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Baldur’s Gate: Siege of Dragonspear Review – An Expansion Written for Children

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Racing into work on Christmas eve in 1998, I fought through the remnants of the previous night’s ice storm and slid past stop streets in an effort to get to the local mall in time to do a little shopping. The item I was hoping to get? The last one of the only two copies of Baldur’s Gate that my friend was holding for me. After waiting in line for a good half an hour, the game was mine and my obsessive desire to be the first person to own every single RPG that ever existed (And those who have seen my collection realize this is, sadly, quite true) was sated.

That Christmas eve, I played the game from 9pm to the wee hours of the morning, posting screenshots on my personal webpage and linking them to the Interplay forums for the poor folks who ordered through Digital River and were bitching out Interplay on the forums for the shipping delay they were just informed of. For a brief moment, I was in CRPG ecstasy, playing a game that, for the next 18 years, would be one of my go-to games. After beating both Baldur’s Gate games a couple dozen times, I could power through them in a weekend, which made for a nice nostalgic trip when real world pressures needed to be forgotten.

Knowing how special Baldur’s Gate was to a grognard such as myself, it shouldn’t surprise you too much that I pre-ordered Beamdog’s Siege of Dragonspear expansion without any hesitation. Nothing seemed as much of a lock as that expansion did. After the experience Beamdog had gained through re-jiggering the original two games and their expansions, I logically assumed that adding a new chapter to the series would be a piece of cake for them. Especially with ex-BioWare people working within the company.

For many reasons, beyond the obvious ones you already know, I was very wrong.

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Siege of Dragonspear starts off fairly impressively. You accompany Imoen to a hideout belonging to one of Sarevok’s followers, and walk through a short dungeon until finally coming face to face with them and deciding their fate. It not only sets up the plot (and Imoen’s constantly changing excuses for why she can’t join you yet) but also introduces the game’s slight non-linear aspect by allowing you to peacefully arrest your enemy, which is something you’ll regret later when they break free.

Right after that, however, Siege of Dragonspear comes off as being a very muddled, confused, and imbalanced game. Nearly every aspect of its gameplay differs from the original, and most of what is there feels like the programmer’s desperate attempt to make improvements on a formula that didn’t need improving.

How so, you ask?

First off – and you’ll notice this from the very start – the game re-uses maps. Granted, the original Baldur’s Gate overworld forest areas used a lot of the same foliage sprites and ground bitmaps, but the first three maps you encounter after you leave the town of Baldur’s Gate and start your quest are almost exactly the same.

All they are is a small forested area with the same worn-out road and a conveniently-placed cave where some *things* happen. Granted, one of those caves contains a fight with a lich and a clever little quest involving the destruction of its phylactery, but even they manage to screw that up by making it so you can bumrush the lich in dialog and kill it in two hits.

Which brings us to problem number two, and that’s the severe gameplay imbalances.

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Like a poorly made and rushed Neverwinter Nights module by a newbie creator, Siege of Dragonspear seems like it just wants to throw stuff at you to impress you, not challenge you. There are three gigantic mobs of trolls in the first three areas of the game, all of which are situated directly in front of the entrance to their respective dens, making proper positioning and threat distribution impossible. This is made even worse by the troll spell-casters they place at the far end of the mob.

What makes this needlessly imbalanced is the fact that oil flasks are a rare thing in the first Baldur’s Gate, and in the expansion – at least from what I saw during my trip – are even more uncommon. Sure, you can buy fire arrows, but the shop keeper only sells +2 fire arrows, which are incredibly expensive. This is especially so when the game makes a point to throw out all of your gold after importing your character. Of course, you can get some of that gold back through a side quest, but it’s a small fraction of what you entered with.

The insult to injury here? The troll mobs have a gendered troll, a “Troll Shamaness”, which I was told by a friend who is very finicky about Dungeons & Dragons that there is no such thing as a “shamaness”, since “shaman” isn’t gendered. Neither are trolls, actually.

It’s not just mobs of a dozen or more trolls jumping you as soon as you enter caves, if it was, then I doubt I’d even mention it. Instead, there are several other odd cases of imbalances, poor planning, and amateurish design that plague the game. One of the most egregious is the level draining undead you fight early on.

Level drain is something you rarely encounter in Baldur’s Gate 1 or the early stages of Baldur’s Gate 2…and for good reason. Unless you have a devoted cleric who has never multi or dual classed, you won’t have a high enough level to cast a restoration spell to cure it. This is the problem here, since I found myself constantly returning to camp to have Mizhena return my drained levels and ended up wasting away all of my monetary resources due to the outrageous amount of gold I had to keep forking over.

