Hey, some people here may remember me from the Beamdog forums. I've played through the entirety of the BG series front to back over a dozen times, grew up with Icewind Dale 1&2, was part of the closed beta for Planescape Torment: Enhanced Edition, played Neverwinter Nights, am a huge fan of Neverwinter Nights 2, and played both DOS1 and 2. Also played all of the Dragon Age series, which I think warants comparision. Here are some of my very spoiler-heavy
thoughts on the Early Access so far.1. Performance:
I last upgraded my PC more than five years ago, so a lot of the issues come from my hopelessly outdated machine, but I noticed that the biggest issues arised when:
1.1 There where a lot of particle effects at once, like right at the Nautiloid crash side and in Waukeen's Rest, which made my framerate drop to sometimes less than a single FPS. (So it would prolly make sense to add a video option that lowers particle effects in some way).
1.2 There where cinematics in which the landscapes and animations didn't load quick enough.2. Companions:
2.1 I get that you are going for a quality over quantity aproach here, but I always found that one of the things that granted a lot of replayability to the series was the large roster of companions to choose from. I do still kinda miss this aspect tho.
2.2 The writing for all of them seems pretty good and promising so far and I am looking forward to learning more about them.
2.3 I wish they would voice their opinions more during conversations with other NPCs. Overall they feel a bit too passive at times.
2.4 They also seem all to be rather same-y visually and culturally, not counting Lae'zel and maybe Astarion. One of the big selling points of the companions in the series so far has always been how diverse and from all over the place the companions were. (Again, not countin Lae) they all seem to be from the Sword Coast, which I find a little boring. Everyone is either human, elven or half-elven.3. Visuals:
3.1 As far as my outdated donkey of a computer allows for it, I think it looks great! Definetly gonna upgrade my PC before the proper release.
3.2 The tieflings from the Grove looked all a little bit too same-y, it would be nice if they could be better differentiated with some more horn options and more varied skin tones. 4. Character Creation:
4.1 I'd love to get more options for faces or a proper face editor.
4.2 The hair in this game looks stunning.
Games in this genre have a history of terrible hair options, so I am really glad about this.
4.3 I would like the option to choose a different place of origin for my character than just Baldur's Gate or at least a heads up at the start of the game about the fixed place of origin. I go heavy on the roleplaying and as a huge fan of the Forgotten Realms I had come up witn a whole backstory for Charname, which then was suddenly thrown out of the window when the dialogue options related to being Baldurian popped up.
4.4 More tiefling origin options. I know, WotC has thrown out everything that made tieflings fun and interesting with 4th edition and I am positively surprised that there are more options than just Asmodean, but I would very much appreciate to add in "generic" tiefling options where you just choose the plane of origin for their feindish ancestor and get some extra cosmetics that are a bit more out there. I already had big plans for playing the descendant of my player character from NWN2 and Ghannayev, which would have made Charname a tiefling descended from a Nighthag, but that was not an option.
4.5 More deity options for clerics and co. Wanted to play a cleric of Lathander, which I thought would be a no-brainer, considering that all good-aligned clerics in BG2 where assumed to be followers of Lathander. I know it is probably too much to ask for an extensive list of possible deity patrons, but at least having Lathander and Talos added in for continuities sake seems like a no-brainer for me.
4.5.1 Another suggestion: If the dialogue writing/plot allows for it, maybe add in the option to custom build deities? Like, punch in a name and select the spell domains yourself.5. Continuity/References:
I know that this game takes place roughly a hundret years after the Bhaalspawn war and also that that story is over, but it would still be nice to get a few more references in there than just a three books mentioning Minsc, Boo and Faldorn. Gonna assume that Minsc and his gang from the comics are gonna have a cameo at some point in the finished game and also that Coran is gonna show up, but I'd really like to meet some more of the old companions and/or their descendants. I know some things need to be kept vague to not screw with continuity issues, but yeah. Speaking of the inevitable Minsc cameo: Please, for the love of Bhaal, do him better justice than the comics did. He is more than a dumb mountain of muscles who spews one liners about butt kicking and hamsters.6. The "Vibe":
6.1 Felt right at home. Granted, the 3D made it feel more like a continuation of NWN2 rather than BG, but I am fine with that. Love the dark tone. Could do with a bit more of the silly fun bits that the series is known for. (And before some smartass says anything: Yes, the series always had both, and that's part of what made it great.)
6.2 Really glad about the plot hook. My biggest gripe with a lot of RPGs is that they don't account for roleplaying, which I figured BG always did well, giving a wide range of characters a reason to participate in the plot. The illithid tadpole feels right at home with getting your soul stolen by Irenicus.
6.3 Speaking of Irenicus, this might just be a thing with the Early Access specifically, but what I am missing is a face to go with the looming threat over Charname's head. It all feels a bit too vague with the "Absolute" right now. Right now I don't feel nearly as invested in the Absolute as I did with Sarevok, Irenicus and Caelar, or even the much weaker Five or Amelyssan. Probably because it is just a vague title.7. Bugs, maybe?
7.1 There's of course a lot of bugs, since it's Early Access, but there was one particular bit where I don't know if it was just an oversight or a bug. As part of the whole druid grove thing you can find out that Kagha is part of Faldorn's Shadow Druids, but I wasn't able to do anything with that information. Would have loved to be able to go "Hey Halsin, before you let her off with a slap on the wrist, she has been working against you on purpose the entire time. Here's all the proof I found."
7.2 Sometimes the party will go "Hey, I found something" but I have no idea what, since the tab button often also doesn't highlight those things. Either add all of those things to the tab button highlighting or find a different way to better point out what the character in question just found.8. Wishes:
8.1 Make the tab button show more. The few things it highlights render it frustratingly useless. Heck, could even add in options for people to choose how much and what kind of things they want highlighted.
8.2 Character portraits: A long going staple of the series was being able to use character portraits like so far throughout the series and beyond. I know that now with 3D graphics that is not really needed
anymore, but I think it adds a lot to the vibe, atmosphere and immersion.
8.3 Make it more obvious how the to-hit-rate is determined. Also I am confused how one can get a 100% success rate on anything, if a nat1 is supossed to be an automatic faillure. Even with advantage that would would add up to less than a 100%. I guess this change was made on purpose?
8.4 Do not, under any circumstances, name drop Abdel Adrian. You probably are aware of the general opinion fans of the series have about him and the novels, but aside from that I'd like to play the game being able to pretend without issue that my
Bhaalspawn was the one in the history of my playthrough. So, like, either not mention them at all or keep it nice and vague with "Gorion's Ward" or something.
Aaaaanywho, the Early Access so far has been very promising and I am looking forward to the full game. Bedankt en fijne avond