—it was just released a decade early."[10]

Plot[edit]

Setting[edit]

Set in the Forgotten Realms continent of Faerûn, Baldur's Gate II: Enhanced Edition takes place in the nations of Amn and Tethyr. As with the original Enhanced Edition, all locations from the original production are present as well as well as new locations. Depending on the characters recruited, up to thirty new locations can be accessed.

Characters[edit]

The new characters of the Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition, Neera the Wild Mage, Dorn Il-Khan the Blackguard, and Rasaad the Monk are once again recruitable, with an additional character unique to Baldur's Gate II: Enhanced Edition, Hexxat the Thief. Much like the previous game, returning characters are once again available as romance options.

Story[edit]

The general plot of the game remains relatively unchanged, aside from the sidequests added in due to new characters. The largest new plot feature comes in the form of The Black Pits 2: Gladiators of Thay, an optional and standalone story which acts as a sequel to a challenge mode present in the previous Enhanced Edition. The mode pits players in gladitorial combat against such creatures as Mind Flayers, Githyanki and Demi-Liches.

Development[edit]

Beamdog had negotiated to get a contract for the first two Baldur's Gate games from Atari and Wizards of the Coast for approximately fourteen months before they were allowed to start working on the Enhanced Editions. Beamdog also needed to get a license to use the Infinity Engine from BioWare. Upon development, the decision was made to make the game available on the iPad—it will be compatible with all three generations of iPad.[11] On March 15, 2012, remakes of both Baldur's Gate and Baldur's Gate II were announced. Baldur's Gate II: Enhanced Edition was slated for a 2013 release for both the PC and iPad.[1][12] Nat Jones was named the official art director for the remakes,[13] with senior Dungeons & Dragons writer Dave Gross also joining the team.[14] Sam Hulick composed new music for the game.[15]

Via his Twitter account, developer Trent Oster revealed that the studio would not be making an Xbox 360 version for either remake, because the controller was not a good fit for the Infinity Engine. He added that his team would not be porting the game to Wii U due to their negative experience with Nintendo while developing MDK2 HD.[16] It was later revealed that Sony had contacted Beamdog about making both remakes available on the PlayStation 3, though nothing would come out of it.[17] Sony and Beamdog were unable to negotiate a price required for funding the redesign of the game,[18] difficult due to differences in controls and the UI between the PC and PlayStation 3.[19]

On June 19, 2013, Baldur's Gate II: Enhanced Edition's development was put on hold indefinitely due to legal issues with Atari. Developer Trent Oster described the Overhaul team as being "demoralized" due to the incident.[20] Upon the resolution of the contractual and legal issues on August 15, 2013, Overhaul Games promised details regarding the remake following the release of the patch for Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition. It was later confirmed that it would be "a while" before news about the remake would be released, though.[21] At the end of the month, the release date was announced and a gameplay trailer was shown,[6] with confirmation of an iOS edition later on.

Reception[edit]

Reception
Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings 81.33/100[22]
Metacritic 80/100[23]
Review scores
Publication Score
Hardcore Gamer 4.5/5[24]
IGN 8.3/10[25]
Strategy Informer 8/10[26]
GamePlanet 9/10[27]

Ryan Cartmel of the online magazine Hardcore Gamer gave the game a 4.5/5, saying "with an epic story, memorable characters, hundreds of hours of dungeon crawling, questing and adventuring, Baldur’s Gate stands tall among the classics. The Enhanced Edition takes all that (and then some) and wraps it in a much more visually pleasing package that will be more acceptable to modern gamers"[24]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Baldur's Gate remake press release". Retrieved 15 March 2012. 
  2. ^ Stephen Burke (March 15, 2012). "New Baldur's Gate Title Announced, Servers Go Down Instantly". Gamers Nexus. Retrieved 15 March 2012. 
  3. ^ "Twitter / TrentOster: #bg2ee will be in 2013. We". Twitter.com. Retrieved 2012-12-09. 
  4. ^ Rubens, Alex. "Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition Removed From App Store, Beamdog". IGN. Retrieved 24 June 2013. 
  5. ^ "Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition resolve issue with publishing partner". Reddit. Retrieved 15 August 2013. 
  6. ^ a b "Baldur's Gate 2: Enhanced Edition PC and Mac Release Date Confirmed, First Gameplay Trailer Now Available". Cinemablend.com. 2013-08-30. Retrieved 2013-10-14. 
  7. ^ Gilbert, Ben. "Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition arrives this summer [update: more news!]". Joystiq. Retrieved 8 December 2012. 
  8. ^ Kaszor, Daniel. "Baldur's Gate Enhanced Edition sets out to find a new modern audience". Post Arcade, FP Tech Desk. Financial Post. Retrieved 8 December 2012. 
  9. ^ a b Lee, Tyler (2012-03-28). "Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition for iPad detailed further". Ubergizmo. Retrieved 2012-06-08. 
  10. ^ Murray, Bryan (July 1, 2012). Empire http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1P3-2735885721.html |url= missing title (help). Retrieved November 28, 2012.  – via HighBeam Research (subscription required)
  11. ^ Matthew Hawkins. "'Baldur's Gate' headed to iPad later this summer - Ingame on msnbc.com". Ingame.msnbc.msn.com. Retrieved 2012-06-08. 
  12. ^ "Baldur's Gate Enhanced Edition IPad announcement". Retrieved 21 March 2012. 
  13. ^ "Announcing Nat Jones as Baldur’s Gate Art Director « Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition News". Baldursgate.com. 2012-04-19. Retrieved 2012-06-08. 
  14. ^ "Dave Gross joins as writer for Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition « Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition News". Baldursgate.com. 2012-04-26. Retrieved 2012-06-08. 
  15. ^ "Sam Hulick scores music for Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition « Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition News". Baldursgate.com. 2012-05-10. Retrieved 2012-06-08. 
  16. ^ "How Nintendo can improve digitally". TrentOster.com. 2012-04-21. Retrieved 2012-06-08. 
  17. ^ "Twitter / TrentOster: We have no plans to do a console". Twitter.com. Retrieved 2012-12-09. 
  18. ^ Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition headhunted by Sony, 15 November 2012
  19. ^ Kee, Edwin (2012-12-31). "Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition Considered For PS3 Release". Ubergizmo. Retrieved 2013-10-14. 
  20. ^ "Beamdog Hoping For Baldur’s Gate III Despite ‘Legal Hell’". Rock, Paper, Shotgun. Retrieved 2013-10-14. 
  21. ^ "Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition is back on sale, patch details coming soon | News". PC Gamer. 2013-08-16. Retrieved 2013-10-14. 
  22. ^ "Baldur's Gate II: Enhanced Edition". GameRankings. 29 November 2013. 
  23. ^ "Baldur's Gate II: Enhanced Edition". Metacritic. 29 November 2013. 
  24. ^ a b Cartmel, Ryan (17 November 2013). "Review: Baldur's Gate II: Enhanced Edition". Hardcore Gamer. Hardcore Gamer. Retrieved 25 November 2013. 
  25. ^ Johnson, Leif (27 November 2013). "BALDUR'S GATE 2: ENHANCED EDITION REVIEW". IGN. Hardcore Gamer. Retrieved 29 November 2013. 
  26. ^ Capel, Chris. "Baldur's Gate II Enhanced Edition Review (PC)". Strategy Informer. Retrieved 29 November 2013. 
  27. ^ Brown, Chris (25 November 2013). "Baldur's Gate II: Enhanced Edition review". GamePlanet. Retrieved 29 November 2013. 

External links[edit]