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That wasn’t the only problem either, since Beamdog decided that replenishing all the spawns on the overworld map was a good idea, so every time I walked back from the cave full of level-draining undead, I had to fight through three mobs of a dozen or so dire wolves. This was good for grinding of levels, but it was incredibly annoying. Having played both Baldur’s Gate games for 18 years and going through them over two dozen times, I never once saw anything respawn in a cleared area…and I now know why the original designers made it that way.

Of course, none of this would have been so big of an issue if it weren’t for the fact that the game didn’t properly level up party members prior to them joining you.

For the uninitiated, there is a well-used and known tactic in the Baldur’s Gate games that involves getting your party members as soon as possible in the story line so that the game doesn’t level them up to your character before you can do it manually. The reason why is due to the fact that the game, regardless of how much common sense it makes, will not use the “max HP per level” option when calculating their health. As the strategy goes, you grab your desired party members before you gain any levels so that you can get the “best version” of that NPC with the max HP per level toggle on. Simple, right?

One of the problems with Siege of Dragonspear is that the game’s story is so structured, so forced, that it will not permit you to carry your end game party into the expansion. Once you exit the starter dungeon with Imoen (And the silly excuses the game keeps giving to you as to why she can’t join are maddeningly hilarious), you have to “make do” with whatever left-overs the game slowly trickles out to you. Garrick the bard, Safana, Tiax? The few NPCs they give you at the start are rarely used “B-team” combatants that are as useful as a paper sword. Thankfully, Minsc and Dynaheir will return, but the rest?

If you took heavyweights like Kivan, Ajantis, or Khalid, you better not get your hopes up…because your only real tanks for a good portion of the game, at least as far as hitpoint totals go, will be Minsc and a Skald that accompanies Jahiera. What’s worse is, if you select a character in Siege of Dragonspear that you never used (and therefore never leveled up) in Baldur’s Gate, then the game will have leveled them automatically and given them the least possible hit points. Even Rasaad, the robust little monk that he is, entered my party with a pathetically paltry 52 hit points at level 9.

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This is how I ended up with a party of six people and why everyone had under 50 hitpoints except for my main…a dual classed *mage* who had 84.

This may sound like nitpicking, but it all adds up to the fact that this game was very poorly planned and designed, and was crafted by people who had very little experience with Baldur’s Gate and its quirky idiosyncrasies. They seemed far more interested in crafting their own unique plotline than they did making sure the actual gameplay was well-balanced and fun.

Which is sad, because the story itself is fan-fiction level pablum that could have been easily copy-and-pasted off of a Forgotten Realms forum and copy-pasta’ed into the engine.

If you’ve read the editorial I did concerning the game’s story, you have a good idea of what I’m going to say here. Not only are the gay and trangendered characters very stereotypical and feel forced, but the main cast they are there to support do not fare much better. In fact, the worst characters of the bunch are Irenicus and Caelar Argent, the new adversary you are asked to confront.

As I stated in my editorial, Argent is a blatant Je’anneDearchetype trope, right down to her righteous fury and god-like visage. She seems to be someone’s personal fantasy woman, a feminist goddess that is perfect in every way and adored as much as she is feared. It makes her a very hard to sympathize with character, which is unfortunate, since the plot will eventually want you to feel bad for her. Though how you can feel sorry for a god with flaming eyes who has a flaming sword is beyond me. She is nothing more than a parody of every teenage girl’s self-insert medieval swords & sorcery fantasy character.

The story never improves either, since as you can see by the threads now cropping up complaining about the ending, the final moments of the game aren’t any better. Not to spoil anything, but the shoehorned-in ending has frequently been compared to Mass Effect 3, with a very abrupt and forced fitting-in of the necessary party composition needed to set up the intro scene to Baldur’s Gate 2. It shows, yet again, how incredibly slapdash and lazy the writing for Siege of Dragonspear truly is.

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However, the real problem with the writing would be the altered personality of Safana, the “seductive” thief. Since the writer felt that she was nothing more than a male fantasy object, she has been made to be more of a “independent woman” the way Viconia is. which means you can expect her to be a bit hard to handle sometimes and get to now enjoy a few cheap insults thrown at you from time to time. For Viconia, that’s fine…since she belongs to the matriarchal society of the Drow…but for Safana? It destroys her character and puts her out of sync with what she is in the pre-expansion Baldur’s Gate.

