The editors at Elder Geek are worried that we may have missed some solid role-playing games over the past decade or so, and have taken it upon themselves to round up the best of the underdogs. Well, if you can consider Baldur's Gate, Baldur's Gate II, Icewind Dale, Icewind Dale II, and Star Wars: KotOR II as falling under the radar, anyway.
In 1998, most of us in the RPG-playing world were replaying Final Fantasy VII for the 300th time, completely ignoring Aeris from our party systems because we knew she was going to die. again. Some of us almost failed out of college due to chasing women and a minor Ultima Online addiction. But that year is when Bioware smashed onto the RPG scene and started its streak of amazing role playing games, some of which have made this list.
Booting up the game, players were greeted with a customizable character creation screen; one that not only let players choose what they looked like, but they could choose a voice and personality as well. I felt like Milhouse, when all I had done was entered my name.
Baldur's Gate 1 and 2's stories were rich and well developed. The atmosphere was dark and medieval which was a welcome change from the futuristic Final Fantasy VII, the post-apocalyptic Fallout, and the heavy-on-the-action, light-on-the-story Diablo.
To this day, the Baldur's Gate series is still worth your hard-earned pennies. Brand new copies are plentiful and relatively cheap. Used copies can be found just about anywhere. Graphically, it is no powerhouse, but the 2D, top-down approach never seems to get old for some. The voice acting though a little over the top at times is still decent by today's in-game voice acting standards. And the best part is, you can easily play it on almost ANY laptop or computer still in operation. Personally, I'd love to see these games ported over to the iPhone and Blackberry. They'd make perfect handheld games.
If you're one of the few people on the planet who hasn't played the Baldur's Gate series, it's never too late to install it and give it a try. If you enjoy Bioware's formula for Dungeon's & Dragons-style gameplay, which is present in almost all of their games including Mass Effect, you'll love playing the one that started it all: Baldur's Gate.