For years now I’ve been meaning to play through Baldur’s Gate II, and have started it several times, but have never stuck with it most likely due to the interference of whatever MMO I was currently subscribed to. It’s a fantastic game, which I bought on its day of release back in September of 2000. From what I recall, I was quite far into the game (80 hours is the number in my head), when I mistakenly blew away my “games” hard drive and lost my save games.
I’ve started it up again, and this time I intend to stick with it. I’m not playing any MMOs now, and likely won’t be for the forseeable future, so Baldur’s Gate II is “my game” now. I’m currently just a few hours in, but a few things really stand out for me so far. The biggest thing is the complete lack of hand holding compared to modern games. After the opening bit, when the party finds itself in Waukeen’s Promenade, there aren’t any clear indications as to what to do next. There aren’t any exclamation marks floating over the heads of any NPCs; no giant blinking hand pointing the way to go. The party is left to explore on its own and actually talk to people to figure out what to do next.
The game can also be pretty rough; I`ve had my butt handed to me by some guys in the first Inn I came across in Waukeen`s Promenade. After several attempts at defeating them I concluded that it`s a fight best left for another day. In general, it`s imperative to use your characters wisely and actually think through their actions in combat. Just running in and attacking certainly works some times, but things tend to go a lot smoother when each party member is used to their strengths.
Finally, the story elements when Jon Irenicus appears to you during your dreams are simply fantastic. The music, the script, the atmosphere… all extremely well done. It`s easy to see why this game is typically regarded as one of the best cRPGs ever created.