On the technical side, I didn’t experience many problems. Other than some save/load glitches and a couple corrupted saves, I didn’t encounter much in the way of any nuisances. In fact, most of the changes to the game on the technical side were ones I welcomed. Unlike mostly everyone else, I loved the new smoothed-out sprites and the black lines that encased them. It seemed to make everything “pop” and gave it a visual flair that I didn’t know I wanted until I got to see it. I also appreciated the new weapon swap system that let me equip both two handed weapons and a sword & shield setup without having to go into my backpack to change them.

The only thing I didn’t like – and this was a big one – was the new statistics sheet. The way they have it laid out now makes it look messy and disorganized. I can’t believe someone signed off on it, because anyone who has played D&D games on the PC could tell you that shoving every single piece of character information in one giant scrolling box isn’t very smart. It reminded me of Sword Coast Legends and its legendarily awful stat sheets.

All things considered, I cannot recommend Siege of Dragonspear to anyone. Unless you are so incredibly new to Baldur’s Gate that your standards for upholding its lore, keeping battles balanced, and making sense hasn’t set your expectation bar too high, you should completely avoid this expansion.

Combining fan fiction level writing with self-insert Mary Sues, a whiny cast of stereotypical characters, and a plot that tries to be epic but ends up falling flat at the end, Siege of Dragonspear fails at nearly everything it set out to improve upon. Which is sad, since I was so sure Beamdog could pull this off.

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If you want to play a Baldur’s Gate expansion, I would suggest getting the original un-enhanced editions and installing both games along with the BGtutu mod. After that, you can download the fan-made Dark Side of the Sword Coast, which is infinitely better than what Beamdog has created here with Siege of Dragonspear.

Baldur’s Gate: Siege of Dragonspear was reviewed on PC using a review copy purchased by Niche Gamer. You can find additional information about Niche Gamer’s review/ethics policy here.

The Verdict 4.0

The Good

  • New visuals look crisp
  • New weapon weapon swap system is long overdue

The Bad

  • Horribly imbalanced
  • Respawns are a bad idea
  • Writing is barely fanfic level
  • Memes (Though now removed) and silly situations abound
  • New character stat sheets are a mess
,
Carl Batchelor

About

Carl is both a JRPG fan and a CRPG'er who especially loves European PC games. Even with more than three decades of gaming under his belt, he feels the best of the hobby is yet to come.




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74 comments
  1. Neojames82
    Neojames82
    April 20, 2016 at 6:55 pm

    Good, honest shit Carl. I know you’ll get hate for it, but you are probably one of the few, honest reviewers that will have the balls to give your honest opinion. And trust me, with the sales of the expansion steady falling off only after a few days after the release, you are for sure not in the minority.

  2. DeusEx
    DeusEx
    April 20, 2016 at 6:55 pm

    We’re gonna have to Sampson Option the whole genre, aren’t we? We’ll need to bring the roof down if they don’t stop tampering and trying to ‘fix’ what already exists instead of them putting the blood, sweat and tears into their own original content.

  3. Doc Hammer
    Doc Hammer
    April 20, 2016 at 6:56 pm

    Activate it.

  4. SoapyEyes
    SoapyEyes
    April 20, 2016 at 7:02 pm

    Good luck, I just read a US art gallery got fined for showing the naked buttocks of a lady in a painting. A large portion of society (and I’m sorry to say, but a large part of those are young people), are determined to undo everything as we know it. It’s not limited to the gaming industry.

  5. Mr0303
    Mr0303
    April 20, 2016 at 7:10 pm

    Hopefully this serves as an example to devs that SJWs are not good for business.

  6. Minuteworld92
    Minuteworld92
    April 20, 2016 at 7:11 pm

    memes are funne guiz I knoew because I use da internet alot XDXDXD

  7. Audie Bakerson
    Audie Bakerson
    April 20, 2016 at 7:12 pm

    Don’t insult the tastes or reading abilities of children.

  8. Matthew Hage
    Matthew Hage
    April 20, 2016 at 7:14 pm

    What the Hell is with developers trying to inject memes into everything? I had enough of that shit with Life is Strange.

  9. Neojames82
    Neojames82
    April 20, 2016 at 7:17 pm

    Memes are the go to solution when you have no god damn writing talent whatsoever and resort to stealing joke pics from the internet, jokes that are meant to be just a quick flash in the pan, NOT to be put into a game where it has absolutely no relevance and is extremely out of place.

  10. NukeA6
    NukeA6
    April 20, 2016 at 7:19 pm

    Because today’s society is obsessed with it.

