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IWD2 - the good and the bad

Discussion in 'Icewind Dale 2' started by hannibal555, Nov 19, 2010.

  1. TS_Hawk Gems: 2/31
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    oh god i forgot about that. its been 8 years since i played this game.
     
  2. hannibal555 Gems: 9/31
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    Well I managed to do the 8 chambers quest and am to go to the underdark now.
    Put all together, the game is fun, it is only a few small things that go on my nerves, like this fell wood maze.
    But I really will use wilderness lore next time, that's granted :).
    I use it now with my druid in different areas and am impressed with the nicely done decriptions it gives.

    One other thing I find annoying is the ambush style of enemy setups that occur sometimes. Even when I scout with my rogue beforehand and seem to know where they are, if you engage them in combat, out of nowhere there appear more of them behind your lines.
    An example are the hook horror battles, which I found especially boring also because of their sheer number.It felt a bit more like grinding.

    But overall I like the battles.
    I still prefer the 2nd edition rules over 3rd as realized in the infinity engine, but I guess that's a matter of taste.
     
  3. Silvery

    Silvery I won't pretend to be your friend coz I'm just not ★ SPS Account Holder Veteran

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    The problem with the hook horrors is that they hang from the ceiling IIRC. There's also the barbarians at the stone gate that appear hen you siccessfully complete it. It's annoying but part of the game
     
  4. Déise

    Déise Both happy and miserable, without the happy part!

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    I actually like being surrounded occassionally. It makes it more tactical. It also presents a danger to just leaving the mages at the back, I usually kept my non-combat cleric at the very back so she could try and hold up any suprise attacks.
     
  5. Susipaisti

    Susipaisti Maybe if I just sleep... Veteran

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    I'm fairly certain this is not true. Otherwise, going through Fell Wood relying on Wilderness Lore would be a nightmare. I've done it several times with no problems.
     
  6. Silvery

    Silvery I won't pretend to be your friend coz I'm just not ★ SPS Account Holder Veteran

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    Ditto
     
  7. Dr_Asik Gems: 6/31
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    Now that I finally finished it, here's my take on its weaknesses (it's a great game overall!):

    - The Battle Squares is the worst idea I've ever seen in an RPG. 250 solo battles at a relatively low level is simply not fun.
    - Wilderness Lore should not be a feat. From a role-playing perspective, it's fun, but from a practical perspective it doesn't bring any tangible benefit (except for screwing you up in the Fell Wood if you didn't take a few points in it). I think Wilderness Lore should be a skill all warrior classes gain or something like that, to ensure everyone has access to it (so they can find their way through the Fell Wood).
    - The final battle is really meh. I remember Belhifet giving me a lot more trouble than Isair and Madae ever did.
    - No hardware acceleration like BG2 and IWD1 had. This is the cause of slowdowns everyone's reporting and I've been hit by that too. It also makes the fog of war look primitive (BG1-style).
    - Surprisingly, areas are not as detailed as in IWD1. I just fired up IWD1 last night and I was in awe of just how many "floating text clickables" (I'll call them like that) there are in many regions, and how IWD1 somehow conveys a better atmosphere. You really feel like it's cold and harsh out there.
    - I don't like the narrator, the one in IWD1 did a terrific job IMO.
    - Although the new town themes are excellent (the two Targos themes + Kuldahar Outpost), the rest of the music is really not as good as Jeremy Soule's work in IWD1.
    - The theme music is a weird mix of the BG1 and IWD1 themes.
    - There is practically no battle music at all. This was probably by design rather than time constraints, but it's not a design choice I agree with.
    - It never snows! I know that weather effect was never too realistic (in IWD1 and BG1), but it did suggest that in Icewind Dale, there are, you know, snowfalls. :p
    - There are no expansions.
    - A party of six companions doesn't advance enough to access the highest level spells in a single campaign run on normal difficulty. BG2 had the same issue before the expansion came out. IWD2 has no expansion so you're stuck replaying the game on a higher difficulty.
     
    coineineagh likes this.
  8. coineineagh

    coineineagh I wish for a horde to overrun my enemies Resourceful Adored Veteran

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    [​IMG] Dr Asik, I agree with you on most points, especially the Battle Squares:mad:.
    But not about the music. IWD2's soundtrack has received a higher critical acclaim than IWD1. The hardware problem is unfortunate, though my greatest inconvenience was that it was difficult to click pause between conversation and battle. Also, you don't get more XP for playing on a higher difficulty:p. So either you're referring to the Heart of Fury 2nd run with a party, or you mean using a smaller party.

