I actually preferred the large, open areas that don't have much in them (like those in BG1) over the fewer and densely populated ones (like those in BG2). It gave me both a sense of freedom and of the scope of the area. While it could feel "bland" or even boring at times, I found that it improved the overall feeling of the game. With the approach of BG2 (and many of the newer RPGs with the exception of sandbox games like the new Fallouts and TES games), I felt like I was being "pulled by a leash" to places of interest, and that the majority of the areas could be summed with just one quick view around. It offered no sense of immersion or freedom - it just threw content at you. That's my feeling at least.