  11. Neojames82
    Neojames82
    April 20, 2016 at 7:20 pm

    Because developers don’t hire talent writers, or really they just don’t hire writers!

  12. Stilzkin
    Stilzkin
    April 20, 2016 at 7:28 pm

    Exactly. Good games create memes, bad games just steal them (Dawkin’s memes, not dank memes)

  13. Dewey Defeats Truman
    Dewey Defeats Truman
    April 20, 2016 at 7:29 pm

    spewing memes in your writing is almost always done due to sheer laziness and a poor ability to write anything worth a damn of your own. the only exceptions I can think of are something like steins;gate or akiba’s trip where the characters actually are the kinds of people that would say that obnoxious drivel in daily life and even then you walk a fine line and risk crossing it with every single sentence.

  14. Bitterbear
    Bitterbear
    April 20, 2016 at 7:37 pm

    I believe the proper term you are looking for is Adultchildren, which covers both Manchild And Womanchild

  15. Bunkercake
    Bunkercake
    April 20, 2016 at 7:44 pm

    This is an important distinction that I’m sure flies over the heads of a lot of people, including some terrible writers. If a character is an annoying meme-spouter then it is part of the character’s personality. If the writer is an annoying meme-spouter then it is part of the entire game’s personality.

  16. Cael
    Cael
    April 20, 2016 at 7:53 pm

    >Troll Shamaness
    What. The. Fuuuck? Now I just want to punch someone.

  17. Minuteworld92
    Minuteworld92
    April 20, 2016 at 8:14 pm

    jokes on you for playing life is strange.

  18. blackice85
    blackice85
    April 20, 2016 at 8:15 pm

    That and some games are meant to include references for parody purposes. Fourth wall breaking and all that can be tricky to do correctly.

  19. Carl B.
    Carl B.
    April 20, 2016 at 8:18 pm

    there’s two of them, so if you are still befuddled after murdering the first, you can meet another in an identical cave, in an identical map, in an almost identical mob…so there’s that!

  20. Cy
    Cy
    April 20, 2016 at 9:48 pm

    As much as I loved this review, reading it just infuriated me all over again. I hate inbetweenquels with a passion, and this seems like it was made to exemplify why. The railroading to make sure it ends where the next one begins, the terrible OC’s that don’t fit in with the canon world and are only there because someone wanted to be paid to write fanfiction, the changes to existing characters because the writers don’t (or refuse to) understand them, and even though the review didn’t mention it I can’t imagine anything that the player accomplished in the story felt like it mattered because it’s bookended by two amazing stories where the PC had a real impact on the world. I know I already said it, but you summed up the story perfectly when you said it was fanfiction. And what’s worse, it’s not even good fanfiction. It’s just insulting shit. And it’s sad, because, glitches aside, I really liked the BG:EE that Beamdog made and I want to support anyone who’s bringing back isometric RPG’s, especially anything in the Forgotten Realms universe. BG2, Icewind Dale and Neverwinter Nights did more to shape my tastes in video games as a kid than anything since Sonic 2. But now I’ll most likely never buy anything touched by Beamdog ever again.

  21. Kirigirim
    Kirigirim
    April 20, 2016 at 10:18 pm

    One question, just so i don’t assume things.

    The way you described the “Mary Sue”, when gender flipped, sounds an awful lot like 99% of male protagonists in videogames. Do you have a review or editorials where you complain about the stupidly high number of Marty Stus? It’s the only thing keeping me from thinking this review is unbiased, which sucks because the rest sounds very honest.

  22. KissDisqus
    KissDisqus
    April 20, 2016 at 10:45 pm

    This is really important.
    Is Irenicus still a horn dog with dryads and possibly a pedo from the few instances you run into him?

  23. totenglocke
    totenglocke
    April 20, 2016 at 10:53 pm

    Remember, one of their main writers said on Beamdog’s forums that she’s a (her words) SJW who wants to put as much SJW content into games as possible.

  24. totenglocke
    totenglocke
    April 20, 2016 at 10:54 pm

    Hopefully Beamdog goes bust as a result of this and the BG / ID licenses they posses go to a worthy developer like InXile.

  25. totenglocke
    totenglocke
    April 20, 2016 at 10:56 pm

    In what way are most male protagonists perfect at everything? They’re usually quite good at ONE thing and end up with companions helping them with other tasks.