    :(I still think your walkthrough will be missing something if you haven't played Heart of Fury mode. This game is far more of a hack 'n slash than the other RPGs, meaning that combat is the most important feature. HoF-mode drastically alters the familiar fights, so it is both refreshing and challenging.
     
  9. Dr_Asik Gems: 6/31
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    Are you referring to Greg Kasavin saying it "perhaps even better" than IWD1's music? I don't agree with him on that point.

    First there's just a lot less of it. I have both soundtrack CDs. IWD1 is over an hour of music (not factoring in the expansions), IWD2 is under 30 minutes.

    Also it doesn't play nearly as often. Only some key battles in the game have music, and there's no ambient music either for large segments of the game (like the Underdark). So even if the music was much better, it wouldn't be as effective simply because it's not half as present in IWD2 as in IWD1.

    But I also prefer Jeremy Soule's work in general. It's more personal, emotional and atmospheric. IWD2's theme doesn't hold a candle to IWD1's theme for example. The IWD1 theme evokes the tribal drums of barbarians, the desolate landscapes of the Dale, the threat of malefic divine powers, it opens with a very effective crescendo and develops for a full 1min50 seconds. In comparison (because in itself, it is quite good) IWD2's theme is timid, it sounds canned, muted, it recycles the BG1 theme and ends abruptly before having really reached a convincing climax. Of course that's my subjective take on it and you may not agree with it.


    I am referring to HoF indeed. :p

    Well, I am considering making one or a few segments to show what HoF is. But then I really want to move on to some other projects. I have the NWN2:MotB Let's Play in parallel too. :D

    ---------- Added 2 hours, 43 minutes and 23 seconds later... ----------

    Since the thread title is "the good and the bad", and I just did "the bad", here's my take on "the good":

    - It's a friggin Black Isle game
    - Obviously, 3rd edition D&D rules. No more rolling dice for half an hour for each character. So much more potential for customization. Your characters feel unique and versatile.
    - Great variety in the environments. I was astonished to be sent to Chult in a game called Icewind Dale, but it happened.
    - Creative level design, for example the celebration every day in the temple of Chult, the Magma Chamber, the Fell Wood, etc. Really pushing the infinity engine to its limits.
    - Difficulty is very well scaled throughout.
    - Some really epic battles, for example the one in Kuldahar with Madae making a brief visit. Just when you think it's over, there's another massive wave of baddies.
    - The journal does keep you informed at all times of all important plot details, doing a better job at that than in IWD1 I think.
    - I regret IWD2's spell icons anytime I go back to another IE game.
    - They FINALLY got rid of the stupid Baldur's Gate 1 reputation system.
    - The new character voices, portraits, spells, UI, item icons, and I could probably go on, are all top-notch.
    - Lots of references to IWD1, very enjoyable for fans of the original
     
  10. Silvery

    Silvery I won't pretend to be your friend coz I'm just not ★ SPS Account Holder Veteran

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    Good greif, not another IWD2 walkthrough! :lol: There must be about 40000000 of them already!
     
  11. kmonster Gems: 24/31
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    You only have to fight one battle. The rest of the battle square battles is completely optional, just an additional challenge you can face or ignore.
    You don't have to do them at low level either. You can return just before leaving for Kuldahar with better equipment like +3 weapons bought from the Underdark merchants.
    You don't have to force yourself to win all battles immediately by doing save and reload orgies between battles, in my first playthrough I fought the battles until they got too difficult and returned for the rest after finishing Fell Wood, playing ironman style without saving and reloading the squares was challenging but didn't feel like work.
    For a replaying powergamer who forces himself to get every unimportant thing ASAP with reloading they might be horrible, but they can be a nice optional addition for roleplayers.

    It's no problem getting the highest spell level in the normal game. You only need one ECL character (or a character who has less experience because of being death for some time) to have the other party members reach level 17 which is enough to reach level 9 spells for wizards, clerics and druids.
     
