Game of the year is a strange concept and Baldur’s Gate 2 highlights this: originally released in 2000, an ‘enhanced edition’ was released in 2013. But truthfully I had never played it before 2015. I decided to give it a go because it is quoted as one of the best RPGs of all time (Rock, Paper, Shotgun lists it at number 3 in its top fifty RPGs). So in some ways it is odd to include it in my game of the year selection, except that it really was one of the best games I have played all year.
After a very steep initial learning curve, I fell in love with the game. The vastness of the setting combined with delightful characters and a gripping story create a fantastic RPG. But more than this, the game does a fascinating job of trying to recreate the tensions and rivalries of a AD&D adventuring party, both in its handling of the flawed 2nd Edition rule set and in creating dynamic tension between members of the party.
Whilst the game does look dated and some of the user interface is clunky, this still feels like a very modern RPG in terms of the things that matter, namely: story, characterisation, freedom of choice and engagement. I adored my time with the game and would highly recommend it to any RPG fan. That said, the early introductory dungeon is not that great and the first city you visit seems vast and intimidating. But if you apply a traveller’s sense to navigating it (keep your shit together and look like you know where you are going) then you will quickly discover a truly magnificent game.
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