Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn Review

Article Index

Eschalon: Book II

Publisher:Interplay Entertainment
Developer:BioWare Corp.
Release Date:2000-09-24
Genre:
  • Role-Playing
Platforms: Theme: Perspective:
  • Isometric
Buy this Game: Amazon ebay
1998's "Game of the Year" and "RPG of the Year" award winner, Baldur's Gate, brought such a revolutionary mix of graphics and gameplay that people have been in an uproar to see a sequel ever since. The game provided every RPG and AD&D fan alike a means to escape to the world of Faerun, an intricate world set in the Forgotten Realms setting. Over the years, people have fallen in love with this world... a world where gods have been cast from the heavens and magic is the essence of life. They've grown accustomed to its people, learned of its environment, and have ultimately nurtured in the hope that the world would survive the forces of evil that continually plague it. For these very reasons, people wanted more of what Baldur's Gate was. They wanted a sequel, and two years later, BioWare has delivered to us what we craved. Does it live up to our expectations? Let's find out...

There really is something to be said about BioWare's Infinity engine. We've been exposed to the engine for several games now and I think that many of us have taken the graphics for granted. When I sit back and really look at BG2's detail, magnified by the higher resolutions now offered, it brings back the feeling of appreciation I had when I first played the original Baldur's Gate. Since then, a large number of refinements have been made to the engine and interface. Some have been subtle, but some have brought the eye candy and playability to a much higher standard, thus keeping us all coming back for more.

I really feel that BioWare has breathed life into their Infinity engine more than once. With Baldur's Gate II, they've brought even greater detail to the world of Faerun, without the demand of high-end video cards. From the chaotic dungeons of Spellhold to the magnificent gardens of Suldanesselar, one can really lose scope of the real world. They've accomplished what every game on the market hopes to obtain: immersion at its finest.

Probably the most overlooked elements of the game, the sound effects and music in Shadows of Amn contribute to almost every aspect of the game. With a good sound card and surround speakers, dungeon excursions really come to life. For instance, while traveling through the caverns of the Underdark, the music will create an ominous feeling to the place, giving you the sense that you are not alone. The enhancements to gameplay are simply fantastic.

The sound effects are of equal quality. The only drawback that can be found are that some of them have been used in BioWare RPGs previously. For instance, some of the character speech, such as inn and tavern patrons, has been reused. This is hardly a complaint, however, since I would much rather see them work on other aspects of the game than to have spent time refining some of the unimportant dialogue.
Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen - January 2021 Producer’s Letter
Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen - January 2021 Producer’s Letter

This year’s first producer’s letter for Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen lets


Fallout: New Vegas 2 Rumored to Be in the Works
Fallout: New Vegas 2 Rumored to Be in the Works

Obsidian’s Fallout: New Vegas is the closest 3D Fallouts ever got to


King’s Bounty II Preview and New Screenshots
King’s Bounty II Preview and New Screenshots

If everything goes according to plan, we’ll be getting our hands on


Ni-Oh 2 - Fumihiko Yasuda Interviews
Ni-Oh 2 - Fumihiko Yasuda Interviews

With the Complete Edition of Team Ninja’s Dark Souls-inspired action-RPG Ni-Oh 2


Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning Coming to Nintendo Switch
Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning Coming to Nintendo Switch

Last fall, THQ Nordic released Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning for PC, PlayStation


Guild Wars 2: The Icebrood Saga - Champions Chapter 2 “Power” Now Live
Guild Wars 2: The Icebrood Saga - Champions Chapter 2 “Power” Now Live

Guild Wars 2’s episodic Icebrood Saga is almost but not quite ready


S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 Development Update - A Gameplay Teaser and a New Hero
S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 Development Update - A Gameplay Teaser and a New Hero

A couple weeks back, we got a chance to check out a


Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic Retrospective
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic Retrospective

With Star Wars once again enjoying some time in the spotlight, PC


Alaloth: Champions of the Four Kingdoms Lore Update - The Dragons of Black and Gold
Alaloth: Champions of the Four Kingdoms Lore Update - The Dragons of Black and Gold

Gamera Interactive brings us a new lore update for their upcoming story-driven


New World Feature Overview
New World Feature Overview

Last summer, Amazon Game Studios delayed their upcoming age of exploration MMORPG


Gamedec Lore Highlight - Pain and Senses
Gamedec Lore Highlight - Pain and Senses

Virtual worlds are an integral part of Anshar Studios’ cyberpunk detective RPG


Monster Hunter: Rise Previews
Monster Hunter: Rise Previews

Earlier this month, Capcom launched a limited-time demo for Monster Hunter: Rise,


Werewolf: The Apocalypse - Earthblood Welcome to the Pack Dev Diary
Werewolf: The Apocalypse - Earthblood Welcome to the Pack Dev Diary

In a couple of weeks, Cyanide Studio will be releasing their World


Wasteland 3 - Fantasy Costumes Incoming
Wasteland 3 - Fantasy Costumes Incoming

The upcoming v1.3.0 patch for Wasteland 3 is expected to go live


Ni-Oh 2: Complete Edition PC Features Trailer
Ni-Oh 2: Complete Edition PC Features Trailer

The Complete Edition of Ni-Oh 2 will be arriving to Steam in