Developer: Beamdog
Price: $9.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0.2
Device Reviewed On: iPad 2

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★½☆
Game Controls Rating: ★★★☆☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★½
Replay Value Rating: ★★★★½

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition is a hard game. It always was, to be fair. As a young teenager, a friend and I spent one Winter working our way through the game. It involved a lot of patience and a lot of planning. It was like no other RPG we’d seen before and it was wonderful.

Using Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2 rules, it’s no wonder why Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition is so hardcore. Over the years, since its initial release, RPGs have become all the more newbie friendly and accessible to the point that BioWare’s epic may seem all the more intimidating than the first time round. Like any good yet hard game, though, it rewards those who take the time to learn its ways properly. It’s glorious, even despite its iPad conversion flaws.

There’s a solid 100 hours worth of storytelling, murder and intrigue here, making any complaints about its price quite pointless. Bundled alongside its expansion pack, Tales of the Sword Coast, and the arena focused The Black Pits, Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition is exceptional value for money. It even comes with some new characters, Rasaad, Neera and Dorn, slipping into the established world as if they’d always been there, albeit at a price.

There are issues, though, mostly in the form of the game’s control system. Previously having been designed with a mouse and keyboard in mind, Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition does falter on the iPad. The controls are far from a disaster but they are distinctly awkward at times. At first, it’s not immediately clear what each button does as, despite the availability of a help button, there’s a lot to take in during the expansive tutorial. Holding a finger to a button to bring about a tooltip would have been much appreciated here. Spells suffer for this too as they prove particularly awkward to distinguish from each other at first.

Moving around works well enough, though, with the only issue being when the player wishes to loot a body or open a door. While the PC version allowed for the player to hover the mouse over such an object, the iPad version doesn’t clearly define such parameters. Taps aren’t always completely accurate either, making it too easy to mistap an important line of dialogue. Scrolling around the screen instead of moving is a common mistake, also.

Lag issues are a big problem, too, with area effect spells reducing my iPad 2 to a crawl until they dissipated. Such issues are frustrating to say the least, and I’m hopeful for a significant patch that rectifies such problems and rightfully boosts its score.

It’s a testament to Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition‘s quality that it still richly deserves its 4 star rating, even despite such significant issues. As a precursor to games such as the Mass Effect or Dragon Age series, it’s an immensely important game and one that’s aged well. Its graphics were never meant to be cutting edge, which helps somewhat. Forward planning is absolutely vital here and players will be punished harshly for not thinking ahead. Take the time to savor what’s there and there are literally hundreds of hours of gaming to enjoy, with a ridiculous number of side quests to partake in, alongside the sterling main quest line.

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