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RyaReisender: (I get bored from reading too much).
You must be young.
Nope not really, I'm 30. But I never enjoyed reading much.
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RyaReisender: Nope not really, I'm 30. But I never enjoyed reading much.
An 80's child. You're young.
The answer to this: none of them.

Neverwinter night's 2 and Planescape: torment are the best RPG around that uses BG's engine.

Now, if I must ABSOLUTELY choose between Icewind Dale and Baldur's Gate... Well, my heart goes to Baldur's Gate.

As said before, less linear, more roleplay. But what most posts seemed to forgot entirely, is the possiblity, in BG 1 & 2, to play an evil caracter.

With an evil agenda on its own. With an evil-oriented ending. With evil-related dialogue options which are completely different from the good- or neutral-aligned. With evil-related powers gained. With evil cutscenes.

Playing an evil caracter is harder, especially since most companions (minions?) you pick are good or neutral. Most, but not all - in both BG1 ang BG2, you can create a balanced party of evil-only caracters - and it's super fun, and super different.

Try it. Play an evil caracter in Icewind dale? Pfffttt. The only thing that changes are a couple dialogues lines oriented toward mercenary attitude - which is quite poor, compared to what BG 1 & 2 have to offer.

After that, try an evil caracter in neverwinter night 2: mask of the betrayer expansion, devourer-oriented. It's even more epic.
I like Baldur's Gate a bit more. It's more RPGy, while Icewind Dale is more action RPGy. They focus on different things, and Baldur's Gate just scratches my itch just a tiny bit better. But I enjoyed both series.

There might be a nostalgia component - I played all these games within year or two of their release, but BG1 was the first of them.
I remember that I hated it - my characters were weaklings dying in every fight. But then I spend around 10 hours playing it nevertheless - still old good times. Boxes, CDs, pocket money (small at that). I just felt that I must try, because I've spent a fair amount of cash, and besides friends in school enjoyed this game.

After above said ten hours I got some feeling about mechanics of the game, I knew that sometimes it's better to run and so on. No internet then so no walk-troughs or guides. Figuring all by myself. And then I got completely sucked in.
Icewind Dale was simpler now that I knew engine, and it was easier, so maybe there's no component of hating it at first. It wasn't as much story driven and was more linear too. And I don't like linear that much.

There's at least one game missing and that's Planescape:Torment. It's even more story driven that BG, and it's so different that I can't compare them. I love both Baldur's Gate series and Torment but that's just asking if I like raspberries or pears more. Depends on day.

Now I remember that I haven't beaten IWD2. I got to last fight but wasn't strong enough. I must finish it one of these days.
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spektroskopista: Now I remember that I haven't beaten IWD2. I got to last fight but wasn't strong enough. I must finish it one of these days.
...or maybe your dice rolls were not in your favor.

:)
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spektroskopista: There might be a nostalgia component - I played all these games within year or two of their release, but BG1 was the first of them.
I remember that I hated it - my characters were weaklings dying in every fight. But then I spend around 10 hours playing it nevertheless - still old good times. Boxes, CDs, pocket money (small at that). I just felt that I must try, because I've spent a fair amount of cash, and besides friends in school enjoyed this game.
Level 1 characters in BG1 were squishy as hell, even fighters but once you leveled up, you essentially doubled your hit points which made continuing the game a lot easier. You just had to get over that hump

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spektroskopista: After above said ten hours I got some feeling about mechanics of the game, I knew that sometimes it's better to run and so on. No internet then so no walk-troughs or guides. Figuring all by myself. And then I got completely sucked in.
Icewind Dale was simpler now that I knew engine, and it was easier, so maybe there's no component of hating it at first. It wasn't as much story driven and was more linear too. And I don't like linear that much.
Errrrr, BG is also linear, especially BG2, unless the nigh empty wilderness areas in BG1 counts as open.

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spektroskopista: Now I remember that I haven't beaten IWD2. I got to last fight but wasn't strong enough. I must finish it one of these days.
One thing you can do when the final fight starts is use a scroll of "Protection from Magic" on Isair and just start hammering him. He goes down pretty quick, even with a gimped party :D
I really need to start reading these forums more with all the good comments and information.
I had always thought Icewind Dale wouldn't be my type of game (while BG definitely is) but reading thru this thread, I've completely changed my mind and will be getting it next time it goes on sale.

