Baldur's Gate

released on Dec 21, 1998

Baldur's Gate is a fantasy role-playing video game developed by BioWare and published in 1998 by Interplay Entertainment. It is the first game in the Baldur's Gate series and takes place in the Forgotten Realms, a high fantasy campaign setting, using a modified version of the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons (AD&D) 2nd edition rules. It was the first game to use the Infinity Engine for its graphics, with Interplay using the engine for other Forgotten Realms-licensed games, including the Icewind Dale series, as well as other licensed D&D campaign worlds such as Planescape: Torment. The game's story focuses on players controlling a protagonist of their own creation who finds themselves travelling across the Sword Coast alongside a party of companions, to unravel the mystery surrounding a sudden iron crisis affecting the region and attempting to discover the culprits behind it, all while uncovering dark secrets about their origins and dealing with attempts on their life.

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I've tried to analogize the world and encounter design of this game to Ys, in that dungeons feel like brief interruptions to wandering through a flat overworld and bumbling into encounters, or to Kaeru no Tame ni Kane wa Naru, in that the disproportionately high experience yields from certain encounters make levels feel more like a progression item one's seeking out. What I feel it's closest, too, though, are the impossibly pure games promised by mobile RPG ads, in which the only stat is character level and the only gameplay's in going after weak enemies to level before taking on stronger ones. This isn't to say it's completely devoid of strategy or decision-making, but that every bit of character progression feels like it expands the range of where one can go and what one can do. It's not a terribly interesting world, and this feeling drops off around the halfway point, when the experience starts to come slower and the plot becomes more focused, but it's a neat structuring device while it lasts.
It's notable for being a D&D CRPG with some commitment to pacing and presentation, but it's incredible how badly it handles certain rudimentary parts of the genre: it's a dungeon crawler in which sending a party down a narrow corridor breaks the pathing. Most of the difficulty evaporates with a party of fighters wielding bows supported by mages doing crowd-control, except for a very sudden spike at the end which kind of begs to be cheesed. I'm not actually certain how I beat Sarevok and I think it might have been via friendly fire from his own party.
Absolutely incredible that the company responsible for this would go on to briefly be the kings of the American otome game. The cast is thoroughly sexless and unpleasant: I could not even bring myself to like the Solanis-coded glass canon fighter.

Played the enhanced edition and SoD, pretty great game, although it shows its age
Here's my no commentary playthrough

I played BG2 before I played this, so while it was still a fun experience, this game was never gonna be able to match that masterpiece. BG2 just does everything better and is a more epic RPG experience.

Fallout came out over a year earlier and does almost everything better, the main exception being how companions are handled. While I do find this game's combat more fluid than Fallout's, the encounter design is, more often than not, fucking abominable and ends up making the combat as a whole feel worse as a result. This would be a friendship ruiner if it were an actual D&D campaign, maybe even a cause for justifiable homicide. I'll give it props for its cultural impact and for cementing BioWare's place in video games, but that's about it.

el mejor en lo suyo, pero no para mi...