Icewind Dale Review

Article Index

Eschalon: Book II

Publisher:Interplay Entertainment
Developer:Black Isle Studios
Release Date:2000-06-29
Genre:
  • Role-Playing
Platforms: Theme: Perspective:
  • Isometric
Buy this Game: Amazon ebay

Before beginning this review, I would like to bring forth a little history of the game developers known as Black Isle and their repertoire of released games. In 1997, the company released Fallout, a game that started a running title of "RPG of the Year". The year after, using BioWare's Infinity engine, they released Baldur's Gate, bringing to every RPG and AD&D fan alike a revolutionary mix of excellent graphics and fantastic gameplay. The game would go down in history as 1998's "RPG of the Year".

Following the success of Baldur's Gate, Black Isle released yet another AD&D-based game, once again using the Infinity engine, called Planescape: Torment. This time, Black Isle took the graphics and gameplay of Baldur's Gate and added a storyline unequaled in any other game of its time. As the game progressed, there was an incredible sense of immersion, slowly unfolding the story and revealing areas of the character's past. It came as no shock that this impressive game once again gave Black Isle their "RPG of the Year" award for 1999. Now, in the year 2000, Black Isle has released Icewind Dale. How does this new title compare to its earlier contenders? Let's take a look...

BioWare's Infinity engine has made some additional progress since Baldur's Gate, giving Icewind Dale a familiar, yet more sophisticated look. One nicely added touch is the size of some of the adversaries in the game. Ettins, cyclops, and giants take up much more screen room in relation to your characters, adding an additional sense of realism to the game. Weapon effects, ranging from diseased halberds to flaming sling bullets, are also a welcome addition. Along with weapons, spells have also been given additional effects that didn't exist in Baldur's Gate. With the advent of a summoning restriction (you can only summon six creatures to your aid in Icewind Dale, whereas previous Black Isle RPGs didn't have a limit), combat is considerably fluid and only when letting loose a barrage of heavy spell casting and executing multiple weapon effects does the action slow down whatsoever.

One significant difference between the graphics of Baldur's Gate and Icewind Dale is their cinematics. This is one place that Icewind Dale truly shines. Throughout the game, you slowly unravel more of the story, narrated by an unseen reader out of an ancient tome. These cinematic sequences dazzle the eyes with candlelight flickering upon the pages of the book and the turning of each page in perfect animation. Together with the captivating storyline, the cinematics could almost be considered hypnotic at times.

Overall, BioWare's engine is a stable and excellent piece of work, but it does have a few drawbacks to its design. Most of these drawbacks can be attributed to the 640x480 resolution in a two-dimensional world that the engine has produced since its beginning. It's a bit behind the times and will hopefully be enhanced in future Black Isle RPGs.

Wizardry VI: Bane of the Cosmic Forge - Matt Chat
Wizardry VI: Bane of the Cosmic Forge - Matt Chat

Matt Barton takes a look at Sir-Tech’s Wizardry VI: Bane of the


Path of Exile: Echoes of the Atlas Lore and Patch Preview
Path of Exile: Echoes of the Atlas Lore and Patch Preview

Path of Exile’s latest Echoes of the Atlas expansion launched roughly ten


Dungeons & Dragons Online: Fables of the Feywild Official Soundtrack Available
Dungeons & Dragons Online: Fables of the Feywild Official Soundtrack Available

Standing Stone Games released the Fables of the Feywild expansion for Dungeons


Drox Operative 2 - Early Access Month 7 Update
Drox Operative 2 - Early Access Month 7 Update

This month’s early access update for Soldak Entertainment’s starship action-RPG Drox Operative


Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic Sequel Rumors
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic Sequel Rumors

Citing a number of insider sources and notable leakmongers, this VGC article


Fallout 76 - Inventory Update Incoming
Fallout 76 - Inventory Update Incoming

Bethesda’s multiplayer survival-RPG Fallout 76 will be getting its first content update


King Arthur: Knight’s Tale Pre-launch Update
King Arthur: Knight’s Tale Pre-launch Update

Following a brief delay, NeocoreGames’ tactical RPG King Arthur: Knight’s Tale is


Revolver Concept Art - BioWare’s Cancelled RPG
Revolver Concept Art - BioWare’s Cancelled RPG

BioWare’s martial arts-themed RPG Jade Empire was supposed to have a sequel


Cyberpunk 2077 Patch v1.1 Available
Cyberpunk 2077 Patch v1.1 Available

The PC version of CD Projekt’s Cyberpunk 2077 has received its first


Ni-Oh 2: Complete Edition Previews
Ni-Oh 2: Complete Edition Previews

Ni-Oh 2: Complete Edition will be coming to Steam on February 5,


System Shock Remastered Edition Update #76
System Shock Remastered Edition Update #76

Nightdive Studios will soon be opening pre-orders for System Shock Remastered Edition


Diablo II: Resurrected - Vicarious Visions Merged Into Blizzard
Diablo II: Resurrected - Vicarious Visions Merged Into Blizzard

Vicarious Visions, one of Activision’s teams notable for their recent Crash Bandicoot


Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous Physical Rewards Update
Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous Physical Rewards Update

Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous should be launching into beta later this


Ray Muzyka Interview
Ray Muzyka Interview

Following his retirement from BioWare, Ray Muzyka, one of the studio’s founders,


Werewolf: The Apocalypse - Earthblood The Essence of Rage Dev Diary
Werewolf: The Apocalypse - Earthblood The Essence of Rage Dev Diary

About a week ago, we got a chance to check out this