Baldur’s Gate for iPad Review

Blog, Reviews, Technology

Baldur's Gate iPadThis is a game I’ve been wanting to play again for many, many years. The original Baldur’s Gate released 14 years ago was yesterday re-released on the iPad. I remember playing the original game on a Pentium 166Mhz machine with 16MB RAM. The 10 inch iPad I have in my hands is more powerful than this machine. A few years ago I tried to run it on a more modern machine, but running a game originally at 800×600 pixels on a HD monitor made it look frankly awful.

Earlier in the year I heard that Overhaul Games were making ‘Baldur’s Gate Enhanced Edition’ that would see it released for more modern machines, including Android and iOS powered tablets. It was supposed to be released in September, then it was delayed to November 28th, then it was delayed by more than a week, but finally it’s here.

The important thing to start off saying is that this game has been fairly heavily updated, running the same engine as Baldur’s Gate 2. What this means is that the buttons, fonts, menus and the general interface looks much more like BG2 and therefore a bit more up-to-date. Also of note is the inclusion of the weapons and character classes from the sequel. This means you can play as a Monk or a Wizard Slayer and be equipped with a Scimitar – something that couldn’t be done on the original game.

So in terms of the gameplay, this game seems made for the iPad. I was concerned it would be too different from the original, but my fears were allayed as soon as I got going. Controlling your party is very easy and scrolling and zooming around different landscapes is a breeze. For me, there are only two issues in terms of controlling the game. Firstly, a quick save button would be a very nice addition to help me keep saving without disrupting the flow of the game. Secondly, something needs to be done about the difficult in picking up items dropped by defeated foes. I’ve still not got to grips with it as it’s very easy to ‘miss’ the item when you touch the iPad. I’m not sure how this would be fixed, but if anyone has any tips, that would be great.

Because the iPad has flash memory storage, this game runs much faster than the original. Loading, saving and changing locations is so much quicker than the original game, you can go from your home screen to gameplay in less than 30 seconds. The only time I’ve experienced any lag is when ‘web’ type spells are cast – then the game seems to slow down quite a lot. Maybe this is something that will be fixed in a future update.

This game isn’t perfect, it has crashed a few times and if I leave the game to go to a webpage or different app, when I return to the game it’s rebooted back to the title menu. This hasn’t disrupted my gameplay too much so far and I’m sure Overhaul Games will provide updates to fix these issues.

Baldur's Gate for iPad

There are three in-app purchases – two characters to find in the game and a set of new player portraits. I’ve bought these but not put them to much use as of yet. Nor have I tried out ‘The Black Pits’, but I’m sure this will be a great feature too. I’ve had this game less than 24 hours, so this is only an initial review, but so far the signs are very positive. It’s great to be playing this game once again.

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