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Let's talk comparatively of Infinity Engine games and a few comparative ones

Discussion in 'Playground' started by Gentleman Margaret Thatcher, Apr 16, 2014.

  1. Gentleman Margaret Thatcher Gems: 1/31
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    First off, why is BG so much more popular than IWD2? One thing that I think about with regards to this is that IWD2 seems to be more popular in Russia. I live next to it.

    Now more in depth. I like IWD2 best. IWD1 is good, but not much better than the BG games for me. So why do I like IWD2? Because of the FREEDOM. 2e rules dont provide as much freedom, even with the kits. In IWD2 3e rules there are many viable possibilities as well as some non-viable and broken ones creating a strong metagame on top of an even stronger sandbox game. This is extreme depth of gameplay that I love about any and all my computer games.

    In baldurs gate, the kits try to mimick some of this in a fairly good way. Sadly you can only create 1 character at start and the rest of your party of around 6 people comes from a pool of only ~20 premade characters. In IWD2 the pool of characters is near infinite and this makes a big difference.

    Now I am going to hop onto a non infinity engine game, Konung 2. There you can choose from 6 premade characters and also hire other characters along the way to build a party - similar to Bladurs gate. The reason I feel even Konung 2 has more depth in terms of this is because every character starts in a different place on the map and is in a vastly different financial and power situation - from a prisoner-to-break-out to owning villages and mercenaries. Also unlike in baldurs gate you do not need to have a little of this (tanks) and a little of that (picking locks, heals?)in your party, giving you much more freedom in whom you hire and whom you dont.

    If one is to say that Baldurs gate is more of a roleplaying game than an ARPG then I say there isnt enough roleplaying freedom in there. Tabletop Dnd provides so much more RP freedom than what BG could ever dream of.

    So in conlusion that is my viewpoint on these games. What is your opinion?
     
  2. Marceror

    Marceror Chaos Shall Be Sown In Their Footsteps Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) BoM XenForo Migration Contributor [2015] (for helping support the migration to new forum software!)

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    My opinion of why BG is more popular than IWD is due to the memorable characters and storyline in BG. Whereas IWD2 is more of a dungeon crawl with few characters to connect to, and a storyline that was thrown together in a single weekend by Josh (JE back then) Sawyer.

    I love both series, but there's a lot more nostalgia for BG than IWD for me. I too prefer the 3E rule set, but that alone doesn't make the game.
     
  3. Blades of Vanatar

    Blades of Vanatar Vanatar will rise again Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    To me it is simply the ability to Mod the BG series in major ways as compared to the very minor IWD2 modding cpabilites is the reason why the BG series is the most beloved series of the two. The vanilla BG games were great. The amount of mods that added to the game expanded it in many directions and kept many playing it over and over for years.
     
  4. Marceror

    Marceror Chaos Shall Be Sown In Their Footsteps Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) BoM XenForo Migration Contributor [2015] (for helping support the migration to new forum software!)

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    An interesting observation BoV. Personally, I went for many years before I even bothered with a mod for either game, so while mods have helped BG in a number of regards for me also, they certainly aren't a primary factor.

    But I suppose every reply on this question is going to be a little different.
     
  5. SlickRCBD Gems: 25/31
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    I never understood why Planescape was such a flop, it was a great game too.
    I also liked IWD2, so I'm not sure either.

    What I'd like to hear is some recs for some non-D&D cRPGs from the same era or shortly afterwards that I might have missed that were comparable to the Baldur's Gate games.
    Things like Knights of the Old Republic, granted it was more the Neverwinter Nights era than the BG era.
     
  6. Marceror

    Marceror Chaos Shall Be Sown In Their Footsteps Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) BoM XenForo Migration Contributor [2015] (for helping support the migration to new forum software!)

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    PST was a masterpiece in my opinion. Less replay value than BG or even IWD, but whenever I do decide it's time for another play through, it's always an absolute treat. And must be played in Hi-res via mods.
     
  7. Blades of Vanatar

    Blades of Vanatar Vanatar will rise again Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    If were only discussing the Vanilla versions, I still rate the BG series above either IWD game when it comes to Overall satisfaction. The RPG element is big in my book and the storyline of you being the son of Bhaal is awesome and that is combined with Irenicus?! Greatness.....IWD1 & 2 are more of a dungeon crawl and have less RPG/choice-making. IWD2 has by far the best character builds though. 3E was very great for unlimited character builds. But both were still excellent games in my book.

    ---------- Added 0 hours, 3 minutes and 9 seconds later... ----------

    Wizardry 8 was great. Hands down. Magic and Tech mixed together and that is combined with a 6 man party. Awesomeness....:D

    Planescape wasn't a flop. IMHO, it was actually the best RPG of them all when considering the RPG element itself. It was lacking hack n slash, but still a great game. I mean, what other DnD game do you get to be an undying Frankenstein?
     
