I've been replaying the Baldur's Gate series recently. I never did play
the expansion for either game -- Tales of the Sword Coast for BG1 and
Throne of Bhaal for BG2 -- even though they've been sitting on my stack
for a number of years now. It's not that I didn't enjoy the games. It's
been more of a commitment issues; I found it hard to commit the kind of
time that it'd take to finish these sprawling RPGs and their expansions.
A GWJ discussion on a mod for playing the games in high-res widescreen
finally spurred me to action. I finished the first game and its expansion
last month. Tales of the Sword Coast I found to be less than I'd hoped.
More cramped dungeons that wrecked havoc with the game's poor pathfinding.
Mostly it was a few combat-centric quests.
When I'd originally played the two main games, I remember being
disappointed that BG2 lacked BG1's open world. In BG1, you can
effectively explore the entire world (or at least a very large portion of
it) right off the bat, just by marching through each territory. However
in BG2, however, most areas outside of the city are not accessible until a
related quest places them on your map. And what I've found is that this
constraint in BG2 makes for a tighter gameplay. I wasn't overcome with
the urge to continue exploring, resulting in a game with better pacing.
Yes, there is exploring. However it's tempered and a bit more spread out.
You interact more with the game first, with the quests and with the NPCs.
They say the Baldur's Gate series reinvigorated the RPG genre. I don't
know how true that really it, but they sure are a couple of great