Review: Icewind Dale, PlaneScape Torment and Baldur’s Gate (II) Enhanced Edition
Icewind Dale, PlaneScape: Torment and both Baldur’s Gate games. This simple sentence sums up the backbone of the RPG gaming genre as a whole. These classic pen-and-paper style PC games have now been remastered and even released on consoles. This has provided us the perfect opportunity to delve into the lands of Faerûn once more.
The patented Dungeons and Dragons Northern Realms hold the land of Faerûn. From the booming city of Baldur’s Gate to the freezing Icewind Dale, (re)playing this classic line-up will show you how immersive a fantastical realm can really be. Yet, seeing as though these games have been around for two decades and Baldur’s Gate III is still far of on the horizon, it was about time they got an upgrade.
Let’s start with Icewind Dale, which has always been my least favourite in the list. However beautiful icy peaks can be in 2D, I have never been much of a fan of the repetitive landscape. The game does very much make up for that in variety of monsters you will be fighting throughout the game. Goblins, yuan-ti, giants, ogres, umber hulks, skeletons et cetra. Fighting is the biggest part of this game, as the storyline falls short before it even has started. This used to be a lot of fun, but given the fact that the remaster hasn’t done much to the gameplay or the graphics, we aren’t sure the remaster fits in this era. Nevertheless, Icewind Dale is still very much a classic worth exploring at least once.
Next up is PlaneScape: Torment: Enhanced Edition. The worst part about it is probably the use of two colons in the same title. This title is a lot more RPG heavy than Icewind Dale. It has the same isometric turn-based combat mechanics, but everything around it is just better. As far as we can tell not a word of dialogue has changed in comparison to the original and that’s just how we like it. With plenty of class options, an interesting and varied world to explore, great and at the time ground-breaking RPG mechanics, Planescape: Torment: Enhanced Edition delivers even after so many years. Even if the enhanced edition didn’t enhance that much.
We saved the best for last, the two Baldur’s Gate games. The third one is in the works as we speak by the Belgian Larian Studios and honestly, who didn’t get chills when the trailer mesmerised the crowd at this year’s E3. Baldur’s Gate I has had the biggest overhaul of the remasters, with the second game’s mechanics having been put in the first. Of course the visuals and gameplay don’t add up to today’s RPG’s like Larian Studios’ Divinity Original Sin 2 or Obsidian’s The Outer Worlds, but that doesn’t stop the titles of being some of the best games ever made. A statement that still holds up to this day. The storyline is intriguing from start to finish, as a player you can be whoever you want and deal with every situation in every way imaginable. It’s like playing a pen-and-paper RPG on your home console and even after all these years that’s still great.
Icewind: Dale, PlaneScape: Torment and both Baldur’s Gate games are classics in every meaning of the word. The remastered versions might not have added much, but bringing the backbone of the RPG genre to a whole new audience is something worth applauding at least, for they are still as charming and well-though out as when they were written over two decades ago.
Rating: 7/10 - Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows, Nintendo Switch - Developer: Beamdog - Publisher: Skybound Games - Price: €49,99