I purchaced this game as soon as it came out into stores. I have been playing it ever since, when i get bored of the current game i am playing, i will always revert back to this game. I love the fact that you can create any character from fighters to theives to mages. It is such a creative game and really makes my imagination go crazy. I like the fact that you can do anything you want, making it more realistic and enjoyable. At such a good price too.. £13 is not much!!? When i was younger i used to play dungeons and dragons with my friends and family, and this game is based on the original D&D game. It is remarkably like D&D and if you like playing that then i highly recommend this game to anyone who likes playing role play games and likes to let their imagination play.
I have owned this game since its release back in 2002 i am perplexed to see it here but still. This is and always will be one of the best RPG games out there. Its before the neverwinter night games so the old AD&D rules apply and anyone familar with AD&D will instantly recognise spells, monsters and the occasional pun. If you have played any of the games in the series you will know this is a winner.
Outstanding gameplay although it may look a little dated compared to todays standards but still a very enjoyable game with many twists and turns and most importantly challenging something that is often missing from RPGs of late.
Controlling the chracters can at fisrt be confusing and will take time to master but once you do no Dragon or Beholder will stand a chance.
If you dont own this already you should definately buy it. I have seen it for around £10 in some retailers a bargain!
Icewind Dale 2 once again returns us to the spine of world, as evil is afoot and humanity must be saved! Taking control of a party of up to six characters, you must be the hero- destroying monsters, solving puzzles and hoarding gold!
Whilst a hugely enjoyable game, this sequel is not for newcomers to the genre. As with all of these games (Fallout (to a lesser extent), Baldur's Gate, Planescape Torment and Icewind Dale), you view the action through the Infinity Engine in isometric 3D. The action is generally easy to follow, although invariably, you will find the odd party member wandering off when the action gets cramped, which can be frustrating. Characters are easy to distinguish, making it easy to work out who needs to do what in the heat of battle and the graphics are bright and colourful. It may not be overly exciting by modern standards, but it more than does the job.
The sound effects carry over from previous games, alongside some new additions, which is good for fans of the series ('To the pain!' is a favourite of mine and no doubt other Princess Bride fans). Weapons clash and spells impact with satisfying clarity alongside the odd speech sample and these are spread out enough so as not to become tedious and repetitive. The music is slightly more intrusive than in the original, on occasion you will enter an area and ambient music will assault your senses, but this is easily fixed in the options screen.
The story is far more interesting than the original (and the Heart of Winter add-on) and far larger as well. It has more depth and substance to it, but still does not compare to the likes of Fallout, Baldur's Gate and Planescape unfortunately, which may put off seasoned players. As with Icewind Dale, there is little in the way of side quests to investigate. Similarly, due to party members all being created by the player, you do not have some of the character specific quests from other games.
The problems with this sequel are generally those that existed with the original. Firstly, there is a MASSIVE bug which prevented me even getting past character creation on certain classes. A quick download fixed this, but if you did not have internet access, then you quite simply would not be able to play the game, which is shocking. Whilst I appreciate that just how massive this game is, it is infuriating that developers allow products to be released with glaring faults in them. Sadly this appears to becoming increasingly common in console games, as well as PC games, but I digress.
Once this fault is fixed, the character creation is an arduous/enjoyable process depending on how geeky you are. As usual, you assign roles to your characters, choosing whether you want them to be fighters, wizards, thieves and the like, before assigning skill sets. Icewind Dale 2 varies from the original formula in that you can assign skills to characters that would not normally use them. So, barbarians can learn to sneak and steal, and wizards can now wear heavier armour, although these characters will be handicapped when using these skills, for example, the heavier the armour, the higher percentage of spell casting failure, so choose wisely!
As the game progresses, you are able to multi-class your warriors, which may or may not be of use to you, depending on your party setup. Every so often, you will also be able to add additional skills to your character and further perks. This range from increased haggling skills, to weapon proficiency and the like. Your party leader seems to make far more difference to your team than in other games, so ensure they have high charisma and reasoning skills. Whilst this is more realistic, it is frustrating when your chosen leader is a Sorcerer, yet the battle formations insist on keeping them at the front of your team. I thought this was editable in Baldur's Gate 2, but cannot seem to do it in this, which is annoying as you obviously want your puny wizard hiding at the back for battles.
Whilst this is great fun, carrying it out six times is pretty wearing, especially if you are a newbie who needs to read every bit of information and find out what everything does. Even seasoned veterans will need some adjusting, for example, a high armour score is now the sign of good quality armour, as opposed to a low score. Some players may find themselves putting loads of effort into three characters and then just rushing the rest in order to get to the game. This issue has been addressed in some respects as you can choose from a selection of predetermined teams, all with their own skills and back-story. Despite this, I cannot help preferring the Baldur's Gate method of creating yourself and then building a team of companions.
Although the story is deeper than before, it is still extremely linear with little in the way of side quests to explore. Newer players may enjoy this as it is less to keep up with, but considering how this is a game for experienced players, this is curious.
The game is incredibly enjoyable, and although your character may lack the substance provided in other games, you will find yourself up until 1am promising yourself that you will explore just one more area. The game is a massive increase in size over the original (as similar a jump as from Baldur's Gate 1 to 2) with plenty of different areas to explore and new enemies to kill. There is little variation in the way of quests, but this is supposed to be a more action based game. I found the game a hell of a lot easier than its predecessor, cruising through on medium difficulty, whereas on the original I had to adjust it for certain fights, especially early in the game. Generally, the quests do not feel like a grind (although quests such as the Battle Room) did feel like a chore, and guiding your party to victory is excellent fun.
