When Canadian company Beamdog/Overhaul Games decided to remake the Baldur’s Gate games, they began by remaking BioWare‘s Infinity Engine – the engine that underpinned the entire series. Calling their new improved version the “Infinity Enhanced Engine“… (A snappy name, I’m sure you’ll agree…), they then set about importing all of the original assets from Baldur’s Gate; remaking stuff where necessary; and created a whole load of new content in the process themselves, eventually releasing it through Atari as Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition in 2012.
While that might sound like they rushed it – they didn’t. The initial contract negotiations alone (between the D&D brand owners, Wizards of the Coast, and Baldur’s Gate‘s owners, Atari) took 14 months. And, while the Enhanced Edition isn’t perfect, it is quite a brilliant repackaging and reworking, and is a wonderful RPG in its own right.
All the menus and inventories have been modernised, without removing what made them good in the first place. And of course the higher resolution gives a much wider view of the world in the main window. The updated ‘side bars’ have buttons to the area map, the journal, the inventory, the character statistics, spellbooks, and options (access to saving and loading) on the left. And – depending on context – there are other buttons too, like the ‘rest party’ button (represented with a closed eye with eyelashes), the ‘pause’ button, and ‘Quick Save’ and ‘Help’ buttons. On the right are the character portraits of your party members, plus – at the bottom – the essential ‘select all party members’ button, the party AI on or off button, and the ‘labels on or off’ button. The updated interface is quite excellent, and it is made even better in my opinion if you switch on ‘Scale Interface’ in the graphics options (it’s off by default).
Whether you’re playing Baldur’s Gate again, or playing it for the first time, there are a number of good reasons to play this game. It’s very atmospheric (the music is especially good), involving, challenging, tactical, rewarding, and pretty much harmless in terms of ‘risk of wasting life doing’.
If you like RPGs you’re almost certainly going to get something out of any of the Infinity Engine game remakes, even if you’ve already played the originals.