Gamers Nexus has provided us with their impressions of Baldur's Gate II Redux, the ambitious project that seeks to recreate BioWare's finest achievement in the Dragon Age: Origins engine. At the moment, only Irenicus' opening dungeon is available, so that's what the article focuses on:
Players will find themselves once again in Irenicus' Dungeon, instantly greeted by the original game's cinematic and voice-over, re-created cut-scenes, and those agonizing magical experiments that were so horrifyingly cast upon our hero. The camera zoomed in on my nemesis and panned carefully around his most noticeable feature: the scars. Yes, you remember them well. Maniacal laughter reverberated from within the walls of the dungeon, vibrating further down the bars of your cage; that's what we felt like when playing the original Baldur's Gate, and staggeringly, the same powerful feelings were summoned forth by a remake using the Dragon Age engine. The cut-scenes, tailored by film student Tom Uram, flow beautifully with the sound effects and music. I found the events to be sequenced exactly as they were in the original game, so veterans will instantly gain their footing within their graphically-enhanced bodies. In addition to existing Dragon Age resources, the team had to include new creatures, rooms, props, textures, icons, and models to fully simulate the BG2 experience. Class kits, alignments, and player voices have not yet been integrated.
Room positioning and descriptions are satisfyingly accurate, especially given the unique restrictions of the Dragon Age engine. The lore and dialogue of Baldur's Gate 2 are large contributors to its cult-like following, and thankfully, it was all transcribed manually into the mod. Even those pesky goblins and their bows have returned to the damp, squeezed corridors of Irenicus' Dungeon, stripping you of every last potion and hit point possible. The level design encourages players to enter offshoot rooms in hopes of finding spots to rest or loot, commonly resulting in an encounter with puzzles and their associated bosses. The boss fights feel just as challenging as they did the first time around, only this time, you can see the whites in their eyes - and it's not just the pixels blurring! I struggled almost as much as I had years ago, but a few quickly-discovered balance exploits eased my passing within the underground complex. I'm told the few remaining balance issues are being worked on presently, so keep an eye out for future updates.