The Baldur's Gate series has undergone a major transformation on its way to the PlayStation 2. Learn about all the changes straight from the developers.
Anyone who's ever thrown a 20-sided die will relish the Baldur's Gate series on the PC--its legit Dungeons & Dragons-based gameplay mechanics will snare the most jaded paper-and-dice quester. After three storied installments on the PC (and a fourth on the way), the Baldur's Gate series will have its console coming-out party with Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance for the PlayStation 2. But don't think for a minute that the Baldur's Gate series will make its transition without undergoing a major evolution. The developers behind Dark Alliance, Snowblind Studios and Black Isle Studios, are committed to giving PlayStation 2 owners the pick-up-and-play ability they crave.
While the story lines of the three original Baldur's Gate games meld together, Dark Alliance shares only its setting with its predecessors. "There is no correlation between the stories in Dark Alliance and the PC Baldur's Gate games other than the fact that they both take place in the Forgotten Realms and involve the city of Baldur's Gate," said Ryan Geithman, a programmer at Snowblind Studios. You begin the game by choosing one of three character types: a warrior, a sorceress, or a ranger. The game then follows the story of a group of farmers who are forced to leave their pillaged land. While fleeing to the city of Baldur's Gate, a kidnapping occurs, and the subsequent rescue attempt embroils you in a quest to thwart a brewing civil war. The developers claim that Dark Alliance will never be the same experience each time, through. "The game uses some cool [item randomization]," explained Darren Monahan, a producer at Black Isle Studios. "For example, a variety of items that you find throughout the game are randomized based on the new D&D system for [each item]. You'll be able to find things that your friends might not."
"When you walk into a room full of spiders, there's no roll for initiative. Initiative is determined by who has the quicker reflexes"|
--Darren Monahan, producer, Black Isle Studios.
Dark Alliance includes 50 levels, split up into three acts. The game may be played on a variety of difficulty settings, and up to two players may play the game at once in its single-screen cooperative mode. Alternately, one player may go at it alone. Part Diablo and part Gauntlet, Dark Alliance's gameplay sharply strays from the console-RPG formula. The constant quests that were presented in Baldur's Gate on the PC have been replaced with bands of enemies flooding the screen. The six traditional Dungeon & Dragons attributes are represented in the game, but pausing battles to form a strategy or give orders to party members is no longer an option. Spells may be cast and melee weapons may be swung with the press of a single button. Platform jumping is occasionally required, but it's not the main focus of the gameplay. Much like in Diablo, barrels may be busted apart to obtain items. The game is clearly more action-oriented than its title might suggest. As such, Monahan believes that comparing the PC and PlayStation 2 versions of Baldur's Gate is impossible. "The game is completely in real-time, and the emphasis is on fast-paced gameplay," he explained. "When you walk into a room full of spiders, there's no roll for initiative. Initiative is determined by who has the quicker reflexes." The way characters level up has also been altered from the Dungeons & Dragons rules to streamline the process. "If you played strictly by the rules with a first-level sorceress, the player would probably be dead before he or she entered the second room of a dungeon," Geithman said.
- Release Date: Sep 26, 2002 (JP)
- Release Date: Mar 21, 2003 (EU)
- Release Date: Apr 25, 2003 (EU)
- Release Date: Feb 10, 2004 (US)