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Baldur's Gate

21 December 1998
Baldur's Gate - cover art
Glitchwave rating
3.69 / 5.0
0.5
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588 Ratings / 5 Reviews
#697 All-time
#27 for 1998
After gathering your party, you venture forth into the land of Faerûn in an attempt to solve the land's iron crisis and the altogether greater threat that looms over the city of Baldur's Gate.
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1998 BioWare Interplay  
5xCD-ROM
GB 5 026102 001917
1998 BioWare Interplay  
5xCD-ROM
DE 5 026102 000354
1998 BioWare Black Isle  
5xCD-ROM
XNA 0 40421 36652 1
Show all 10 releases
1999 BioWare CD Projekt  
5xCD-ROM
PL
Baldur's Gate The Original Saga
2002 BioWare Black Isle  
3xCD-ROM
AU 0 40421 01332 6
Baldur's Gate Enhanced Edition
2012 Overhaul  
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Baldur's Gate Enhanced Edition
2013 Beamdog BioWare  
Baldur's Gate Enhanced Edition
2014 Beamdog BioWare  
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Baldur's Gate Enhanced Edition
2014 Beamdog BioWare  
DVD
GB 4 020628 857691
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Title
Baldur's Gate Enhanced Edition is a slightly improved version of the classic (1998) RPG, which is based on a Dungeons & Dragons ruleset. There's the original Sword Coast expansion included, as well as a brand new expansion Siege of Dragonspear which drastically extends the already huge game.

You control a party of up to 6, with each character having a defined class, weapon proficiencies, moral alignment, then attributes like Strength, Constitution, Dexterity, Wisdom, Intelligence, Charisma. You can create whatever character you want, then your party members join as you find them along your journey. 3 are available within moments of leaving the start location, with 2 more being available shortly after. You don't have to recruit them, and can switch them out when you discover other characters. There are plenty of characters to find, and a few new ones for the enhanced edition. One thing to bear in mind is that some characters are friends so will leave together if you remove them. Some join your party on the condition you help them, and will leave after a few days if you haven't.

Classes are limited by the character race, and classes have different bonuses. There's some more complex mechanics like "dual class" and "multiclass" if you want to mix up the styles.

You need a balanced party since some areas have traps which require a thief to detect and remove. There's plenty of locked chests, and even locked doors which allows you to find more quests and items. The thief can "hide in shadows" and explore the map without being attacked (if successful of course), and has the ability of a "backstab" for triple damage. Having a magic user can make a huge difference when they can add buffs, or area of effect attacks. Many spells like Confusion and Charm last way too long which means you will lose loads of health or a party member if a mage hits you with these. There’s loads of similar spells as well which end up having similar results like Sleep, Paralyse and Hold.

Levelling up is really slow, and mainly doesn't give you a choice of improvement (sometimes you can add a new proficiency, or choose which thief skills to improve). You are told about the HP increase, any additional skills, or increase resistances/chance to hit etc.

The isometric view and controls are like a strategy game. You click individual characters, click and drag to multiselect. Hotkeys are available too with numbers 1 to 6 selecting individuals, and 0 selecting all. You click to issue move and attack commands. Can click through menus for special abilities. You right-click the character's portrait to manage inventory. The “real-time with pause” mechanic means you can pause to dish out commands, then unpause to see them carry out the actions. The characters have repetitive quips when you command them, but you can reduce the frequency in the options.

You can zoom the camera in and out to get a better view, but it does look very pixely when you zoom all the way down. I think the perspective makes it highly playable today.

There's a brilliant sense of exploration - you are always intrigued by what is waiting to be discovered. The map starts off covered in black to show where you haven't explored, with "fog of war" then hiding what your characters cannot see. The outside maps are represented with a large square, but then buildings and caves have different sizes, configurations and can have multiple floors. There's lots of looting from defeated enemies, chests, or other household items such as bookcases and tables. When items are on the ground, there is an "autoloot" feature which merely puts all items in range in another menu so you don't have to tediously click individual bodies to loot them.

Each character has a limited amount of slots to carry, and is also limited by weight which is based on their strength. You will be spending a long time in the menus, moving items about to maximise your carry capacity.