  12. Dr_Asik Gems: 6/31
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    Well it's far from obvious you'll be able to do them later in the game unless you're using a walkthrough. Yes Nickademus sorts of implies that but it's really unclear. If you're like me and are simply curious to see what the big reward is, and/or cannot live with the psychological burden of having potentially missed some of the best items/xp rewards in the game (you don't know until you've done it), you have to go through it.

    And even at a higher level it's not much fun either, it's just relatively shorter (it's still 250 duels).


    I just completed the game with the UPP, doing every quest. About half-way through the Severed Hand, my two clerics indeed gained one level 9 spell per day. My drow wizard barely reached lvl8 and my two sorcerers (one human, one aasimar) are stuck at lvl8 spells as well. So yeah, I guess saying you don't reach level 9 spells is incorrect. You barely brush them for a few minutes before the final fight. I'm still not happy with that.
     
  13. spmdw45 Gems: 8/31
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    The real problem IMHO with the Fell Woods is the way certain areas of he wood don't open up until you go back to the village for a new quest. E.g. if you think it's possible to find the drinking horn right off, you will exercise your mapping skills and tricks (drop items on the ground in strategic locations, etc.) and get frustrated because there's no way to find it. IMHO that part of the game is poor game design.

    -Max

    ---------- Added 0 hours, 8 minutes and 5 seconds later... ----------

    250 duels with an awkward and unreliable UI for selecting squares, no less. When the majority of the pain comes from the UI instead of the game, that's when I say "Skip it" and reach for the mod.

    -Max

    ---------- Added 0 hours, 0 minutes and 47 seconds later... ----------

    250 duels with an awkward and unreliable UI for selecting squares, no less. When the majority of the pain comes from the UI instead of the game, that's when I say "Skip it" and reach for the mod.

    -Max
     
  14. TS_Hawk Gems: 2/31
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    I can see where some arguements are with this game but I was playing DnD on PnP long before these games came out. Dr. Asik has a point about Wilderness Lore being a feat it isn't a feat its general knowledge of an area. there are other issues that i have with 3rd edition or 3.5 and even 4th edition. so please don't get me started :p
     
  15. Dr_Asik Gems: 6/31
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    Well, what really annoys me about Wilderness Lore is having to spend several points in it and you don't really know how many are needed, do you get more info the more points you have, etc, it's an unclear mechanic. It would be ok if it was a feat you can only take once.
     
  16. Rawgrim Gems: 21/31
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    Its a skill in the pen and paper version of d&d. Since its something that can improve over time, its set as a skill. Wouldn`t make sense if you could learn how to survive in the wilderness, wich plants you can eat, when certain plants are in bloom or not, what kind of animal or bird this and that is, and so on, in one go.

    That being said...there are plenty of skills that shouldn`t be skills in d&d however. Listen is one of those. Killing tons of monsters increases your capacity to hear...Jump is another one. Its pretty much useless, since a character can only jump a certain distance anyway, based on their own size.
     
  17. TS_Hawk Gems: 2/31
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    Here are some things Rangers can cast druidic spells in PnP but when it comes to this game and I don't remember if you can do it in the original or not BUT for certain my ranger has spells to cast but is unable to cast them?

    Also another thing is you can't backstab or use those feats for thieves.
     
  18. Rawgrim Gems: 21/31
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    You need 14 Wis to cast all the ranger spells in 3rd edition. 11 for first level spells, 12 for second level, and so on.

    Backstab doesn`t excist in 3ed either, instead you have sneak attack. Sneak attack only works if you are flanking your target, or if you are using a bow and flanking, you get a sneak attack if you fire from within 30 feet. The logic of the latter escapes me, as the sneak attack is kind of the same as a critical hit, and should be based on where you hit, not from what distance you fire from.
     
  19. NguyenGiaThai Gems: 3/31
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    IWD2 music might be quite bad indeed.

    I have several times where I was forced to turn off music. I have noticed that several of my sessions become longer if I had music turn way down. This is inconsistent with my IWD1 or BG1/2 experiences.

    Based on my own gaming experience, I have to say IWD2 music is a step back from the level of the other three games.
     
  20. Yoshimo's Heart Gems: 12/31
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    One thing I wish for the game was that it came out earlier. If it did it might have gotten the AD&D rule set and that was better for these games.

    Due to when it came out IWD2 got the 3e rule set and an incomplete version of it and that really hurts the game. It also led to the weirdness that is the XP system in IWD2 which needs to be taken out back and shot.
     
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