Hindsight: The Sword Coast Pt. 2

Last time I was delving into the depths of retro games rereleased I came to these conclusions:

  • Models look alright for a game by today’s standards if zoomed out. The textures though are just awful.
  • Things get too small, doors are easy to miss.
  • It is unforgiving like not many a game is today.

I mentioned, not so much in passing, my problems with choosing the people that I spend my journeys with.
Starting from the top, I could never leave my sister Imoen. The look on her face when I tell her to go, and stay away. I wouldn’t be able to bear that. Also, knowing beforehand that our fates are intertwined why would I let her go, playing lawful good that is. Otherwise I should’ve thought to kill her in the crib.
Khalid and Jaheira promised to stay with me as a favor to Gorion. Jaheira is really good with that druid stuff, and it’s too bad that she comes with the baggage of Khalid.
Finally, Minsc, which I have already spoken lengths about. It just wouldn’t be Baldur’s Gate without him.

This leaves but one slot for any other character. Realizing that this might be one of those things of nostalgia hindering me from looking at the game with new eyes I made the retro-emotion equivalent of hara kiri and dropped Khalid and Jaheira. Picked up Branwen, the lady in stone, and Rasaad, the monk. First time I ever had a monk in my party, and having no clue how they work I let him roam around, getting killed a lot.
Changing the characters made me realize that all of the characters lack serious depth. I get the reason why Branwen joined me, but that is the end. The new character Rasaad has more to give, as he is a new addition to the game and surmounts the standards of yesterday. But apart from the few quests that are personal like Minsc or Edwin there really is nothing to get from the characters. Having played Shadows of Amn, I know that it is improved there, but I guess I have to submit defeat to Mass Effect on that point. The characters there always seem to have something to say. Never liked the way you have to run around camp or ship talking to your crew though, seems too much like a cheap way of extending a game.

Leaving the trouble of fellowship we venture deeper into the plot. The Iron Throne that seems to lurk behind every band of mercenaries there are. On the way though the terrain I notice that almost every quest is a bit tacky. There’s the strange quest where you fetch a little girls cat from the waterfall, or the boy who lost his dog and turns out to be a demon. The dialogue is more of a joke at times, only really being serious in the main quest line. It is as expected though, being a game so thoroughly grounded within nerd culture.

////;::::;\\\\   ß This is as much of a picture of a spider as you will ever get from me.

I hate spiders. They are just a big mess of legs and eyes. Disgusting. And they are everywhere, in every fantasy game ever. The Sword Coast isn’t spared their presence. Following the main plot, I find myself in the spider infested forest, with the sick abomination that is phase spiders. They’re spiders that can walk between the Planes as they wish! If you were afraid of spiders before, just wait till they pop out of thin air and start munching on your back.

The fat man in the hut was cursed by Jon Irenicus! I’ve never picked up on that before. So apparently, there’s more connection to the sequel than I remembered. Rasaad has more since he’s from Athakatla and added later. But that doesn’t count.

Speaking of Rasaad, the Monk class is pretty much rubbish, balanced for the sequel none of the good abilities are within any xp reach. The extra speed often puts him in awkward situations. He’s an interesting bloke though, we’ll see if he stays around.

And speaking awkward speeds. The Boots of Speed are awesome. But only one character can wear them, so I have Minsc running around like crazy everywhere. Thought that I’d use haste for the party to keep up. But apparently they stack creating something very similar to a hamster.

I did rethink my actions and didn’t flush the mines with the workers still inside. And now – to Baldur’s Gate!


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