It’s a bit unclear how good the equipment is. You generally see high scores as if it is better but then the "To Hit Armour Class 0" (THAC0) needs to be lower. So some items are unclear if it is making you easier to hit, or makes it easier to hit your enemies.

Magic items are often shown with a blue background and need to be identified. If you have a character with high lore, they may be able to identify the item automatically, otherwise you need to use an Identify spell or pay 100 gold to a vendor. Attempting to sell an unidentified item just gives you a 1 gold price. Some items are cursed which often have negative effects and have low/no resale value.

The general combat is slow as you are watching your characters constantly miss. Smaller enemies can easily kill your characters, and it's costly to revive or heal them. Later on when you become stronger, your items and wealth will drastically increase. What this means is that the start of the game is really difficult and you will need to specifically look for side-quests to get that extra XP. Certain "boss" characters during the early story quests are almost impossible to defeat, but when you level up, going from 10 HP to say 16 HP makes a huge difference. If your character dies, then you have to reload. Other characters are allowed to die, and sometimes can be revived at the church (the exception is if they are totally "gibbed" on death). There's many difficulty levels to choose from, but the standard difficulty is incredibly difficult, and often relying on cheesing the game mechanics to progress.

Wands are very powerful but can be pricey to buy. These really help you get through the tougher battles. It is easy to reload and aim a nice fireball where you know there’s a crowd of enemies for a free hit. The electric wand can be very deadly, even to yourself because it bounces off walls. With that particular wand, you have to have a visible target which means the enemy will start to charge at you, meaning it can be trial and error to use it effectively. The “Wand Of Fear” is also great for dealing with crowds which causes them to move about randomly without attacking.

Another infuriating spell/effect is Petrify from Basilisks. You need the immunity from a scroll or potion, or alternatively, use the spell to return your character from stone. There is one part of the story where you have to pass through a cave with Basilisks guarding the only exit.

You need to rest to restore spells and fatigue, and small amounts of HP. You can rest in the wild but may get attacked. Inside towns, you can pay a few gold to rest at an inn which is always safe. At lower levels, magic users will only have a couple of spell slots, which means you will be resting frequently if you need these spells.

There is a button to highlight interactable chests/doors/barrels etc and put names above everyone's heads so you can easily locate quest-givers from general NPCs that are merely there to bring life to the towns. There are loads of NPCs populating the towns, and the occasional one to find in the wild. Some people will approach you, others you have to approach them. By talking to people, sometimes gain side-quests, other times just information. The character at the top does the talking, so move the highest charisma character there. The dialogue is often multiple choice with some dialogue presumably hidden if your charisma is low.

Despite the game’s flaws: mainly the harsh difficulty which leads to trial-and-error, or exploiting the mechanics; the game is highly addictive and a grand adventure which is fun to explore.

I played the original game, probably around 2003 but couldn’t get past the final chapter. Replaying this game was nostalgic, and was good to finally complete it. Including the extra Siege of Dragonspear expansion, it ended up taking me 68 hours.
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CaptainClam 2022-12-19T11:51:21Z
2022-12-19T11:51:21Z
4.5
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One of the greats
Baldur’s Gate could definitely be better. The mechanic of rolling for your stats has inspired me to sit for hours at a time until I get those perfect stats that I want. The combat feels tedious after a while, the dialogue is wordy and long and can be frustrating, the characters are good but a lot of the romance plots are absolute garbage, and BeamDog’s remake has some minor issues (for PS4) that can be rather frustrating. But all of that melts away once you get really immersed, once you start to actually role-play. It feels like a real world; people have a lot of different jobs instead of just ‘farmer’ or ‘merchant’. Cities are bustling, NPCs react to you and talk to one another. For a 1998 isometric RPG, that’s pretty impressive, and the quests give you legitimate moral choices sometimes that can be pretty hard. The villain, Sarevok, is absolutely great, and overall the game is just beautifully made.
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Planet_Telex0609 2022-10-06T12:36:18Z
2022-10-06T12:36:18Z
4.5
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Peak Whimsicality
to be candid? i derived far more intellectual, artistic enjoyment from this than Planescape.
people refer to ‘whimsicality’ as a greater aspect for games like The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion; for me, this is the Peak of Whimsicality with bizzare and charming dialogues like this:

from Borinole Mann (Boring Old Man) :
~Have you any interesting tales?
Oh, I have tales. Whether they are interesting or not is a matter of debate, I suppose. I could share one with you, though it likely has no bearing on anything of importance. Nothing at all to be gained from the telling, save a moment of time well spent.
~By all means, go right ahead.
I shall then. It was the dawning of a new year, and Chester Blackboot and I were off to rally our friends and storm the gates of the old Firewine ruins. Vella Stablehand was at the head; she was the eldest, you understand. We pretty much agreed that she would take point and absorb most of the initial damage when we were attacked. Of course Vella had her father's axe too, and that made her an imposing sight at the forefront. She was tall as a pine and could deliver a backhand like you were so much silt on the breeze. I remember a time when she and Chester—this was Chester Allendale, no relation to the Blackboots (and a good thing too. Them Blackboots had not patience for Vella and her shenanigans)—well, Chester and Vella were spelunking in the Ulcaster (at least, that's what the kids called it in those days) and her father comes up and by golly, Vella up and belts Chester so hard he didn't hit the ground for a week. Vella's father sees this and laughs so hard he plumb forgets he's mad. He's like that though, and the day he passes up a good joke will be the day he passes on entirely. I remember a time...
~I don't mean to be critical but does this story have an end? Or a beginning, for that matter?
Stories continue long after the exciting bits end, young 'un. You'll miss a lot of life if you don't pay attention to anything outside of swinging the axe and smacking the head. Ah, well. People had more patience in my time. Why, Buck Longbrow could stare at corn from seed to harvest, though he always was a bit shaky after the fall. Eh... leave me be.
~Indeed, there are many interesting folk about.
I should say so, though not as many as in the past. People are avoiding the roads because of the recent troubles, as I am sure you are aware. We keep up a strong front though, and I know we'll get through just fine. The people of "the Gate" have always been good at adapting. Why, in my day we could weather month-long storms with nothing but a log or two, the skins of a few unfortunate bears, and the warm company of those we held dear. Of course, in those days trees were bigger, you understand? A good stout log could fire the hearth for a tenday, though you'd have to empty out the stables for a place to keep them dry. Likewise the pelt of an adult grizzly could carpet your whole house. And company? Company was HUGE! I remember old skinny Morgan. Nigh unto a giant he was. Soft at heart though...
~Ah, we'll never see the like of those days again. I'd love to stay and chat, but I should be off.
If you say so, young 'un. Good on you and those you travel with.

Those were the days, weren’t they?


the humdrum main plot, beside the variations of dense micromanagment and thoughtless triumph of battles, is less of a main plot, and more of a totempole for your combat sensibilities. there, perhaps, is more woven a storyline in the lore books, poets, and locked houses of the Sword Coast—your own.

a slighted classic.
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blokrenblossbroms 2022-04-26T23:20:50Z
2022-04-26T23:20:50Z
5.0
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1) What’s a Simian?
2) For your information, a number of important sociological and psychological theorists have posited that stores exist in an intermediate space, neither private nor public in nature but combining elements of both. Displays in store windows, for instance, can best be viewed as mental constructs projected onto the public consciousness as a means of engendering mass conformity derived solely from the supposedly private domain of consumer choice…

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I think this was the first ever RPG I ever played and I still hold new games to it, as an example of gaming excellence. And it's not only nostalgia talking- a couple of years ago I completed it once again, together with the Tales of the Sword Coast expansion, and enjoyed every minute of it. Sure, the graphics look poorly nowadays, and there aren't too many chances to actually make any choices, but the story is solid, and the world immersive. Additionally, the Polish dubbing is pure perfection- CD Project (yep, back in the day they only distributed foreign games) hired top-class Polish actors, who did a stellar job. When it comes to gameplay, the combat is really cool, and well-balanced. The active pause functionality helped with the tactics, without losing dynamics of battles.
When to comes to comparisons with BG2, obviously, the second part improved on most of the game's aspects, but still I prefer No. 1 due to its more medieval feel. You spend more time in the woods, there aren't too many crazy creatures such as mind flayers, nor over powered weapons. It kinda reminded me of the TV series about Robin Hood with Robin Praed, which I watched as a child.
All in all I consider this to be an all-time classic, which remains enjoyable to this day.
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my_granny 2021-08-20T12:20:24Z
2021-08-20T12:20:24Z
4.5
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This is game is what Bethesda would do if they made CRPGs. It's bad, don't waste your time playing it and go straight to Baldur's Gate 2.
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menges 2021-05-07T11:49:30Z
2021-05-07T11:49:30Z
1.5
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I was putting the series off for a very long time but I finally decided to play it. Keep in mind that my whole playtrough of the first game was co-op with 3 other friends so this will briefly influence the whole review.

