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I would like to see everyone's opinion, concerning which Infinity Engine game they think is best, with progression towards which one they think is poor in performance! I will begin:

Baldur's Gate 2>Icewind Dale 1>Baldur's Gate 1>Planescape Torment>Icewind Dale 2

I have not played the Planescape yet, but all the other 4 i did. I finished the entire BG saga once (now on my second playthrough). I am in middle of Icewind Dale and i enjoy it pretty much! I detested Icewind Dale 2 and its abhorrent 3d edition ruleset. And sometime later, i might consider playing through the Torment... Now your turn! I want to hear as many opinions and ratings as possible!
For me it would go somehow like this:

Icewind Dale 2>Planescape:Torment=Baldur's Gate2>Icewind Dale>Baldur's Gate 1

I think I'm in the minority with this, but I actually really enjoy IWD2, mostly because the 3rd ed. rules allow for a lot more options in party building and character development, and I like the combat in the game (which is handy because that's all there is to it). plus the occasional race/alignment/class specific dialogue option was a nice touch. And Dreadmaster of Bane is a really fun character to have in your party.

I've played BG2 so many times in my younger days that now I can't really get myself to play it anymore, since it has lost all of it's novelty and surprises for me, and I am not that big of a fan of 2nd ed. rules anymore. While the story in PS:T is interesting and I enjoy the setting, I dislike all the uneventful boring walking from point A to B to C...etc. and the combat encounters in it so much that I was unable to finish it more than once.

IWD1 and BG1...Both are rather combat-heavy and both use 2nd ed. rules, but since I get to create all six members of the party myself and because I prefer the Spine of the World over the Sword Coast, I place IWD1 above BG1 on my list.

These are only my personal preferences though, and I'm curious to see what others will have to say about theirs.
Post edited September 06, 2013 by szablev
The 2nd Infinity Engine version used in Baldur's Gate ||: Shadows of Amn is definitely the improved version.
In listed order of preference, from best to worst.

Love:
Baldur's Gate & TotSC
Baldur's Gate without TotSC

Like a lot:
Baldur's Gate 2 SoA
Icewind Dale (with IWD NPCs)

Take or leave:
Icewind Dale (without IWD NPCs)

Cannot get into, hence middle ground standing:
Planescape Torment

Detest:
Icewind Dale 2
Baldur's Gate ToB

Ashamed to own it:
Baldur's Gate Enhanced Edition
I'd agree on Baldur's Gate 2 as the best of the bunch.

Second place is a little tough. In fact, so is third... I'm tempted to put a 3-way tie between Baldur's Gate 1, Icewind Dale 1, and Icewind Dale 2. All were good games with their own strengths and weaknesses, but not quite as good as BG2.

Planescape Torment was a good game, not knocking it, just didn't like it as much as the others.
I detested Icewind Dale 2 and its abhorrent 3d edition ruleset.
Go figure; I find the 3rd edition rules a vast improvement in almost every way.
I forgot about the enhanced Edition. I played it a little, decided to abandon and not to buy it. If i owned it, i would be ashamed of it, too! Plus, it has way too many fixes over the original, mostly to beneficial broken things, like the xp loophole exploits and the absence of summoned creatures cap.

Interesting so far. Others?
Post edited September 06, 2013 by KiNgBrAdLeY7
Depends what you're looking at: story, combat, rule set, a combination? My list would change depending on what criteria you set forth. Just as a generic listing:

Love:
Baldur's Gate
Icewind Dale

Like a lot:
Baldur's Gate 2
Planescape Torment
IWD2


*edit* How can you rate PS:T without having played it?
Post edited September 06, 2013 by Coelocanth
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Coelocanth: *edit* How can you rate PS:T without having played it?
Just because i did not like ID2 not the least bit, i immediately placed it one step before it... -_-
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KiNgBrAdLeY7: Just because i did not like ID2 not the least bit, i immediately placed it one step before it... -_-
lol - okay, fair enough.
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KiNgBrAdLeY7: Plus, it has way too many fixes over the original, mostly to beneficial broken things, like the xp loophole exploits and the absence of summoned creatures cap.
Oh, I can't tell you how happy this comment makes me.
Planescape Torment > Icewind Dale 2 > Icewind Dale > Baldur's Gate > Baldur's Gate 2
I'm a huge story guy So I had a blast with torment which is my #1