Lots of passion in this thread! Thanks to everyone who commented here.
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IwubCheeze: Errrrr, BG is also linear, especially BG2, unless the nigh empty wilderness areas in BG1 counts as open.
Well, yes. That's what I had in mind - in BG1 you can explore almost whole map without following main quest. And then when you finally get to Baldur's Gate it's all accessible. It's less possible in BG2, but in IWD you have to visit new locations in specific order (If I remember correctly). BG2 restricts somewhat which locations you can access but still there is plenty of choices within what's accessible. Throne of Baal is mostly linear. And in IWD2 this is again certain order that is enforced. But as in this case this makes sense I don't mind (that much).

Thanks for advice, but I lost my saves ages ago, and I have to replay from scratch.

Besides this is one of problems I got starting with BG1. In my play-troughs I stuck with default team that is my mage, Imoen, Jaheira and Khalid, Minsc and Dynaheir. No cleric here. Jaheira is druid, but this does not give her full set of clerical magic. My knowledge of clerical magic was lacking. I later learned how useful can it be, but it was quite late in the process.
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spektroskopista: Well, yes. That's what I had in mind - in BG1 you can explore almost whole map without following main quest. And then when you finally get to Baldur's Gate it's all accessible. It's less possible in BG2, but in IWD you have to visit new locations in specific order (If I remember correctly). BG2 restricts somewhat which locations you can access but still there is plenty of choices within what's accessible. Throne of Baal is mostly linear. And in IWD2 this is again certain order that is enforced. But as in this case this makes sense I don't mind (that much).
In BG2, the areas outside of Athkatla were just for side quests. You are right that you can choose which order to do them in but the end result will still be the same as you would be doing them all anyways, that is unless you wanted to be underleveled when leaving for Spellhold. In IWD, you did indeed have to visit locations in a specific order except for when you wanted to start the expansion areas and skipping parts of Wyrms Tooth in favour of starting Lower Dorn's Deep.


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spektroskopista: Besides this is one of problems I got starting with BG1. In my play-troughs I stuck with default team that is my mage, Imoen, Jaheira and Khalid, Minsc and Dynaheir. No cleric here. Jaheira is druid, but this does not give her full set of clerical magic. My knowledge of clerical magic was lacking. I later learned how useful can it be, but it was quite late in the process.
Same, in my 3 playthroughs of BG1, I only ever had Jaheria for divine magic, I never bothered with any of the other divine magic using NPCs. That's why when I start my 4th run on BG1, I'm going to play a Ranger/Cleric and actually try using divine magic this time around. But, before I do that, I want to clear a few more games from my backlog :P
Baldur's Gate: Boring overall. No good story really, gameplay is meh, you are restricted to quite low level spells throughout the game IIRC (keep casting those low level healing spells to get HP back up).

Baldur's Gate 2: Much more engaging that the first BG, interesting characters, better story etc. My main complaint is how many of the encounters are of the rock-paper-scissors variety. If you didn't happen to have exactly the right protective spells, equipment etc. on, you'd be done for.

I recall having that problem especially with some demi-liches, but e.g. vampires were quite irritating too. If I faced vampires, I usually needed to reload the game, rearrange the spells (to get some "anti-vampiric" spells), and retry. It became more tedious than fun. Selection of spells was much more interesting in BG2 than in BG, as you had access to higher level spells now.

Dragons were pretty interesting adversaries. I had massive problems with the first dragon encounter (I was finally able to beat it by sheer luck, when I retracted into a small room and he teleported himself into there too, getting stuck to the furniture or something. So I just kept hitting him with arrows and spells until he was dead). I got so much more powerful with that encounter and good equipment too that the rest of the dragon encounters were quite easy IIRC.

In BG2, Minsc was able to crack me up several times with his "insightful" comments, more so than in BG1 with its simple "Go for the eyes, Boo!" yelps over and over again. Minsc was a bit meh in BG1, but hilarious in BG2.

Icewind Dale: I think I enjoyed it the most overall. It is a simpler game than BG2 and not much of a story (then again I felt the same about the first BG), but combat is more fulfilling, and none of that rock/papers/scissors crap either. The challenge in IWD became more of trying to control hordes of monsters, rather than one stupid demi-lich having some instant-death spell and you being unlucky enough to get hit by it.

I also liked the spells in IWD, I really liked casting some area damage druid and mage spells at incoming enemies.

Icewind Dale 2: Yet to play it properly. I'm still stuck in trying to make a "perfect" party. I thought I had it figured out based on the IWD party, but the ruleset seems quite different so I don't understand the importance of many skills or attributes.
Post edited February 23, 2015 by timppu