  26. Kirigirim
    Kirigirim
    April 20, 2016 at 11:03 pm

    You’d have to be extremely blind to not recognize that most games are power fantasies, where characters never struggle and are most of the time the most powerful beings in their universe, like Kratos or Goku. I don’t have a problem with power fantasies, I just hate it when some people complain ONLY when it’s a female power fantasy. It should be both ways, you can’t criticize one and enjoy the other if they are fundamentally the same.

  27. Neojames82
    Neojames82
    April 20, 2016 at 11:32 pm

    Great…she will have a long career in the game industry with that kind of attitude….

  28. CC
    CC
    April 20, 2016 at 11:34 pm

    Shamenesses… SHAMENESSES. omfg I’m triggered. I’m a woman and I find that stupid as hell. Does anyone remember the toy troll dolls from the early 90s? Mimi in the Drew Carrey show had a billion of them because she basically WAS one. EVEN THOSE WERE JUST TROLLS. YOU DON’T NEED TO GENDER THEM.

    /flips tables into the sun.

  29. Feniks
    Feniks
    April 20, 2016 at 11:44 pm

    I have no idea. Maybe those cancerous ecelebs? Good grief I once accidentally clicked on a enzoknol video.

  30. CC
    CC
    April 20, 2016 at 11:52 pm

    None of the original 12 female companion NPCs would count as a Mary Sue initially. Neither would the males count as Gary Stus. Dynaheir is limited enough that people actually have her killed off rather than take her along (because they still want Minsc), Jaheira is waspish and very stern, Imoen is cute baby sister type: really strong, but nowhere near overly, and nor does everything or ANYTHING come “easily” to her. She’s good at what she does through sheer necessity and practice, and her biggest point is keeping up her humor despite going through hell (literally).

    The closest you could argue a character in the original as overpowered is Keldorn and that’s less because he’s a Gary Stu and more because he’s a motherfucking paladin whose wife cheats on him and somehow HE has to apologize for it (shiiiiiiiit.)

    Nalia is naive but well meaning which makes sense for her ICly, Viconia is incredibly offset and you take her for the character interactions not power, and Aerie is so whiny even other characters call her on it. None of the guys are Gary Stu either. Xan is over the top emo (my fiance’s favorite) Tiax is literally insane, Khalid is a scaredy-cat, Edwin is power-mad, Minsc took one too many hits to the head, Korgan is super dark dwarf mercenary, and Haer’Dalis is a squishy bard who insists on using double swords on the front line because entropy take me now.

    So to answer your question: NO. It’s not just because she’s female, and it’s insulting to assume so.

    – signed a female person herself thanks.

  31. Kirigirim
    Kirigirim
    April 20, 2016 at 11:54 pm

    Why do you feel the need to estate your gender? I’m also a female, and I enjoy power fantasies, I just want to make sure the author also hates male Mary Sues before drawing conclusions, hence why I never accused him of anything and asked before jumping the gun.

  32. Thanatos2k
    Thanatos2k
    April 20, 2016 at 11:56 pm

    Mary Sues work only when they are the main character the player is controlling. Geralt from the Witcher is pretty much a textbook Gary Stu but no one seems to mind because they’re fine with the player character being unrealistically awesome. When they are not the player’s character, they fail utterly.

  33. Thanatos2k
    Thanatos2k
    April 20, 2016 at 11:59 pm

    To be fair, Life is Strange is supposed to take place in high school right? They are not out of place there….

  34. KissDisqus
    KissDisqus
    April 20, 2016 at 11:59 pm

    Honestly they’ll probably do fine. All this hubbub about lgbt probably got more people to support the game because you know they support lgbt stuff. Even fans who might be wary after all this will still purchase it because they hunger. They’ll eat shit if they have to since it’s been so long since they were graced with a new BG game. The original games still has a decent sized dedicated fanbase to go throw their money at beamdog for anything BG related. Most critic reviews on metacritic have been more kind than Carl’s review.

    I can’t see this game failing sales wise.

  35. CC
    CC
    April 21, 2016 at 12:11 am

    You’d be surprised. The critics were highly flattering on Gone Home too, and Beamdog has already had to beg fans to leave positive reviews. LGBTQIA+ aren’t idiots who’ll buy anything for tokenism. They’re instead very demanding and not easily satisfied. And word has gotten around to gamers. The mods were the #1 selling point for enhanced edition, but the latest patch so they could add in SoD killed the mods, and until it gets fixed, they have a LOT of people buying and *returning* the game. And since you can get the non-Beamdog on GoG.com they’re not doing so hot right now.