The pacing of the game is generally very strong. It is a good balance of exploring and solving the odd puzzle followed by intense fighting. The original frustrated me several times with the amount of running around involved in certain quests and this seems to have been avoided here bar the odd exception.
I am unsure as to who this game was really aimed at and where it fits into the Black Isle catalogue. It is far more complex and larger in size than the original, which will appeal to fans of the original, but put off newcomers. Veterans from other games may find it enjoyable, but due to its linear nature, there is not a huge amount of replay value for plot, only for character variation. In its defence, it was marketed as a linear game, and not as another Baldur's Gate style adventure, but for me unfortunately, the comparisons remain. Newcomers to the genre may play the original and then this to learn the ropes, but when they move onto something such as Baldur's Gate, may find themselves disappointed at how many features are missing. This game may appeal to more impatient role-players, who just want to blitz through a game and not worry about reading reams of text, and in that aspect this is definitely a winner
I know that this review probably comes across quite negative about the game, but that is only due to the high standards of other releases. This is an extremely good game, but for me, it is not as classic or as enduring as some of their other titles.
You never learn do you! After slogging through hordes of enemies, searching for tiny clues, and carting tonnes of treasure about, you still came back to Icewind Dale! Have you not had enough of murderous barbarians, devious extra-planar monsters, and helpless villagers?
Still - the scenery is nice, the music is always good, and you could do with the money after wasting the original hoard from the frozen north on Cormyran Brandy and that castle in Merrydale.
So - the adventure returns to the Spine of the World mountains, deep in the cold, wintry North of Faerun. The old legends of the fabled adventurers remain, and a generation later, new terror and mystery has returned. Signing on to serve on the Palisade at Targos, ostensibly to repulse a Goblin horde, you find yourselves drawn into another endless chase through the more remote locales of the region in pursuit of an ever threatening malice that ultimately leads you back to the Severed Hand fortress that featured in the original Icewind Dale. Along the way you meet some old friends from the original game, a range of new and frightening enemies, solve a few riddles, right a few wrongs, get lost in a maze of a forest, race around a time-looped magma chamber, and try to kill a Temple Guardian that barely fits onto the screen, among others.
The story is certainly different, and a new array of monsters to chop up does provide entertainment, but as with other Black Isle releases, the story is linear and it is the way you approach the adventure rather than the adventure itself that changes each time you play.
Based on the new fangled (well, old-fangled now) 3rd Edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons rules, the focus is less on the glorious archetypal heroes of 2nd Edition, as the Baldur's Gate and first Icewind Dale game were, but is now on multi-skilled and infinitely variable wannabes who think they can wield a 2 handed sword, wear plate mail and cast fireballs whilst sneaking quietly. Tsk...
The advantages to the new system do include a greater emphasis on multi-classing, far more options for skills and feats - a huge variety of non-weapon proficiencies allow you to tailor your character exactly as you wish - and a wider choice of races and subraces. Your Dwarf can now be a Shield, Hill or Duergar, your humans can have outer-planar blood and be Tieflings or Aasimar, and a Deep Gnome Monk is certainly not be messed with.
Speaking of Monks - the class system is also altered from the previous incarnations. Monks are back in all their unarmed combat fury, and with increasing resistances to all sorts of things as levels progress. Druids are much better spellcasters and have alternate shapeshifting abilities - half-dragons perchance?! Warriors can now be Barbarians and lumber around in furs with enormous axes, cleaving orcs in twain, as is their wont. Rogues can now have a number of offensive skills that go beyond simple lock-picking, and make them much more than just an afterthought.
Level progression is good too - you can choose (within reason) to advance one multi-class level independent of another, tweaking your character as you see fit, and by the time you reach level 30, your party of merry adventurers will be able to take on a room full of demons, invisible backstabbing thieves, conjured giants and merciless priest-knights. Whish is handy because you'll have to!
In terms of Gameplay the excellent Infinity Engine has undergone some obvious improvements as you'd expect after several years of computing advances. The graphics are wonderfully detailed and smooth, and the important bad guys are noticeably grander and more worrying than the last lot. With the ability to import characters and portraits from the previous game, you can even enjoy your original parties' return as they take on a new challenge. The conversation options are a bit more intelligent now, and you will need to choose a charismatic, intelligent and fairly neutral leader to get the most out of this interaction. Make the goody 2-shoes Paladin your commander and you can expect no luck in slipping through some sections to scout about! A wide choice of skills and races used in your party will ensure you get the most of the quest experience on offer, and the game actively encourages tactical thinking, particularly in the larger battles where standing at the front and trying to mow your way through to the enemy leader is doomed to failure.
As with the first game, there are a host of upgrades and enhancements available online. From official patches to fix those troublesome bugs, to cheats that let you improve your party skills quicker, to the ultimate editor that lets you beef up that feeble Orc General with a spiffy weapon or two and more treasure, or the addition of bonus merchants that sell a new range of powerful magical items, as well as walkthroughs, more portraits and sample characters, the online world of RPG tweaking has never been so accessible.
The game is somewhat longer than the first, but with no sequel. The same Heart of Fury mode carried over from the original game is there, and you can expect to spend hours hacking your way through piles of green skinned corpses if you choose this option. There are the same Wizard and Priest spells as the original, with old faithfuls like Fireball rendered in epic room-sweeping might, and with plenty of excellent new additions to help you supplement the more brutal skills of your fighters, you can confidently march through an array of puzzles, traps, alliances and head on skirmishes as you chase your foes across the frozen wastes of the North.
Overall, Icewind Dale II is a good sequel to the first. Fresher, brighter, more intelligent, but with the same feel and charm of the original, this game will appeal to both the old D&D player who wants some authentic adventuring, as well as the neophyte player who fancies some adaptable gameplay and a challenging time.