A periodic blog about Games, Books, Movies, Pop culture, Technology and whatever else I happen to feel like writing about...

Thursday, October 21, 2004

D&D and Baldur's Gate

As I mentioned in a previous post, back in the day, I played a fair bit of D&D. We also played some Traveller, Space Opera, Top Secret and The Fantasy Trip, but it was mostly D&D.
Now, the whole D&D experience could only be had in face to face games. There had never been a really engrossing computer version of D&D, since it relied so much on the actual role playing. I mean, if you really look at it, the core rules of D&D are juts there to give a framework for combat and magic, and to impose a system of levelling up to gain experience. The best parts of D&D were always the exploration by the group, the problem solving, etc. It was always nice to finally level up a character, to get the extra hit points, to improve your base to-hit numbers. It was also fun to find those coveted rings of protection +3 or the often talked about but never seen wand of automatic missile fire.

Over the last few days, Cim and I have been playing Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance on PS2. And while this will never replace a good game of D&D, it has been a lot of fun. The game is basically an updated version of Diablo, which is in itself an updated version of Rogue and Nethack, but it is fun.

The graphics are decent, the voice acting good, and there has been some thought put into the storyline, even though it is mostly an excuse to find new dark places to go and "roll monsters for cash".

Since everything is stat based, all choices have consequences. If you grab the heaviest armour that you can, you cut down on the other weight that you can carry. If you decide to add a point to Dexterity, you get an armour and a missile to hit bonus, but if you add it to Strength, you get melee to hit and damage bonuses. It is all very cool, and makes me remember the fun that I had levelling up my old low level characters.

We are in Act II right now, so Vohn, the arcane archer is kitted out in scale mail, with a decent magical bow, though he really needs to replace his mace of disruption +1 with something a little heavier duty for those inevitable hand to hand love ins..

Right now, the biggest disappointment is killing some wandering monster and not finding much gold or any cool weapons. As we descend into level 2 of the mine that the Drow took over, I hope to start seeing some much cooler toys. I would really like to find a good one handed weapon, like a good magical bastard sword, so that Vohn can keep his magical iron shield in play.

So, while this isn't the D&D I remember, it has some nice points, like the being able to save a game and come back to it later, the fact that it doesn't take me months to level up, and the selection of loot that makes me want to search around just one more corner to find the next great weapon.


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