    Most of the most hardcore will-buy-for-nostalgia-alone fans are also bordering frustrated for glitches (I hit 3 bugs in the prologue that caused total game crashes, are you kiiiiddding me) and there’s a HUGE amount of worry in the fanbase that this means Baldur’s Gate 3 will never ever happen. And then there are the rumblings from those like me & my brother that maybe if this is the quality we can expect, BG3 is better off NOT happening. Ala Indiana Jones 4….

  36. ArcKazuki
    ArcKazuki
    April 21, 2016 at 12:21 am

    Yes there are games where you feel near invincible from start to finish (COD comes to mind). But for most others, male heroes have a team that supports them.

    Saying 99% of male protagonists are equivalent of invincible Mary Sues (I think they’re called Gary Sues?) is out right false. Never played God of War, so I can’t say anything for Kratos. But Goku fights with Piccolo, Krillin etc, Snake receive support via comms and in the field, Drake has Sully, Elena, Chloe etc., and *nearly* every single goddamn RPG out there (regardless of male or female protagonist) has a team alongside them. All of them start at the bottom and have to work their way up. Unless it’s on easy or something.

    I am with you though when it comes to having a dislike for overpowered protagonists.

  37. CC
    CC
    April 21, 2016 at 12:26 am

    You made it relevant in assuming the gender difference causing the Mary Sue effect. I can’t blame you, because if you’ve never played the original you probably wouldn’t know how the characters are written. But the characterization of Baldur’s Gate is one of the bigger highlights. There are a lot of very strong characters in video games, but strong =/= Mary Sue/Gary Stu/Overpowered. For instance, if you follow the lore of Warcraft/Hearthstone/Heroes of the Storm would you call Jaina or Uther a Mary Sue? Or in League of Legends, the lore really sets up Katarina, Garen, Lux, and all the rest.

    What makes a Mary Sue is much more getting their own way, lack of personality flaws, or what flaws there are being excused by the world/circumstances as “totally not a flaw.” Batman is a huge Gary Stu, and I love him, so I don’t normally mind Mary Sue-ish characters, but in Baldur’s Gate, that’s realm-breaking. Worse than Anakin Skywalker. Like trying to make a villain sympathetic, but still neglecting their villainous characteristics. It’s a basic writing 101 flaw that for many (like me) is inexcusable in professional production. I don’t want to spoiler you, so forgive the vagueness of this, but it’d be like having a big bad villain type who is super-crazy-strong and instead when he comes back and you can get him to your side and you get to learn about WHY he and you differ, if instead the writers just tried to make him woobie and forget/neglect the parts where he spent all his time trying to kill you & your friends to take over the world. It’s inconsistent, and it’s nowhere near as *FUN* as what they should (and originally) did do: which is to let you discover why he became the bad guy he did, and try to help him start becoming a better person. Mary Sues don’t let you make your own choices. It’s their way, and their way alone. Again, Batman is very much like that and I still love him, but given the situation of his world, would you really want it any other way than his? Mary Sues don’t work in extremely morally grey settings where they call the shots (not you, and compare to Batman: YOU the player call the shots still), and especially not where the writer is accidentally forcing their morality on the player.

    Hell, one of my bigger issues with Halo is that I think they tried too hard to make Master Chief NOT a Gary Stu and actually made him too morally ~rebel~ because it seems cooler — buuuut that’s just me.

  38. KissDisqus
    KissDisqus
    April 21, 2016 at 12:31 am

    Gone Home sold like gangbusters too for its lgbt theme despite a lot of people scoffing at the poor gameplay and story.

    As frustrating as it is for you which you will no doubt publicize to other fans, you still bought the expansion. It’s gonna be the same for other fans. No matter how much bad press they read from reviewers or other fans they’ll still buy it. Unless everyone pirates it or whatever but I can still see enough support for this to have future expansions or even a third installment.

  39. Kirigirim
    Kirigirim
    April 21, 2016 at 12:32 am

    OK but I’m not arguing about the definition, I just want to know if this is a biased review or not, since they way he and you describe this character makes it sound like a lot of male charas in videogames, except I never hear complaints about them in this particular website. I don’t want to think this place also sports the hypocrisy of the websites they criticize so much.

  40. Stilzkin
    Stilzkin
    April 21, 2016 at 1:11 am

    Geralt is pretty much hated by everyone though

  41. TheCynicalReaper
    TheCynicalReaper
    April 21, 2016 at 1:26 am

    4.0 is incredibly generous. Does a game that fails at exactly everything it sets out to do while simultaneously having glitches, save corruptions, and treading retcons over previous installments not deserve a 0.0?

