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“Just like old times, well except for the torture and all…”
Throne of Bhaal. The exciting conclusion to the Baldur’s Gate franchise did not disappoint when it first came out well over a decade. While decidedly more linear then the previous installments, it made up for this with an epic conclusion to an already amazing series. The fights are harder, the stakes higher and your decisions will shape the very realms for centuries to come. Whether following the path of righteousness and attempting to save the world from your bloodier kin, or making a grab for power that will end in ascension to the Pantheon itself, Throne of Bhaal does not disappoint.
The Enhanced Edition further adds epic conclusions to each of the NPCs, as well as a few more added bonuses. Bundled with Shadows of Amn, this is where the Enhanced Edition of Baldur’s Gate II becomes worth the money you’ll spend on it. While Neera’s quest was a bit silly in SoA, and Dorn’s one tracked in ToB, their stories come full circle with stellar results. These NPCs add new side quests to the game that were lacking originally, and their banters with the original members of the cast are not to be missed.
Epic-level storytelling and combat has always been the most difficult to balance without pointing toward ridiculousness. Throne of Bhaal did this wonderfully, telling a convincing story and setting you on the path to greatness. The Enhanced Edition continues this tradition well in their wrap-ups of the new NPC’s story lines. Truly this is a game you don’t want to miss out on. While again, if you are completely strapped for cash (seriously, your grumbling belly is more important) you could get away with just buying the vanilla version of the game but I think the Enhanced Edition really adds more bang for your buck.
Overall, Beamdog has done a bang up job on these two products (yes I know there were three reviews, but that’s already been defended, so hush). Whether just entering The Realms for the first time, or reliving the glory days of RPGs, these games do not disappoint. I recommend them for anyone who is a fan of RPGs, especially those that find today’s games lacking in story and substance. The Enhanced Editions really do add a positive bonus to already amazing and timeless games, and if you have it to spare, Beamdog deserves the money spent.
While these reviews have obviously come from a fan of the franchise, I truly stand behind these game’s staying power. Something is lacking in most of today’s modern RPG’s, whether it be a sense of scope or just a focus on ‘the most powerful build,’ these games come from a simpler time. A time when the most important thing was the story, and when you took certain NPCs over others, not because they were more powerful but because they were more intriguing. Baldur’s Gate helped introduce me to world of RPG gaming and I haven’t looked back since. These Enhanced Editions have been a welcome update, and have truly added to an already amazing product.
So in the inspiring words of Korgan Bloodaxe, “Ge’ a move on it, me axe be bloody already.”