  8. T2Bruno

    T2Bruno The only source of knowledge is experience Distinguished Member ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Veteran New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    The BG series was better than IWD ... and IWD was better than IWD2. But then I like 2nd ed. rules better then 3rd ed.. For comparative games ... I agree that PST was probably the best CRPG I've ever played (close competition would be Ultima VII). Others that have similar playing dynamics would be Fallout, Fallout 2, and perhaps Arcanum (although I like the ability to somewhat control your minions in the BG games).
     
  9. henkie

    henkie Hammertime Resourceful Adored Veteran New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!)

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    I still replay BG 1&2 from time to time, though to me the most fun about it is to think out a party of characters and build it myself. That means a MP party. The banter with the NPCs is fun, but not the reason I would replay the game. That reason is to try new character builds.

    This is precisely why I liked NWN also. With the 3e rules there's a lot of freedom to create different builds. Unfortunately there's a much more limited amount of builds that can be considered good. Therefore, part of the fun is to find those optimal builds. On the other hand, with so many combinations to make, I could sometimes spend a lot of time thinking the builds out, making up drafts in my head to see what would work and what not.

    This is the problem I have with IWD2. It's a lot of fun to try different builds and there's so many combinations that I can make that could be good, but I want to think out the builds before I start. Of course, if I haven't played the game yet, I don't know very well what would work and what wouldn't, which adds a big hurdle for me to get started.

    Eventually I overcame the hurdle by taking the JUPP and using a few suggestions from there as a base. Still, the game (at least to start with) seems more difficult to me than BG.

    I like that in BG 1&2 I can just start a new game, a new party, a new idea and pretty much breeze through the game without too much difficulty. Knowing all the ins and outs and all the cheese helps, of course.

    So in the end, I come back more readily to BG because creating a party with interesting builds is easier (this of course also limits the number of times I can replay the game until I've exhausted all the interesting builds) and the game is easier. Basically BG is something I can play without too much thought and effort whereas IWD requires more effort (though it can be more satisfying for that).
     
  10. Blades of Vanatar

    Blades of Vanatar Vanatar will rise again Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    Yes, kind of..... but to play a tabletop version of BG would take you over a year to complete. That is what is exciting about CRPGs. You can experience in a few weeks, with restrictions of course, what takes forever in your tabetop gaming group. Usually gaming groups breakdown before your campaign ever comes to a completed state as reall life steps in. Such is life...
     
  11. henkie

    henkie Hammertime Resourceful Adored Veteran New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!)

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    Probably it does happen that way in PnP (I wouldn't know, I only learned there was such a thing as PnP when I first got to SP), but as is usual in Bioware games, there is a lot of apparent choice, when in actual fact there's very little real choice. This is of course true in many cRPGs, but it seems more pronounced in Bioware titles than in, say, Fallout or The Witcher.

    The feeling I get on replaying BG for the umpteenth time kind of relates to the Bioware options in this comic:
    [​IMG]

    I mean, how many different ways can I tell what's-his-face in Athkatla that I don't want to follow him to his home to hear the shadow thieves' proposal? Only to be forced to anyway.
    That whole multi-line, multi-choice dialog could be summarised in the following options:
    • Ok
    • Whatever (but ok anyway)
    • No I don't want to go with you (but I will anyway)
     
  12. Splunge

    Splunge Bhaal’s financial advisor Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    So according to the comic, Bioware's dialogue is both the best and the worst?

    Anyway, I played IWD1 a few times, but only played IWD2 once. I just felt it lacked character (likely due to no NPC interactions) compared to BG2. Being stuck with NPC classes isn't really an issue with the Level 1 NPC mod.

    I haven't played any of these games in about 3 years. One of these days I'll get the BG2 itch; nothing that some ointment wouldn't fix though. :p
     
  13. henkie

    henkie Hammertime Resourceful Adored Veteran New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!)

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    Something like that. They can write great dialog for making NPCs come alive and make them as likeable characters with depth.

    On the other hand most of their choices just boil down to no choice at all. Maybe they should just add a 'whatever' option to just get to the predetermined outcome without clicking through lots of dialog.

    [​IMG]
     
  14. Merlanni

    Merlanni ★ SPS Account Holder Veteran New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!)

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    As a person that played all games only BG2 was a game that got the most things right. Planescape was to difficult with is rules. its characters and its location. The Icewinds were to though with the combat at the end. BG1 was better, but BG got bout story and combat right with a ruleset that was workable.

    Sorry to disappoint the puritans here, but a game is only good of sensational when non niche player play and like it too. Planescape should have been made fifth with 3,5 rules.
     
  15. henkie

    henkie Hammertime Resourceful Adored Veteran New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!)

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    I think one of the reasons that PS:T wasn't that popular with the masses, is because to get the great story and characters and what-not, you have to read a lot of dialogue.

    If a game advertises that it has enough text for 7 novels, this excites some people, but the majority of people would either prefer to read a book or don't like reading at all, I think.
     