People say this game is hard, confusing and big; I didn't find it so. The in-game tutorials (especially in the EE) really help you with starting, and there isn't actually much to understand about the rules. The main problem is that it's a low level DnD adventure and as such you will be dying a lot in the beginning of the game. This, with a lack of general feedback or direction will leave you wondering wether you're doing something wrong.

Let's start from the beginning: character creation. The game is based on the AD&D 2E ruleset, and as such i'm not really familiar with it. The game throws at you confusing terms like AC and THAC0 without really explaining them to you (I assume it's covered in the manuals) so you're kinda left without much guidance. Also if you have zero knowledge of D&D you won't know what is actually worth taking and what not. Almost every choice here is viable, but some are clearly better than others (Good luck starting the game with a mage).

Then the game starts and you're thrown into Candlekeep, a fantastic tutorial zone even for modern standards. You will find fetch quests, combat tutorials and loredumps. Then, once you exit, you're alone in the Sword Coast world.

The story isn't that great or ground-breaking. It's a normal low level adventure where you suddenly uncover that yet another bad guy wasn't actually the bad guy and he was controlled by someone else. The first half of the game you have no clue at to what's going on, then a series of dungeon follows and finally, in the last portion of the game, the story wraps up so quick that it's hard to follow.

Apparently you and the main villain were the sons of Baal and he now wants to kill you so he can get all the power. Everything he did up until now? Eh, just a cover up to generate chaos.

The ending was kinda unsatisfying and the urgency of the main quest prevented me from enjoying the final side quests since I felt i had to rush.


Overall, though, I found it kinda pleasing being immersed in the world end slowly exploring all of its corners.

Where Baldurs Gate 1 shines is it's freedom and atmosphere. You're not the chosen one that has to save the world, you don't have incredible magical powers. You're just someone that goes around killing goblins, and this is fine!. It's really easy to enjoy the little moments, exploring towns, speaking with commoners, reading lore books.

Wherever you go the game usually has something for you, be it a quest, an item, a dungeon or merely a simple NPC and this really feels rewarding.

The game structure is open world, except for a few key zones. That means that you're basically free to explore the overworld as you please. And there's a ton of optional zones that serve only as side content. If you so desire you could play for hours before even reaching the first dungeon!

During your adventure you will find companions that will ask you to join your party, usually with some sort of quest associated with it. I didn't explore this feature a lot since I was playing with my friends and didn't have free party space, but I noticed that it's kinda disappointing and the companions don't actually have a lot of depth (something that it's improved greatly in BG2). They serve merely as contextualized ways for you to play different classes.

And here we reach the part that's not that great about the game: the combat. Especially at the lowest levels the combat is heavily luck based and all monters can almost one-shot you. It's clunky and the pathfinding is horrible. Also its not fun: you click onto an enemy and hope it dies.

At higher levels it becomes a bit more interesting, since you get new abilities, new spells and new items (that, sadly, don't affect the gameplay much in BG1).

I've seen people argue that there actually is depth in the gameplay, and in part I agree, as it's possible to kite enemies, use choke points, use weak characters as bait for the stronger spells etc. But it's something that never feels natural, and requires a big prior knowledge of the game to pull off.

In the end Baldur's Gate is a game that has to be played, and you probably will have to sit trough the first hours of the game endlessly reloading and not having that much fun. But once you understand it it becomes something truly unique at the time, and amazingly comforting and cozy.

