Icewind Dale: Enhanced Edition Review

Eschalon: Book II

Publisher:Beamdog
Developer:Overhaul Games
Release Date:2014-10-30
Genre:
  • Role-Playing
Platforms: Theme: Perspective:
  • Isometric
Buy this Game: Amazon ebay

 Bugs

One of the downsides to primarily writing walkthroughs these days is that I don't play as many games as I used to, and I still haven't gotten around to playing the enhanced editions of either of the Baldur's Gate games.  But from my understanding, those games were released with a lot of bugs that all but negated the improvements Beamdog added.

My experience with the Icewind Dale: Enhanced Edition is completely different.  I didn't encounter any broken quests or graphical glitches or crash bugs during the 50+ hours I spent with the game.  The closest I came to a bug was in Trials of the Luremaster when my party fought a djinni who cast the Whirlwind spell -- and the whirlwind effect never disappeared.  I had to leave the tower room I was in and then re-enter it to get the spell to go away.

So if you heard bad things about the first two enhanced editions and decided to stay away, that might have been the case then, but it's not the case now.  The Icewind Dale: Enhanced Edition worked great for me.

Conclusion

It's interesting going back and playing an old game.  Icewind Dale isn't wildly old, but even so it came from a time when developers didn't cater their games to the masses.  Just sitting down and playing a game didn't give you any sort of guarantee that you'd be able to finish it.  Many parts of Icewind Dale are extremely difficult -- even without the Heart of Fury mode, where monsters are smarter and more powerful -- and that's just not something you see any more.  So going back and playing Icewind Dale was a treat, even if sometimes I wanted to throw my mouse at somebody.

So if you haven't played Icewind Dale yet, then you should definitely give the Enhanced Edition a try.  The Infinity Engine games make up one of the cornerstones of CRPG history, and they're all worth playing.  But if you already own Icewind Dale, then the answer is a little more difficult because most of the enhancements are available for free from mods.  As I was playing the EE, I was sort of wondering why anybody with bother with it when they could just play a modded version of the original game, but then just like with my recent review for Xenonauts, I went back and tried playing the original game again, and I figured out the answer: the interface.

If you look at the screenshots for the EE, then its interface looks like it's exactly the same as the one for the original Icewind Dale, but it's not.  There are myriad improvements, some of which I've listed in this review, and combined they make playing the EE much more enjoyable than playing the original game, and without the need of installing mods and trying to get them to work together.  This makes it easy for me to recommend the Icewind Dale: Enhanced Edition whether you own the original game or not.