Baldur's Gate is easily the best computer game translation of the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons universe at the time of release (1998). BioWare uses AD&D 2nd edition rules, considered the most popular among players of the paper-and-pen games.
Character creation is the first and most important step in Baldur's Gate. In a single-player game, you create one character in a party of six, with the remaining five spots filled by non-player characters (NPCs). Typical AD&D options such as race, ability scores, class, alignment, weapon proficiencies and special abilities are included. The biggest differences between Baldur's Gate and previous AD&D computer games is that the charisma ability score and your character's alignment have an impact on the game, resulting in varied responses from NPCs. Your party's reputation, which changes based on your actions, is another item that changes the way a NPC views you. And while Baldur's Gate is broken into chapters which occur as certain tasks are completed, with so many sub-quests provided, you do not have to address the major problems of each chapter right away.
Interacting with characters is where your charisma and party's reputation really pays off. For example, at one point you meet a noble in the woods who is afraid of a bear. Killing that bear would result in a simple thanks if your character has low charisma, but, if your character has a high enough charisma that same noble will give you a pair of boots. While exploring, battles will take place in real-time, but the game can be paused to give characters orders, giving the game a turn-based feel. The game resumes if accessing an inventory screen, so you can't easily change a character's weapons once a battle begins. Overall, Baldur's Gate provides a highly enjoyable experience that draws a player in with impressive character interaction and a great storyline.
Graphics: Graphics are so detailed, if a character is equipped with a sword, you will see them holding a sword on the screen; even changing armor is completely noticeable. Changes from day to night are incredible. Since night affects battles, characters with infrared vision will fight better than characters without it. Explore at night and you will most likely miss a cave entrance. This makes exploring during the day that much more important.
Sound: Each character has their own voice and offers plenty of things to say. Battle calls are even shouted as each character rushes toward a monster! Environments are made more realistic with surrounding sounds like an eagle heard as it soars above you.
Enjoyment: The detailed characters and statistics in Baldur's Gate pull you into the game.
Replay Value: Five discs provide a large environment to explore and keep interest high. A multiplayer mode is also included that allows for up to six people to play via the Internet. Moreover, while multiplayer games contain the same storyline as the single-player game, it is still a different experience. Multiplayer games can also be played by one player, allowing you to create your own party if you have no interest in NPCs.
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