    Maybe the game needs to set your comp on fire to get a 0.
    Enjoyed the review either way. Very well done, mate, and nicely written!

  42. TheCynicalReaper
    TheCynicalReaper
    April 21, 2016 at 1:27 am

    Children like Narnia and Harry Potter.

    You have an incredible point, there.

  43. Viredae
    Viredae
    April 21, 2016 at 1:56 am

    Exactly, a meme-spouting high-schooler is at the very least realistic, albeit possibly cringeworthy, a paladin spouting them is another story entirely.

  44. Fear Me I Am Free
    Fear Me I Am Free
    April 21, 2016 at 2:30 am

    No creativity.

  45. Thanatos2k
    Thanatos2k
    April 21, 2016 at 2:42 am

    In what world, exactly?

  46. Trance
    Trance
    April 21, 2016 at 3:43 am

    What-a-fucking-shame, BG is one of my favorite series and i’m speecheles for what they done to it.

  47. Kainevil Rc
    Kainevil Rc
    April 21, 2016 at 3:56 am

    The bashing continues!

  48. Mr_SP
    Mr_SP
    April 21, 2016 at 4:33 am

    No, the problem is that there are worse games than this. 0.0 is more like “it crashes so often I can’t even finish this sentence without the game crashing on me”, which Dragonspear is not quite bad enough to get.

  49. Mr_SP
    Mr_SP
    April 21, 2016 at 4:38 am

    His own world. The common people consider him an outcast and a mutant and only barely tolerate him as a mercenary and hunter of monsters.

    He’s really competent, certainly, and has a fair number of high-ranking friends here and there, but most villagers don’t appreciate Witchers, and he’s often getting betrayed, manipulated, and lied to.

  50. Mr_SP
    Mr_SP
    April 21, 2016 at 4:41 am

    And Snake is often a tool or patsy of some higher governmental power, Goku borders on being an idiot, so they’re hardly perfect portrayals. Even Kratos, for all of his power, is a hateful miserable person who just wants to hurt everyone who looks at him funny.

  51. Madbrainbox
    Madbrainbox
    April 21, 2016 at 5:12 am

    That’s OK.Kratos and Alex Mercer are also hated by everybody.That doesn’t make them less awesome.

  52. Madbrainbox
    Madbrainbox
    April 21, 2016 at 5:13 am

    There are exceptions to that however.Smiling Jack from VtM:Bloodlines is one of those exceptions.

  53. Immahnoob
    Immahnoob
    April 21, 2016 at 5:40 am

    Kratos is a Gary Stu because he can’t struggle in his own world?

    Did you even read the definition? Because that’s not what a Gary Stu is. Kratos is in no way perfect, hell, he struggles a lot even if he’s Zeus’s half son.

    He dies a few times, he goes through hell and back (most literally), he kills his own family and army, both innocent and guilty, most of the times, he doesn’t give a shit, until of course, he can’t sleep because he’s constantly being tormented by his dreams of his family massacre. He’s basically an enraged insane murderer that can only feel like two emotions.

    That’s in no way a vision of “perfection”.

  54. TRUndercover
    TRUndercover
    April 21, 2016 at 7:19 am

    I’ve always had the originals on hand with the mod you recommended… Guess it’s back to the usual for me then.

  55. Stilzkin
    Stilzkin
    April 21, 2016 at 7:23 am

    People throw stones at him and spit in his face. Nobody likes witchers in the witcher world

  56. Koolz
    Koolz
    April 21, 2016 at 9:17 am

    if you are an author you need to be brave and show your a good author by going outside your comfort zone, not dwelling on your past as some nerdy girl who never got laid and hates men, thinks strong women are lesbians who need not even try and attract men.*Feminist*

    That’s what’s sad. That the writer admitted that she thought Baldur’s Gate was sexist. Then attempted to try and fix what was not broken.

  57. Black_Bob
    Black_Bob
    April 21, 2016 at 10:08 am

    According to the article cited by CC, they were fined based on a code that was instated in 1992. Though it’s been there, I’m not sure how often it’s been enforced or how well known it is. Context is very important in this.
    In any event, there’s a reason it was put into place and it’s probably something that should have been checked before they put up their storefront. I don’t agree with the code and definitely think it should be fought. I hope she wins the case so she doesn’t have to pay the fine. Nor spends the thousands of dollars it would take to try and create an ‘extra room’ to display what she feels is artistic expression.

