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RPGCodex Review #1 - Hŵrpa Dwrp

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Yay! an 'in depth' Bg1 discussion. haven't had one of those in quite a while.

 

 

Since we're discussing RPGCodex attack pieces, here's a "review"(excuse me, attack piece) on Baldurs Gate 1 in the style of the original review.

Hey, just read your post. Nope, Sorry. You've failed to accurately apply the Codex review methodology to Baldur's Gate, since unlike the Codex review, you've resorted to False claims instead of just sticking with pronouncements of personal taste.

 

Baldurs Gate 1 is an epic disaster of a game.  The problems start with the wretched character creation system.  You roll random dice over and over and over to get the best start.  This is pathetic game design - and it is absolutely crucial for your game.

It is neither crucial, nor is obsessive re-rolling required. Not even for Powergaming. Maybe you should stick to the REAL gripe people have with character creation in BG1: That all classes only have 1 or 2 crucial stats, while all the rest can be completely dumped to 3 with no ill effect. But of course, if you DO say this, then you can no longer complain about needing to re-roll over and over, Since there will never come a time when you can't max out your class's 1 or 2 vital stats....using just your first dice roll.

 

The class system is byzantine and cumbersome, with all sort of hidden rules about which class can do what.

Indeed. Fighters can use any weapon and wear any armor. And they have exactly zero special abilities to choose from. Their combat effectiveness improves automatically when they level up.

 

How unthinkably Cumbersome and Byantine! Never seen anything more convoluted.

 

 

There are linked sets of important abilities, called feats, with virtually no information on what they do.

In BG1? What in the world are you talking about? BG1 has no feats.

 

 

Your first companion has the most annoying voice that I've ever had the displeasure to hear.

Gorion has a great voice! Oh wait, you're talking about Imoen. Sorry, not seeing the difference in VA quality between Imoen and Calisca. Well, except the fact that the former sounds like she's acting, while the latter sounds like she's just cold-reading from a script. 

 

If you choose a spell caster you can do one or two things before you need to take a nap.

False. You can cast spells, you can perform archery, You can engage in melee, you can use imoen's wand, you can use a potion of invisibility. You can use Algernon's cloak. And you can do all of this at level 1

 

You can be in the middle of an epic fight and then just plop down for eight hours without consequence

False. In BG1, You cannot rest in the middle of a fight. And you can't rest without consequence After a fight, either, since there will always be a chance of a random encounter.

 

or spend a couple of game days riding back to an inn, knock back a couple of pints, and then jump back like nothing happened.

False. Unlike the casual-gamer's mechanic implemented in POE, Resting for the night in BG1 does NOT instantly restore all your health.

 

You'll spend half your time playing inventory tetris.

What? Are you under the false impression that BG1 has a grid based inventory system?

 

 

You'll spend the other half of your time searching for a point - why would I care about some stupid iron shortage?

Because the weapons you're using are Breaking? Edited by Stun
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I think sensuki and stun are playing right into the "reviewers" hand by pointing out that his "gripes" are not actually as big of a deal as he makes them out to be...essentially what half of this thread is saying about the poe review, the problems pointed out exist but they aren't nearly as bad as they are being portrayed, or they are petty, unfounded or a matter of personal taste(not all of those at the same time).

 

Saying either game is crappy based on the points presented is dumb, it might be under its maximum potential, or even flat out average but bad is an overstatement 

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Where did I say that problems are not as big of a deal as he makes them out to be? and which ones?

 

I can tell you, I am more disappointed with this game than the reviewer Darth Roxor is simply by matter of return on investment.

Edited by Sensuki
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There are various retrospective articles to be found on the web, and they are mostly all about how it was a huge advantage to the team to have all the systems in place and just about pumping concent all day long.

