Baldur’s Gate: Siege of Dragonspear – the gap-filling expansion

Introducing the Baldur’s Gate: Siege of Dragonspear

Baldur’s Gate: Siege of Dragonspear is the newest expansion of the Baldur’s Gate saga. It is also the first story expansion of Baldur’s Gate after seventeen years, (The Baldur’s Gate: Tales of the Sword Coast came out in 1999), as well as the first expansion of the whole saga after 15 years. (Baldur’s Gate II: Throne of Bhaal came out in 2001.) So while this game is not really that “large” itself (with regard to overall playtime) as it is “only” an expansion, symbolically, it’s release is very important. The purpose of the Siege of Dragonspear game is to bridge the gap between Baldur’s Gate Enhanced Edition and Baldur’s Gate II Enhanced edition. It also proves that Beamdog (the developer) is perfectly capable of developing the upcoming Baldur’s Gate III, which they have already committed to. We’ve already reviewed the BGEE, and while BGIIEE has already been out for some time, my goal was to review the games in chronological order to provide for story continuity, so I opted to wait a while for the SoD expansion to come out.

Baldur's Gate: Siege of Dragonspear

The Siege of Dragonspear is brought to us from Beamdog, who was also responsible for the previous ‘Enhanced Editions’, but this is their first title developed from scratch. Just before the release, Beamdog updated the previous two games concurrent to SoD to version 2.0. The Siege of Dragonspear works as an add-on campaign to Baldur’s Gate Enhanced Edition,  so it’s actually more a part of the BGEE than it is a standalone game. You need to have BGEE installed in order to play it, and most of the fixes for BGEE also affect SoD. The version 2.0 update was the greatest one yet – it brought many hundreds of bug fixes for the engine and both games. Additionally, Beamdog added a new character class (the shaman), a new cleric kit (priest of Tyr) and modified some items to improve the balancing. The developers also set the weight of throwing daggers and ion stones to 0 (which helps a lot). Now you can also place a weapon/shield in the off-hand slot even if the character is using a two-handed weapon. It will not use the item until you manually remove the two-handed weapon or replace it with a single-handed one. Other notable changes are a redesigned user interface, which has new customization options as well as the ability to store saved games in the Steam cloud.

The Siege of Dragonspear itself introduces four new companions, tens of new weapons, different armors, boots, cloaks and many other items. That includes new ammunition items (darts, arrows, bullets, bolts). Shortly after its initial release, the 2.1 update followed which fixed some bugs in Dragonspear, but also also patched some bugs in the engine as well as the base games. Another major update was 2.2: more than 200 bugs have been fixed in both BGEE and SoD, and almost a hundred in BGIIEE. Many of the fixes include engine fixes as well. This was followed shortly after with 2.3, which is the latest version at this moment. It brought about 40 general fixes as well as enhancements to the tooltip graphics. As I stated in the BGEE review, Beamdog is taking maintaining these games very seriously indeed!

Siege of Dragonspear music

Just as with the BGEE review, I’d like to talk about the music first. Please click play below if you’d like to listen to the soundtrack while you read the review. There are 21 new tracks, though two of them sound pretty familiar to me and one includes a re-mixed part of the previous soundtrack. With regard to the sounds for game actions (combat etc.) – they’re the same as before and haven’t changed. In my opinion the music quality is good – it is faithful to the original score and holds well up to the overall high standard of music in Baldur’s Gate. As before, some of the dialogue (usually the important ones) are recorded by a real voice actor. It’s funny to me that the voice actor behind the Duke Belt character sounds a lot like Tim Russ (Tuvok from Start Trek Voyager), but it’s in fact someone else. My overall impression of the dialogue in general is that it’s OK. I often had the feeling while playing that the original development team had a hand in it. The combination of the austere but also fun element of the game is mostly ideal. Though occasionally some of it did feel almost a bit too forced (The jokes for example). But no two developers are alike of course, and I suppose that surely their main goal wasn’t to stay absolutely 100% true to the original games. Overall, considering all things, the dialogue in the game generally feels about right to me.

There was some controversy about some in-game dialogues relating to Gamergate. The developers have also been accused of “political correctness” and promoting LGBT stuff. While I can’t say I am a supporter of these new leftist ideas (and in fact, I even think they’re a major problem in the so called “Western societies”), I didn’t notice anything strange relating to it myself. I would even personally venture to say that those previous in-story gay romances introduced to BGEE seemed somewhat more over the edge for me. There are also some more storyline romance possibilities in Siege of Dragonspear. Though because of the nature of the game, even if you had an existing romance with a character previously in BGEE, you have to start at it again. That makes the whole situation a bit awkward. This also seems a bit forced to me. I understand it was necessary to implement it in this manner because of the nature of this game, but still I think the implementation could have been thought out better. More about that in later chapters, I do not want to spoil the game yet (-:


In terms of graphics, while the engine is the same, the interface has been updated. There are new graphics options especially for the multiplayer (scaling) since 2.2. I also noticed a strange thing in the version of the game in the form of huge black fog boundaries. Now with the 2.2 update, Beamdog added an option to enable or disable said boundaries. Thanks to this, you can now get the original feeling of the game back. They really make the game look strange, but I guess there might be some people who may actually want to see them. Another new feature is the possibility to highlight the parts of an area you may want to get to. This is nice. Also the interface for picking up items from the ground (or from bodies) has improved. But I cannot say I like the new diary style, which is supposedly better arranged and clearer. Yet I think quite the opposite in fact. Hopefully this will be addressed in the future as well. I like the previous style where dialogues and quests are separated. This new style where everything is combined together under game chapters is just crazy.


Here you may notice something strange – most of the game is in English, but some parts are in Czech which I have selected as the default game language in the settings. Though Beamdog is still slowly working on localizations, or to put it more precisely, fans are working on them and Beamdog is implementing it. But it’s far from complete, and so items or parts which were previously translated, based on the translations of the original BG/BGII games, are in Czech. But new texts are almost completely in English, at least for now. So most of SoD is in English only at the moment. By the way – I have no idea what this bottle of wine pictured below is for in SoD ;-) It is an item from the previous BGEE…


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