There have been many video games based on Dungeons & Dragons over the years, though none have been more renowned as the Baldur’s Gate series. The PC classic CRPG games have their fair share of fans, both with those who love video games, and those who love the tabletop campaigns, with many dungeon masters basing their stories on the series.
Many stories are ready to be told in this package of Baldur’s Gate, as it includes not only the sequel, but all of the expansions as well. The first game has you create a character, choosing your class, and basing your stats off of dice rolls to determine how many points you have to allocate. It may not have the same level of customisation as modern games, but there is enough here to help you make the character your own.
Jumping into the campaign, you start off with a bunch of gold to buy some equipment, before being forced on a journey due to a wave of assassins hunting you down for some unknown reason. Being new to the outside world, you must figure out why someone wants you dead, and hopefully find travelling companions to help you on your journey.
The campaign is simple, but what makes Baldur’s Gate so addicting is all of the side quests made available to you. Most NPCs are named, and generally have something interesting to say. Not only that, it seems like almost half of them have some form of quest for you to do, with many having multiple ways to complete them.
When you are done with a campaign, you can export your character to one of the expansions and continue your story, which is a neat feature, especially considering that the stories told are what make Baldur’s Gate a special game. It is just unfortunate that not all aspects have aged as well.
The gameplay revolves around exploration, conversation and combat. You explore an area by controlling your character from an isometric perspective, using the left stick to walk around, and interacting with the A button. This doesn’t feel all that comfortable for the most part, as the controls are somewhat adapted from a mouse and keyboard control scheme, so lining up and focusing on what you want to interact with can be a little finicky.
Interacting with the menus can be a bit of a mess. Thankfully, you can pause the gameplay so you can select the moves you wish to make in combat, but regardless, any time you have to interact with a menu is an absolute chore. In fact, the control scheme in general just doesn’t translate well to a controller at all, and that is only the beginning of the woes for this Switch version.
The text hasn’t been optimised from the PC to the console, so everything is difficult to read on the TV. Undock the Switch, and trying to read anything is a futile effort. Wrestling with the controls through combat becomes tiresome as well, as you mix between selecting enemies to attack with a mouse cursor, but select abilities through a more traditional menu. It just doesn’t feel natural, instead coming off as clunky and cumbersome.
Finally, the game seems to suffer from sound issues and crashes. One such crash ended in a corrupted save file, losing 20 hours of progress. Even if you love Baldur’s Gate, these issues make this version hard to recommend.
Baldur's Gate and Baldur's Gate II: Enhanced Edition £39.99
A CRPG classic whose story holds up, though suffers from a cumbersome control scheme, sound bugs, game crashes, and seemingly poor optimisation. If you are keen to try out these classics, unfortunately the Switch version is not an ideal way to do so.