 

This. Like ... really. Don't people see that? Making a sequel based on the exact same engine is absolutely 100% guaranteed to be more massive than the prequel ever could. Except if thy name is Dragon Age. But lol, the devs even admitted already that Dragon Age 2 was rushed out in less than a year:

http://www.giantbomb.com/dragon-age-ii/3030-30995/forums/bioware-senior-developer-da2-was-a-one-year-produc-487429/

Edited by Zwiebelchen
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Honestly, I don't mind crytism of PoE as the game does have flaws, saying it's the worst obsidian game or worse than BG/IWD is what I don't get, PoE is objectively better, if you could put up with the flaws of those games you should be able to enjoy this too.

Edited by falchen
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I think sensuki and stun are playing right into the "reviewers" hand by pointing out that his "gripes" are not actually as big of a deal as he makes them out to be...

I'm doing no such thing. My post focusses almost exclusively on pointing out the factually erroneous claims that are being made. Edited by Stun

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You'll spend the other half of your time searching for a point - why would I care about some stupid iron shortage?

Because the weapons you're using are Breaking?

 

To be fair, if you're playing a wizard (in robes, wooden quarterstaff, wooden/leather slings and rock ammo) you might not see a mysterious iron weakness as a pressing matter.

Similarly an archery rogue (in leather, wooden bow, wooden arrows) or a druid (unable to wear metal, using a club).

 

Mind you, there is always the obvious motivation of computer RPGs - a quest means killing and looting, naturally. ;)

 

I suppose the secondary motivation is you can't get into Baldur's Gate to track who killed Gorian without solving the iron problem. (You could argue that some evil and neutral types wouldn't care who killed Gorian or about the iron shortage either one, but ultimately that's the limitation of a computer game vs pen and paper...at some point your character is going to have to funnel into the paths the game allows)

 

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^Certain neutral and evil characters wouldn't, realistically, care about that either.

 

Again, at some point you can only accept that as a video game you will ultimately be on one of the paths the game allows; complete freedom to define a character as in pen and paper just isn't possible.

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Decided to recruit Edwin and killed Dynheir, came back to Nashkel and Minsc was hostile. I slew him in the street, this bald lunatic I've been through the underdark and literally to hell and back with more times than I can count is dead before the mines are even cleared. If he now doesn't show up at the beginning of BG2 that's some pretty cool C&C.

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I hate to be this blunt, but...

 

That review is ****. It is. Obsidian's "worst game of all time"? Really???

 

There are plenty of problems with PoE. Plenty. I'm not denying that. But it is a very good game nonetheless. This isn't a review, it's a rant. It's rife with misunderstandings of basic game mechanics, which makes all his criticisms of the mechanics suspect at best.. and the fact that he couldn't think of a single thing to praise other than the aesthetics and the music is silly. This is a troll review at best. It's very clear that the reviewer went into it looking to take every single complaint he had about the game and magnify it to the point of ridiculousness.

 

Sorry, Sensuki... I've gotta disagree with you 100% here. This review is the Codex at its worst. And I say that not in a "the Codex is terrible" sense, but in a "this is the kind of thing that gives the Codex a bad name" sense.

 

 

Got to go with Matt on this one Sens. Pillars of Eternity, for all it's flaws, is still 100x times more entertaining than BG1 and BG2 for me. However, there are areas where it definitely can still be improved. Namely, the XP spread through the game, the stronghold mini game and mob AI.

 

However, I do believe the developers were very open about how this first game would feature very basic AI. Heck, most of BG1 and BG2 featured completely lobotomized mobs as well. It wasn't until the very end of the IE engine, with Icewind Dale 2, when they were able to pull off some nifty tricks with their mob encounters.

 

Give it time, give it an expansion or two and a sequel (all of which I'll happily) pay for and I am sure all those issues will be sewed up. 

Edited by swordofthesith
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The point, it whooshes right over some heads....

Or maybe some of us have 100% fire resistance to your silly straw man?

 

Again, you made factual errors in your review. Show me one of those from the Codex review. Otherwise, you're not making a point, you're just lurching out in a butt hurt rage.

