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Baldur's Gate 4 in 1 Boxset
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284 of 289 people found the following review helpful
on July 26, 2008
First off, any person who has played a bunch of computer games will tell you this: The amount of fun you have in a game, after say the first day of playing it, is totally irrelevant to the game's graphics. The BG collection is a good example.

I too think it is better than the Neverwinter series, for one main reason:

BG and especially BGII are extremely open and non-linear. Yes, of course the game has limits, but there are so many optional areas, quests, characters, and items, and more importantly, so many decisions you have to make in each play-through that open some doors and close others, that you can play this game probably ten times in a row and still discover fun new things.

Even concepts which seem like game-universe "laws" can be surpassed once you gain enough skill as a player. I'm not talking about cheating. For example, you might think the Cowled Wizards are impossible to resist when they arrest you, right? Nope, not for a creative tactician. Or, you might think that it's impossible to beat the game using just three, two, or even one single character. But it's actually very possible--just more intellectually challenging and rewarding. Most do that with a fighter/mage or fighter/thief, though, to get the maximum number of abilities. But you couldn't do it with a single, lonely armor-less kensai fighter, right? Think again...

The great thing about these "implied" challenges, in addition to every other normal challenge in the game, is that even though they are ridiculously difficult, you still don't need a cheat sheet to do them, because since the game contains hundreds of items, spells, and abilities, (access to all of which have a sort of "open this door and shut that one" style) there are still a million different ways to complete even the most difficult challenges.

This is why the Baldur's Gate games are huge fun the first time, for the above-average (not great) story, and even more the second and third, to explore all the variations and possibilities within that story.

Finally, a note for new players:
===============================
The only complaint I would have is that in order to play a Fighter character, you can't just choose one weapon specialization and go with it--you have to have advance knowledge of what weapons exist in order not to be stuck with crappy weapons during critical endgame duels.

If you are about to buy this game, let me tell you a few things that will save the need for the cheapening feeling of using a game guide or deciding to reboot your character halfway through:

-The one and only great 2-handed sword can only be used by Thieves and Paladins, though it comes early in the game. It is by far the best weapon in the game
-There is a good mix of low-to-mid level longswords, but few great ones
-There is only one good bastard sword and it comes late in the game
-There is only one good battle axe, and it is great, but it comes late in the game
-There are a good mix of low-to-high level Halberd weapons
-More attacks per round *usually* nets you more total damage than a higher damage per hit weapon, because all the different weapon types do not have a wide spread of damage ranges. I.E, most of the damage you do at a high level does not come from your weapon.
-Some liches can only be hit by +4 or higher weapons.
-NEVER be a sorcerer for your first playthrough...you will inevitably choose spells that sound good on paper but fall flat in practice...be a wizard instead, you will get more (real-life) experience that way.

That's it--all the rest you can figure out yourself, with a little patience and experimentation. Happy adventuring!
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73 of 75 people found the following review helpful
on February 10, 2010
I purchased this when I was on a retro-gaming kick a while back, and out of all the older games, I think this one stood out as the most enjoyable. Since there are plenty of older reviews detailing the game features, I would like to point out a few things about the distribution.

First, there is no printed manual, only a .pdf file contained on the disk. Also, the box itself is pretty flimsy, with the discs stacked on top of each other and held with rings that are too stiff. The way this is packaged makes the discs very prone to scratching, so I would inspect your discs first, then transfer them to another case. Compare this to the Diablo II box set which comes with a nicer jewel case and a booklet for about the same price, and you can see that Atari is treating this as a cheap-o product instead of the gaming classic it really is.

Secondly, installing on Windows Vista can be a pain. Don't do the auto-run install, or files will be missing and the game will crash. I did this originally and thought my discs were corrupted, but it was actually a Windows Vista problem. Find the setup.exe file by exploring the disc and right-click "run as administrator" and it should install properly. Do this for all 4-discs. If you are using 64-bit Vista it will be even more of challenge to get this installed. I recommend disabling autoplay altogether, and perhaps even installing from safe mode.

Thirdly, you SHOULD download and install (again, run as adminstrator) the Throne of Bhaal patch from Bioware's site. But DO NOT install the Tales of the Sword Coast patch. This version is essentially the same as the "original saga" version, so you don't need to patch it. If you do, the game will start asking for disc 6 or other discs, and you will have to uninstall then reinstall it.

Finally, there is a player-created unofficial mod called "Easy TuTu" you should download after you've played through it, if you decide to do another play through. It brings the features, including additional classes, kits and proficiencies of BG2 to BG1 so you can have a more enjoyable experience. Although it is a bit buggy, so I recommend your first playthrough of BG1 be the unmodded original game.