  16. Marceror

    Marceror Chaos Shall Be Sown In Their Footsteps Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) BoM XenForo Migration Contributor [2015] (for helping support the migration to new forum software!)

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    That's what I appreciate about PST, it didn't follow any of the "this is how to make a commercially successful game" conventions. In fact, it was unabashed about its intent to turn most of those on their head. It was true to what it intended to be, and for that alone, it deserves respect. And, it was an absolutely awesome experience for those who were willing to take the time to enjoy it for what it was.

    Very rare is the CRPG that is willing to take such risks. And this is why for me PST is not just a game, but art.
     
    Old One and Taluntain like this.
  17. Blades of Vanatar

    Blades of Vanatar Vanatar will rise again Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    I hear what you are saying henkie. Me, I am a story junkie. My gaming years started with TI-80s and Infocom text games like Zork, Planetfall, Wishbringer, etc... I think BG2 and PS:T had great stories. BG2 had the added effect of good gaming as well. I only wished they did a better job with the AI concerning Mage-Battles as they hadd all the Mage protection spells included. Mods really helped to fix that part of the game.

    IWD2 had a decent story, but lacked characters like Irenicus and Bohdi.
     
  18. Paracelsi

    Paracelsi Distinguished Member ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    I love both the IWD and BG games, but I love BG2 more.

    The IWD series are all about builds. The focus is on growth - more options is good, levels are good, story is nice but secondary. The problem, I think, is that there's too much freedom and speaking as a powergamer, much of it is illusion. A paladin/wizard/barbarian is definitely going to have serious problems character progression-wise.

    BG2's self-imposed limitations may seem restrictive at first, but it's when you learn to accept these limitations that you gain a different kind of freedom, I guess. Because in BG2 you can't go wrong, really - BG2's system is all upward slope. Once you learn to accept how things work, you can pretty much play the game however you want. Another thing I like about BG2's limitations is that it basically forces you to rely on the one aspect of the game (that I also happen to enjoy most, so there's some bias here) that doesn't have a limitation - strategy. In BG2 your stats are capped at 25, you can only choose between certain combinations of characters, etc. but the strategies you can come up with are endless. The trick is to find the most efficient ones that work best for you.
    Finally, I think one of the things that give BG2 character is its "flaws"/restrictions. One of the things that makes certain characters like Haer'Dalis or Viconia unique, for example, is that you can't actually play as a Tiefling or Drow. Also, what makes certain subplots all the more compelling is the fact that your options are limited. This is kind of hit or miss, which I guess helps explain why Bioware's dialogue sometimes doesn't work, but in BG2 I believe they got more hits than misses.
     
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2014
  19. SlickRCBD Gems: 25/31
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    I can go both ways. I started with the Apple II in 1988 with a very limited budget as a nine year old. I didn't discover RPGs until at least a year or two later and usually couldn't get anything except the "bargain bin" games. I enjoyed the more hack & slash games like Bard's Tale (hack & slash plus puzzles, with minimal story. Especially by today's standards. The original Legend of Zelda games were the same, but I didn't own a Nintendo, only played it at a friend's house). I played Bard's Tale, Wizardry I and later II, Ultima I (didn't get II-IV until high school when ftp.apple.asimov.net came online in the mid '90s, though it was technically a pirate site it would today be called an abandoneware site), Dragon Wars, Magic Candle, Might and Magic II (again, I didn't get the first one until high school), and the Gold Box games. Some of those are a lot of hack and slash, others are more story driven. I like games like Bard's Tale and Final Fantasy (though I only owned the Legend games for the Game Boy until VII and VIII came out for the PC) more than action-RPG games. I don't enjoy the "RPGs" that rely on precise timing when I'm tired and trying to relax and wind down.

    About the only "hack and slash" I didn't really like was the "Temple of Asphai" trilogy, and it didn't help that my trilogy package lacked a manual, only including a Quick Start Card, a few years before the World Wide Web was invented. I found it boring, and never even knew you could get descriptions of the rooms by looking up the number in a non-existent manual until years later. It just seemed a pointless dungeon crawl with no clear objective or story, just wandering around, fighting monsters and gathering treasure for no real purpose other than to "get rich", with no end goal or even high scores.

    Sorry, getting off-topic.
    I actually have enjoyed all the Infinity Engine games, and they all have their niche. What I do find interesting is how the same AD&D rules, particularly the spells are implemented slightly differently in Baldur's Gate I, Baldur's Gate II, and Icewind Dale, even though they are all using the same ruleset. Some spells are more useful in one game than another, even though they are supposed to be more or less the same. Obviously BG2 is a bit higher level than the others, but due to the way mages have all those protection spells, the gameplay is quite a bit different, especially with spellcasters involved. PST on the other hand uses far less magic than any of the others, and has far fewer spells, with virtually no divine magic.
     
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