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Because the aside grabbed my attention in a way that the debate over the "review did not...

 

The iron crisis, it's accompanying economic and military collapse and the impending war between Baldur's Gate and Amn are the single most important events in the region in the game. Anybody who's anybody is involved, good, neutral or evil. Altruist? Not only has everyday life ground to a halt, but war is coming. Mercenary? People will pay big, big money to put a stop the banditry and poisoning of the ore. Power-crazy? The people behind it are the biggest fish in the pond, and you can feed off that power.

 

I always thought that the main plot in BG1 was much more solid than the main plot in BG2, and it managed to largely sidestep the worst tropes of bad D&D writing(the absence of Rivendell, oops "Suldanessellar" and the pointy-eared immortal poet-artist colony within was conspicuous and gratifying) . Looking back on it, I'm reminded of the Witcher games.

 

But to each his own. I like that PoE took a leaf out of BG1's book on that and other notes.

Edited by Panteleimon
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Because the aside grabbed my attention in a way that the debate over the "review did not...

 

The iron crisis, it's accompanying economic and military collapse and the impending war between Baldur's Gate and Amn are the single most important events in the region in the game. Anybody who's anybody is involved, good, neutral or evil. Altruist? Not only has everyday life ground to a halt, but war is coming. Mercenary? People will pay big, big money to put a stop the banditry and poisoning of the ore. Power-crazy? The people behind it are the biggest fish in the pond, and you can feed off that power.

 

I always thought that the main plot in BG1 was much more solid than the main plot in BG2, and it managed to largely sidestep the worst tropes of bad D&D writing(the absence of Rivendell, oops "Suldanessellar" and the pointy-eared immortal poet-artist colony within was conspicuous and gratifying) . Looking back on it, I'm reminded of the Witcher games.

 

But to each his own. I like that PoE took a leaf out of BG1's book on that and other notes.

 

Why would a neutral Druid care about the situation unless it was threatening the wildlife (which it doesn't seem to be)?   They're not fond of mining (as they won't use metal armors and use natural weapons) IIRC in the D&D setting.  You could fall back to "Well solving Gorion's death" which might be a good motivation, but for a particular type of Druid...maybe it isn't.  Maybe Gorion and his insistence in staying in Candlekeep was holding you back from your role in life.  Maybe the impending war (war affects everything.  And never changes1) is enough motivation, but as the war isn't actually happening you could argue the druid could be more inclined to find a druid enclave and work with them to protect nature as part of the druidic group rather than run around with a bunch of random people of vastly different motivations "saving the day".

 

Look I'm not saying BG is bad (I'm rather fond of it and think there are things it does better than BG2), but realistically a narrative railroad is a narrative railroad even if it produces pleasing results.

 

1Obligatory Fallout opening reference

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I am decided.  I will restart BG, from the very beginning.  I believe that I will play a Orc Priest of Talos, and commence to bring my party raping and pillaging across the North, and then Athkathla (or, however it is spelled). As difficult as it is to believe, I never really played an evil party.  Good?  Check and check.  Neutral and chaotic neutral?  Yep.  Evil?  Never.  Sounds like it is time for some angry dwarves and outcast drow, as well as my favorite snide wizard...

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"1 is 1"

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Why would a neutral Druid care about the situation unless it was threatening the wildlife (which it doesn't seem to be)?   They're not fond of mining (as they won't use metal armors and use natural weapons) IIRC in the D&D setting.  You could fall back to "Well solving Gorion's death" which might be a good motivation, but for a particular type of Druid...maybe it isn't.  Maybe Gorion and his insistence in staying in Candlekeep was holding you back from your role in life.  Maybe the impending war (war affects everything.  And never changes1) is enough motivation, but as the war isn't actually happening you could argue the druid could be more inclined to find a druid enclave and work with them to protect nature as part of the druidic group rather than run around with a bunch of random people of vastly different motivations "saving the day".

