This Enhanced Edition of Icewind Dale brings the Infinity Engine up-to-date, with nice zooming and screen movement options, and clearer icons, so playing the game has never been easier or more fun than this.
And does Icewind Dale succeed as a remake? Yes it does. On many levels. Number one: the game feels a lot less clunky to play than the original. Number two: Icewind Dale is significantly different to the Baldur’s Gate games that it is worth playing in itself. Number three: the game is a great challenge, requiring tactical prowess during combat in order to survive. Number four: it’s also an item-hoarder and level-grind fanatic’s wet dream – there’s just so much stuff in the game. Number five: Icewind Dale‘s inventories are different to Baldur’s Gate‘s inventories, although the basis of the game is the same: talk to people using a multiple choice menu system to find quests that you must complete to gain experience. The usual ‘Fog of war’ and day and night cycles are present, as they are in every Infinity Engine game, new or old.
While none of the wonderfully-drawn original graphics are disrespected in this remake, it is a bit disconcerting that the graphics go blurry when zoomed right in. Why Beamdog didn’t use a different kind of interpolation in their engine I don’t know. Other than that fault, though, I think the enhanced Infinity Engine works brilliantly. Having a mouse wheel and a middle mouse button (to ‘drag’ the screen into view) speeds up gameplay no end.
Personally, I think I might even rate the Icewind Dale games above the Baldur’s Gate games, because they’re different to the ‘generic’ medieval fantasy style of Baldur’s Gate, and because the interface is slightly better, IMHO.
Levelling-up your characters seems to take a while. I think I played for seven hours before I got my first characters to level two, and even then the game didn’t seem to apportion them any extra skill points to spend. So not quite sure what to think of that.
The Enhanced Edition also features the Heart of Winter expansion pack, which is played separately when chosen from the main menu. It’s another set of landscapes to explore and quests to fulfil, based on the tribal clans of Icewind Dale.