If you love role-playing games, or just looking for a retro PC gaming experience, then this is definitely worth the money, if with the aforementioned issues. The game is exceptionally fun, having a great story, as well as good tactical and varied combat that will having you comeback for many replays with different class and alignment combos.
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93 of 98 people found the following review helpful
on April 20, 2008
So you want to try out some of bio ware's older games? Here is a secret. These games are better than the recent Neverwinter series. "What?" you say, "How could you." Well it's true. Sure it has AD&D version 2 which is an older ruleset than the Neverwinter series has, but you won't care. I'll assume you don't need great graphics to enjoy a game. Why would you even consider buying a game from the late 90's if you cared about graphics right? So I'll say the graphics were great for it's time and now I will leave the graphics alone. So how is this game so good? The answer is open ended gameplay, great combat system, and a great quest system. Exploration is another great thing about this game. To fully explore every part of the world will take you a long time, and you will find many fun little battles along the way. You can stray off from the main quest to explore the wilderness if you want, and pretty much it is part of what makes this game so great. The game has simpler combat and character customization than NWN, but it is not a negative factor. Simplicity is not always a bad thing. In truth the combat isn't really simple, it is just simpler than NWN. So should you buy? Yeah. Baldur's Gate is a wonderful adventure and baldur's gate 2 is even better. It's time to go back in time.
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30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on April 14, 2010
While it will work just fine on my copy of XP Pro (SP3), it requires some work-arounds to get it there. Playing BGI without the TotSC expansion is buggy, but even after installing the expansion, you'll probably still need to go into your DirectX Diagnostic tool and switch off the DirectX features on the Display tab, as well as adjust a few in-game graphic settings. Otherwise you may get trails from your mouse along the edges of the screen, and flickering borders around your selected character's portrait.

Also, the volume on the sound seems artificially high whenever I load a game. Saving or quicksaving puts it back down to normal, so this is an easy fix.

I have yet to get to the second game (I've played it through many times before, but not with this box set), so I cannot yet comment on that.

Once you've found a solution that works however, you'll greatly enjoy this game. This is one of the best RPGs in history, and is still fun for me to play over a decade after its initial release and despite multiple play-throughs.

For the sake of full disclosure, I am using a GeForce 8500GT video card (driver v. 6.14...), with a Soundmax Digital Audio card (driver v. 5.12...). My DirectX version is 9.0c.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on June 24, 2011
Loved this game at original release, love it now. The big question I had was whether it would work with my OS Win7 64-bit, I took a chance, and it does. No problems, no running in compatibility mode, no add-ons, no dedicated processor. Just works.

UPDATE: This just in, Dungeons and Dragons Classic Anthology Kicks it up a notch, more games (Including Torment,Planescape) and Windows 7 in the description.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on March 14, 2008
The Baldur's Gate boxed set is a lot of role-playing for the money. I am not all the way through it yet, but estimate the full play-through time at 100 hours+. As a long-time D&D buff, I find the logic-puzzles and combat encounters entertaining and challenging. I recommend the set.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on February 18, 2009
First off let me just say that I have played all of the games included in this package except the first expansion.(Tales of Sword Coast) And I loved every minute of my adventures. I noticed some people talked about the graphics of the game as being bad when compared to Neverwinter Nights. The Infinity engine (Which all of the Baldurs Gate games use) is a 2d isometric engine and neverwinter nights has a 3d engine BUT, personal preference here, for an isometric top down scrolling game I enjoy the artistic quality of the 2d engine better... Its not 3d but for some reason I think its cooler; maybe its nastalgia but I think that because the 3d perception is done through 2d bitmaps painted to give the allusion of 3d and not texturised 3d models, it gives it more of a classy feel. I only feel this way about top down scroller style games; of course. I think the 3d models used today in games such as neverwinter nights and age of empires 3 for example (cotrasted with Baldurs Gate/BG2 and Age of Empires 2 respectively) feel more "chessy". The older 2d games have more personality and feel realer in a way even though they are dated and 2d. But that's just me. Oh, the only thing is that if you are going to play these games, I recommend playing them on a CRT monitor at like a 1024x768 resolution (I think BG2 supports 1024.768, BG1 only supports 800x600 or 640x480 but CRT's scale really well). Or play it on a an LCD with a lower native resolution then what most models have today. Let me just say that playing these games on new high res LCD monitors basically ruins them. The bitmaps, which can't be rendered at higher resolutions natively, just don't scale good enough to do them justice.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on August 4, 2009
For depth of story, flexibility to play it in so many different ways and sheer playability, this is probably the best series of games ever. I began playing BG about 10 years ago and have just started again. It has hooked me the second time as it did the first.

