- Platform: Windows 98 / 2000 / Me / XP
- ESRB Rating: Teen
- Media: CD-ROM
Icewind Dale II plays like Baldur's Gate with one major difference: you create and control your entire party, which leaves you free to experiment with the huge array of options D&D 3rd Edition makes possible. Halfling paladins, wizards with thieving skills, it's all possible because Black Isle dutifully added all the new skills, rules, options, and feats given to D&D characters in the tabletop game.
The story line is long and epic and maybe too focused for its own good. You can experiment with any character combination you want, but you can't really range far and wide, adventuring as you wish. The story concerns a goblin army that is threatening human settlements far to the north. Infernal implications quickly surface as you learn that the goblins' masters might not be of this prime-material plane. The combat is fast, furious, constant, and extremely challenging. One of the reasons Baldur's Gate II worked so well was that your priest always had enough healing powers and Raise Dead spells handy. In Icewind Dale II, you begin at first level, so for half the game you must trudge homeward whenever somebody dies, which is frequent. The enemy appears in large numbers, usually with a spell caster in tow--and just beyond one group of enemies is another one. It's relentless and strategically satisfying, if more than a little frustrating too.
Fans of the earlier games who were perhaps a bit unsatisfied with the single-PC focus of Neverwinter Nights will delight in another chance to play party-based D&D. --Bob Andrews
I enjoyed the freedom to totally and completely create my characters. From selecting genders and races to deciding on stats to balance my class choices (keeping in mind the multi-classing that I was going to be doing), the creation process took me about 45 minutes. I was finally ready to begin.
And boy, is this game hard!!! All the enemies seemed to target my extremely low hit point druid (even though he was in the back), so I had to revive him a few times (financially a burden). Then, at the higher chapters, everyone, even my whoop-butt barbarian, was dying. Had to reload quite often to change my strategy.
The only real problem I had with this game (difficulty issues aside) was that your spellcasters affect both your own party members and the bad guys with their spells. So, a fireball blasts not only the frost salamander, but the three fighters up there meleeing with it. Bummer. No wonder the barbarian kept dying!
Watch out for the bugs. See the official website for a listing; they can be pretty nasty, especially when you haven't saved for a while and the game crashes to the desktop (only happened once for me). Advice: SAVE OFTEN.
I recommend this game to anyone with the time to play it. Be warned, it will eat up your free time (not to mention your sleep time--it's how late? And I'm not done yet?). Buy it and have fun!
You completely create your full party (up to six characters), adding all of their feats and voices. Although it is possible that in Baldur's Gate you couldn't really fit your NPCs into your dream party, their vivid personalities clearly shone through and they bantered frequently. The player, in Baldur's Gate, was able to develop one character through a set of choices and actions. In IWD2, however, your characters seem to have as much depth as the goblins that they are killing. A handful of the NPCs have some interesting personalities, yet the ratio of hostile creatures/people to unhostile creatures/people is at least 10:1, meaning that you'll be engaged in a lot more killing and violence than dialogue and intrigue. The combat system is the same as in the BG series, which may come as a relief to some. However, the battles are much more difficult to the point of the game losing its fun. The experience, I felt, was slightly screwed up, as at times you would be fighting creatures that give perhaps 75 XP each. Then suddenly a crystal golem (uses the ice golem model) runs along and (eventually) gets killed by your party members, giving 4000 XP. The plotline itself seems to be lacking the depth of the Baldur's Gate series, with any other serious plot than a horde of goblins attempting to destroy the Ten Towns only appearing in the second to last chapter. Even then I felt the plot still had several holes even at the end.Read more ›
The replay value is nil, because the plot is too centralized to the game, and you can only go to one place at a time. Read more