  58. Nick_Soapdish
    Nick_Soapdish
    April 21, 2016 at 10:23 am

    Amazing review. I loved the detail you go in about the original’s nuances and balance and how it falls flat in pure game design. Reading a review where the reviewer is so hugely qualified to review it due to his experience with the series is so refreshing.

  59. PixelBuff
    PixelBuff
    April 21, 2016 at 11:45 am

    Yeah, if the characters are all obnoxious unbearable hipsters like in Life is Strange then fine.

    But when we have knights and rogues from a medievil fantasy setting spouting internet memes and current-day real world political views, fuck right off to hell.

  60. TheCynicalReaper
    TheCynicalReaper
    April 21, 2016 at 11:46 am

    Fair enough’ I can dig that logic.

  61. pancakewizard
    pancakewizard
    April 21, 2016 at 2:41 pm

    Was with you until:

    “If you want to play a Baldur’s Gate expansion, I would suggest getting the original un-enhanced editions and installing both games along with the BGtutu mod.”

    Which seems a bit petty. Aside from their original content, the Beamdog EE versions are easily the definitive versions of the classic games. I’m an old-school six-disc buyer of the original, and I think to ignore the vast improvements the EE versions made is extremely rose-tinted. The UI changes are in the eye of the beholder, sure but the class balancing? The bug fixes to classic content that never worked properly? The fact it just works out of the gate and is still mod friendly? Come on, now. It just seems like you’re pandering the outraged.

  62. totenglocke
    totenglocke
    April 21, 2016 at 5:20 pm

    Most of the fans who bought the game were pretty pissed at the poor writing and linear gameplay. They then started telling friends as well as leaving bad user reviews. Sure, the critics love it, but we also know that most paid reviewers are paid off and that reviews do not reflect the actual game. I read two of the professional reviews on Metacritic – neither of them mentioned the writing or story AT ALL, which is a pretty big omission when reviewing an RPG. They knew it was crap and thus avoided talking about the negatives entirely. That’s why the professional critic score is twice the user review score. Carl’s review gets my trust because 1) his final score is aproximately what the user review scores are on various sites and 2) he specifically listed what’s bad about it and it matches what users have said is bad about the game.

  63. totenglocke
    totenglocke
    April 21, 2016 at 5:23 pm

    I haven’t played God of War, so I can’t say that Kratos never struggles, but just because he’s good at killing does not making him perfect at everything. As I said before, most male characters are really good at ONE thing (usually violence related) and supporting characters (often female) aid them with other tasks that they’re not as skilled at. It’s completely different from a Mary Sue character who’s perfect at everything and has no flaws.

  64. Thanatos2k
    Thanatos2k
    April 21, 2016 at 7:46 pm

    Oh you mean in canon. Heh. Yeah but like half the people secretly love him and he has cult celebrity status thanks to Dandelion.

  65. Arbitrary
    Arbitrary
    April 21, 2016 at 7:55 pm

    I am deeply smug that I have no idea of who that is.

  66. Arbitrary
    Arbitrary
    April 21, 2016 at 8:02 pm

    Stop it with the melodramatics. That might just as easily have been Right-Wing nutjobs as it might be Feminists.

  67. Arbitrary
    Arbitrary
    April 21, 2016 at 8:05 pm

    I sincerely do not give a shit. Real-life issues are more important than video games, and these people should NOT be getting anyone’s money.

    Fuck your “pettiness”.

  68. Arbitrary
    Arbitrary
    April 21, 2016 at 8:11 pm

    “In what world, exactly?”

    Thankfully, there are enough people in the real world who fucking hates that character, as well. They’re just not the loud minority-types.

  69. pancakewizard
    pancakewizard
    April 22, 2016 at 10:24 am

    Your comment is one massive contradiction. Congratulations.

  70. Sarracenia
    Sarracenia
    April 24, 2016 at 3:58 am

    Didn’t the release of Sod break the modability of the ee? Pretty sure that’s why he said it.

  71. pancakewizard
    pancakewizard
    April 24, 2016 at 11:23 am

    Find me a game that has significant updates that doesn’t immediately bork mod compatibility. Beamdog aren’t anti-mod, they’ve done several updates to make things EASIER for modders. Those mods will just need tweaking to work on the newer release. No mod functionality has been taken out.

  72. Rafa
    Rafa
    April 24, 2016 at 2:14 pm

    And yet, most of the memes in Akiba’s Trip seemed forced or out of place to me. A young japanese otaku using a joke from 1980’s Airplane! didn’t seem to fit in there.