1) Planescape Torment

2) Baldur's Gate 2

3) Baldur's Gate


I haven't played the IWD games yet but I plan to someday but will most likely use the npc mod that adds story/dialog to the follower npcs... Without it the combat probably wouldn't be enough to keep me playing
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KiNgBrAdLeY7: Plus, it has way too many fixes over the original, mostly to beneficial broken things, like the xp loophole exploits and the absence of summoned creatures cap.
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pcamagna: Oh, I can't tell you how happy this comment makes me.
+1
The problem with rating these games is that they are all reflective of wildly differing DM styles, or at least that's my impression from playing Icewind Dale, Planescape Torment, Baldur's Gate and the part of Baldur's Gate 2 I have managed to get through. Icewind Dale's DM is one who is running his campaign out of the most rigid pre-published module to the letter, with the story never once attempting to engage any of the PCs individually in the story by giving them any stakes or advancement of their character arcs and instead existing purely to be in service of providing dungeon after dungeon to pillage in much the same way that the plot of a porn film only has a plot to string together sequences of shagging.

Baldur's Gate was certainly better in getting away from the overly linear structure of the world and attempting to develop a character arc for the player's PC and trying to provide character for each party member, but the plot took too long to provide the main character with any sense of investment, individual party members promptly turned into virtual blank slates once they joined the party, and too much of the earlier portions of the game seemed dedicated to making the characters wander aimlessly to looking for gear (as opposed to following up on rumors) and delving into dungeons that had nothing to do with the plot in order to find equipment to give them halfway decent odds at survival; furthermore, while complete and total linearity in IWD was annoying, BG was so open ended that it was in danger of passing the poing where it started to harm the narrative structure (a problem that plagues some of the early Ultima games).

BG 2 seemed to improve on the non-characters in BG, but its strategy for doing so thus far is to constantly have the PCs dump lines of text at the slightest provocation at the most inappropriate times, with party members engaging in ham-fisted melodrama during what should be a tense and exciting jailbreak sequence; maybe this isn't the case for the rest of the game, but my initial impression of the storytelling is not exactly favorable.

Planescape Torment is the kind of PnP game I have always wanted to be in and am currently in the process of planning, where role-playing is the main focus and combat comes into play only where appropriate to serve the story as opposed to coming up with contrived reasons for monsters to fight the party every other five minutes or having the combat exist solely as a means to acquire more magic gear to improve at combat (and on and on in a perverse cycle of circularity akin to why a WoW player raids), the story both rises above the tropes that plague standard fantasy (an oxymoron if ever there was one) transcends above mere genre storytelling to tell a meaningful tale that touches on fundamental issues of philosophy and storytelling. Most importantly, when combat comes up, the story never once feels foisted into the player via unskippable dialogue with party members and exposition in the middle of what should be an action scene, with exposition feeling entirely natural and largely optional.

tl;dr: PT>BG2 (first impression)>BG>IWD, because I like playing with DMs who make a roleplaying game focus on roleplaying and narrative.
Post edited September 07, 2013 by Jonesy89
Icewind Dale (2000), Icewind Dale: Heart of Winter (2001), and Icewind Dale: Heart of Winter: Trials of the Luremaster (2001)
Planescape: Torment (1999)
Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn (2000) and Baldur's Gate II: Throne of Bhaal (2001)
Baldur's Gate (1998) and Baldur's Gate: Tales of the Sword Coast (1999)
Konung 2: Blood of Titans (2004)
Konung: Legends of the North (2000)
Icewind Dale II (2002)

Haven't Played

Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition (2012)
Baldur's Gate II: Enhanced Edition (TBA)