Baldur’s Gate Enhanced Edition: epic RPG on steroids


One would almost think there is no point introducing the Baldur’s Gate. Such an epic game, one of the best RPGs ever made (and possibly best fantasy RPG ever). But it is actually almost 17 years since the original game was published. So now it is a full generation time! We have to think about today’s kids, right? Most of them probably never heard about such great thing. And I understand that, the game must seem archaic to them pretty much the same way Musicassette or VHS does. But thanks to Beamdog we actually have great opportunity to remind them it is not dead. Quite unique thing has happened back in 2010…


Since the original publisher (Interplay via Black Isle Studios) was ruined and the rights went all the way to Atari, it has been re-released digitally after nearly twelve years. This is interesting as it is, very rarely old games are released again after such a long time (so in the end there is usually no way to legally get them anymore). This showed how great a game it still is after all those years. Trent Oster, a former co-founder of the BioWare (company which made the original game) and founder of Beamdog realised its full potential.

We should be grateful there are still people like Trent who are wiling to take the risk and show the world that the old-school ways from times when the game industry has been formed could still work even today. Otherwise, who would play such old game with archaic graphics anymore (than maybe the old gamers who played it back then)? It may be one of the best games of all time, but that was 17 years ago. Today’s standards are somewhere else for most players: graphics is the main thing, often the only one you can expect from many modern games. But Trent was able to negotiate the rights to remake the game and release it again as Baldur’s Gate Enhanced Edition.

The latest version brings over 400 fixes of different game bugs, new characters, new locations, new side quests and even an independent expansion. It brought romances previously available only in Baldur’s Gate II. It also introduced some new bugs but they still work on them together with the remaining ones, latest version of the game at this moment is 1.3 and it is still being worked on. It brought newer version of the Infinity Engine (previously available for first Baldur’s Gate only via modification), now upgraded to support high-resolution displays (even 800×600 is useless today). As even modern calculators can fulfill the hardware demands for a game from the year 1998, they even ported it not only for Linux but also iOS, Mac OS and even Android. Now you can play Baldur’s Gate on almost anything, which also brings more sales for Beamdog to continue developing great stuff.

Now, before we continue further, let me introduce you to the Baldur’s Gate sountrack. I think that if you will listen to this, I do not need to say anything else about the game music and sounds. It is just yet another fantastic part of the game. It comes from the time when video game music was slowly becoming a genre of its own so it is no surprise Black Isle invested in this a lot. Listen for youself, I recommend playing the music on background while going through the review☺


When we have dealt with music, I may as well just jump on the graphics right away. As I already implied, the original Infinity Engine is too obsolete for today’s standards, but the game has been switched to enhanced engine version from Baldur’s Gate II (which was previously possible only through manual extended modification). Now it also supports high-resolution displays – it basically shows more of the area on your screen. The graphics uses most-common and proven (but in 1998 not so much – it was new thing back than) isometric view, new function is you can zoom in or zoom out. The engine is a combination of prerendered 2D scene with functions to implement 3D objects on that, and the characters are than placed on top of all that. While the graphics is nothing spectacular, I think even in 2015 it can pretty much do for the game as it is. This game is not really about graphics you see. But it is not really ugly or something, textures do not have too low resolution so I think it does well.


The in-game movies have been supposedly fully remade to hand-painted animations, but I still have mixed feelings about them. At even just 1600×1200 resolution, the movies are heavily pixelated – this is one of the strongest bad feelings I got from the whole game. Beamdog should look into this once more, it is damaging the look of an otherwise great game. New chapter beginnings or things like dreams are implemented in a way of slowly running text, read by an English voice. Texts are now available in 13 languages other than English, but voices are all English only.

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