And it also laid the foundations for something way better that is yet to come, lets aknowledge this merit.
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thevinter 2020-06-21T15:00:04Z
2020-06-21T15:00:04Z
3.5
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Catalog

Eikonomachia Baldur's Gate 2024-05-30T01:11:01Z
2024-05-30T01:11:01Z
2.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
reficulgr Baldur's Gate 2024-05-29T08:43:06Z
2024-05-29T08:43:06Z
4.5
1
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Mads336q Baldur's Gate 2024-05-28T23:11:32Z
2024-05-28T23:11:32Z
4.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
wildpaleyonder Baldur's Gate 2024-05-27T16:30:54Z
2024-05-27T16:30:54Z
1.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
The_Finisher27 Baldur's Gate 2024-05-23T01:26:22Z
2024-05-23T01:26:22Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Maliptail Baldur's Gate 2024-05-23T00:15:52Z
2024-05-23T00:15:52Z
1
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Jastrzab03 Baldur's Gate 2024-05-22T08:55:49Z
2024-05-22T08:55:49Z
4.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
BurgurBurgur Baldur's Gate 2024-05-22T06:11:17Z
Windows / Mac / Linux/Unix
2024-05-22T06:11:17Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Backlog
Jericho2319 Baldur's Gate 2024-05-19T19:44:05Z
2024-05-19T19:44:05Z
3.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
nobodyburnhole95 Baldur's Gate 2024-05-15T05:31:47Z
2024-05-15T05:31:47Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Bubu66 Baldur's Gate 2024-05-12T02:41:34Z
2024-05-12T02:41:34Z
4.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
banshee12 Baldur's Gate 2024-05-11T23:19:53Z
2024-05-11T23:19:53Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Content rating
ESRB: T
Player modes
1-6 players
Media
5x CD-ROM
Multiplayer modes
Cooperative
Multiplayer options
LAN, Online
Franchises
Also known as
  • Wrota Baldura
  • View all [1] Hide

Comments

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Note: Unlike reviews, comments are considered temporary and may be deleted/purged without notice.
  • Previous comments (12) Loading...
  • IgnacioMoreno 2023-07-14 18:22:27.480403+00
    Yes, oh omnipresent authority figure?
    reply
    • More replies New replies ) Loading...
  • chood 2023-07-30 06:47:49.441925+00
    Yes, oh omnipresent authority figure? [2]
    reply
    • More replies New replies ) Loading...
  • yungbono 2023-08-04 17:41:45.617638+00
    is it worth getting into in 2023, ive never played a game like this
    reply
    • Temon357 2023-08-05 13:33:13.334964+00
      I'm playing enhanced edition on my nintendo switch right now on easy mode(not story mode) and totally enjoying it. Just don't expect lots of story and dialogues with party members. It's more Ultima-inspired with some choices and consequences here and there. If you only care about story, companion stories and romances, then I think you better skip to BG2.
      My only complain is inventory management, the amount of slots is ridiculous.
    • Flank 2023-10-15 12:38:26.585963+00
      It's pretty fucking bland tbh, I wouldn't recommend it unless you are really into old school CRPGs. Certainly groundbreaking at the time for translating the tabletop D&D experience into a video game so seamlessly but it won't be blowing anyone's mind these days, even if you are a sucker for retro-gaming like I am. Just play Planescape instead
    • to_noid_or_not_to_noid 2024-01-03 16:41:08.022647+00
      "Just play Planescape instead" [2]
    • More replies New replies ) Loading...
  • Flight_Sensations 2023-09-27 18:47:33.567071+00
    Yes, oh omnipresent authority figure? [3]
    reply
    • More replies New replies ) Loading...
  • blokrenblossbroms 2023-10-30 16:29:47.328561+00
    What if I told you this was the best one of the three..
    reply
    • More replies New replies ) Loading...
  • LedriTheThane 2024-02-15 02:27:34.635357+00
    Yes, oh omnipresent authority figure? [4]
    reply
    • More replies New replies ) Loading...
  • 4inch 2024-04-29 09:18:46.588276+00
    Yes, oh omnipresent authority figure? [5]
    reply
    • More replies New replies ) Loading...
  • Nergal997 2024-05-24 11:25:12.55098+00
    This game is so mid. I guess it's only worth playing for it's historic value.
    reply
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