For the type of game it is (CRPG), the graphics were amazing for their time. Compared with current new releases, the graphics do not match up but there is a strong community of 'modders' that have helped keep this series fresh over the past decade. Higher resolutions can now be played. I strongly recommend visiting the websites of Spellhold Studios, Black Wyrm Lair, Gibberlings Three and the Pocket Plane Group. You will need to apply official patches to these games anyway, but adding BG1TuTu allows the game to be played seamlessly from BG1 thru BG2:TOB, using the BG2 engine. Other mods allow for additional quests and NPC that can enhance your gaming experience further. Just make sure to read instructions carefully to avoid compatibility issues.

For the number of hours playability, this is great value for money.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on January 5, 2011
Having played ALL the SSI Gold Box games, as well as an unhealthy amount of AD&D (mostly Ravenloft) during my high school years I think of myself as quite a D&D junkie, so the dearth of good D&D games hit me especially hard during the mid to late nineties; so you can imagine that Baldur's Gate was a godsend for me. It had a similar system to the Gold Box games, but the level of interaction was more akin to the Fallouts; here you didnt have to "fill in the gaps" with your own imagination; this was the complete package. Beautiful hand drawn graphics, a huge sprawling gameworld filled with "real" AD&D monsters & creatures, a truly epic storyline with lots of sidequests and the most memorable companions ever created for a RPG. The Gold Box games allowed you to create your own custom party to fit your needs, but in Baldur's Gate the npcs that joined you had their own voicesets, highly developed personalities and even their own agendas and reasons for hanging out with you. This was pure D&D heaven; I honestly thought it couldnt get better than this.
And then they released Baldur's Gate 2.
The few complaints I might have had with the first game were addresed in the sequel, and the things that were already great reached an unbeatable level. With upgraded graphics, a more accesible interface and an even better storyline, I was simply blown away with this game. While the first games in this list are all great games this was one of the first to make we really realize this was truly an unforgetable experience. This game had so many "oh" and "ah" moments it simply was a no brainer for making this list, and the tragic story of Jon Irenicus and his masterplan were the perfect vehicle for it. As an interesting sideline to this game theres two firsts for me that had a huge impact for me for future RPGs. I usually played party based games where you made your whole team of characters (like Darklands & Wizardry VII) and in single player games I usually tried to go for a "jack of all trades" type of main character (because I knew that there was not much variety in the games themselves for different profesions) save for the Quest for Glory & Fallout series where the choices of your charcater class did make a difference. In Baldur's Gate I made a conscious effort to try a different character type (plus the original D&D rules didnt have much flexibility for that; either you were a single classed human or a multiclass from another race) in this case I picked a straight up human wizard and for the first time in this type of games my main character wasnt the first guy in front of the battle, but the guy hanging out in the back strategicly taking out enemy magic users with a magic missle or buffing up my companions before battle. This actualy fitted this game perfectly and it was so enjoyable that it opened up a whole new perspective for me in future RPGs. The second "first" for me was the use of mods, the are pretty simple compared to what is beign done today, but actually tailoring the game to my likes was a mindblowing experience for me; having more character portraits and a few custom items gave way to the famous Romance Mod and such wonderfull stuff as the Unfinished Business mod (that added some of the original cut content the game) and even a mod that expanded the story of Jon Irenicus, plus it had a much more challenging final battle. The ultimate conclusion to the Baldur's Gate storyline was one of the most satisfing and fitting endings Ive ever experienced to this day in ANY medium.
The Baldur's Gate saga is to this day still highly playable and entertaining, and the only way to properly describe this game is EPIC. A must for any videogames fan.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on October 22, 2008
I played these when they first came out as I always wanted to play a D&D game...with attention...so it took me over three full years to go from beginning to end. Doing as many quests and plot diversions as I could, such fun...it was like playing inside a comic book.

About a year ago I discovered that the BGTuTu (strange name, but think of it as (Baldur's Gate to BG2) patch is an aftermarket add-on that not only fixes the remaining small minor bugs but lets you run the older BG1 game in the BG2 engine. All you needed to do was have all the games, like this set...and follow the lengthy, but simple instructions on how to put it all together.

Of course, I had to reinstall everything to try TuTu out..and now I'm a year into my next epic session..with all the benefits and better interface (and scripts and spell effects and audio)...with more than a year to go with all the extra quests and mods available from third parties.

In case you are wondering I chose a Paladin the first time around, as they are magnificent fighters and heal themselves easily and get bonuses against evil..and there's a whole lot of evil in Baldur's Gate. This time I chose the hardest of all classes: the multi-classed fighter, cleric, magic user. You need three times as much experience points to get to the highest levels and you get their three times as slowly. But, you are nine times as powerful when you get there! The ultimate long-term character for a great long-term game. I'll let you know how it turns out in 2010 or so.

Lastly, the audio and soundtrack from musical genius Jeremy Soule is probably the most sublime and inspired game soundtrack yet. Perfect orchestrations, moods, genre choice, and all original.
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