 

Look I'm not saying BG is bad (I'm rather fond of it and think there are things it does better than BG2), but realistically a narrative railroad is a narrative railroad even if it produces pleasing results.

 

1Obligatory Fallout opening reference

Well first off, you're no ordinary Druid. You're a Druid who grew up in Candlekeep. Second, because of the Iron Shortage, the most common species in the forests of the sword coast happens to be Bandits. And from the point of view of a Neutral druid, this shouldn't be. It is a tangible upset to the Balance. Third, of all the classes in the game, a Druid has a biggest stake in stopping the Iron Throne Operations. The Shadow Druids of the Cloakwood should have explained that one to you. Edited by Stun
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Second, the most common species in the forests of the sword coast happens to be Bandits. And from the point of view of a Neutral druid, this shouldn't be.

 

That may be the best explanation ever. original.gif

 

Again I'm not AGAINST the railroading in BG1 - I'm just saying I admit its a railroad.  A good flexible one as it may be, you can't just walk away from the story (as you could in P&P)

Edited by Amentep
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Druids are True Neutral which is the most selfish, do-what-you-like-in-the-name-of-the-balance alignment in D&D.

 

As someone who is untroubled by AD&D canon in 'puter games and finds the alignment mechanic silly, none of this really troubles me in the context of the Infinity Engine games TBH.


sonsofgygax.JPG

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Druids are True Neutral which is the most selfish, do-what-you-like-in-the-name-of-the-balance alignment in D&D.

 

As someone who is untroubled by AD&D canon in 'puter games and finds the alignment mechanic silly, none of this really troubles me in the context of the Infinity Engine games TBH.

Doesn't bother me, really, either. My initial point was that, realistically, you could have a player character who wouldn't care about the Iron Shortage but the game will force you to care.

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Druids are True Neutral which is the most selfish, do-what-you-like-in-the-name-of-the-balance alignment in D&D.

 

As someone who is untroubled by AD&D canon in 'puter games and finds the alignment mechanic silly, none of this really troubles me in the context of the Infinity Engine games TBH.

Doesn't bother me, really, either. My initial point was that, realistically, you could have a player character who wouldn't care about the Iron Shortage but the game will force you to care.

 

 

Absolutely. BG1s plot is on rails as you say. It's errant nonsense. Still fun.


sonsofgygax.JPG

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Got to go with Matt on this one Sens. Pillars of Eternity, for all it's flaws, is still 100x times more entertaining than BG1 and BG2 for me.

 

 

whatamireading.png

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The point, it whooshes right over some heads....

Or maybe some of us have 100% fire resistance to your silly straw man?

 

Again, you made factual errors in your review. Show me one of those from the Codex review. Otherwise, you're not making a point, you're just lurching out in a butt hurt rage.

 

 

So not liking Imoens voice is a factual error?  Saying that you can get big game advantages by rerolling random numbers over and over and over is a factual error?  The opinion that the class system is complex and opaque is a factual error?  The opinion about the story line?  Not liking the inventory management?  Not liking the early story?  The (fact) that casters at low levels in D&D are underpowered with little to do, other than being third-rate fighters (unless you did the roll-until-all-your stats are great trick, in which case they can be a floor wax and a dessert topping)?  (I even threw in a couple of garbled things, like the feats from other games, as a tribute to the mistakes about PoE in the original review...)

 

And, more to the point, I *loved* Baldurs Gate 1.  But I can put on my hater hat and make it look bad.  I could do the same thing for every game in the genre.  I really like the tactical feel of IWD2, for instance - it's actually a game that I replay because it makes me think (the bridge encounter is my favorite CRPG puzzle, period).    But if I was writing a hater screed I'd focus on the oft-criticized plot and the silly min-maxing of stats etc.

 

So, instead, why not focus on enjoying games instead of tearing them down?

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