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Would I lie to you? BioWare's 2000 magnum opus is still the best RPG of all time. I'll prove it. With science.BG2 vs. OblivionIt says something terrible that no matter how poorly Advanced Dungeons & Dragons was balanced (and the ruleset used in BG2 is hilariously imbalanced, with the inclusion of silly rules like monks and class kits), it pales in comparison to the mess that is Oblivion's system. In BG2 you have the freedom to create massively awesome parties by including whatever mix of the brilliantly written NPCs you wanted. Some combinations are better than others, and certain main character builds are borderline ridiculous (oh hi there, dual-class fighter-mage katana grandmaster!), but it's nigh impossible to gimp your group into unplayability if you pay any attention at all.Meanwhile, in Oblivion, several advancement paths effectively send you backwards. Not leveling any Endurance-related skills? Have fun with the durability of a newborn kitten wrapped in wet paper towels! Picked Mercantile or Speechcraft as a major? Try not to talk to anyone, because while you get marginally better at a sub-game that nobody cares about, the monsters are out there pumping iron and finding better equipment to eviscerate you with. On the flip side, Oblivion is stupidly easy to break to the point where you're de facto invincible. Try stupid crap like that against a BG2 lich and see how far it gets you.Furthermore, there are more than five faces on characters in BG2. And the women don't look like ugly men. And the dungeons are actually fun and full of neat side paths and alternate solutions, not filled with boring random monsters. But you get the point.
BG2 vs. Mass EffectWell, for one thing, BG2 is an RPG with progression and equipment that actually matter and aren't vague nods to those games we used to play in ages past. For another, BG2 has fun, lighthearted bits in it and doesn't rely solely on testosterone-fueled WE HAVE TO SAVE THE GALAXY RIGHT NOW EVERYTHING IS DOOMED BUT SHEPARD IS THE UBERMENSCH HOORAY FASCISM. I dare you to find anything in Mass Effect or the sequel that's as flat-out amusing as Edwin's poorly researched work on the Nether Scroll (spoilers: He turns himself into a girl and is simultaneously upset and intrigued at his new…attributes). And while I lament the fact that you never get a chance to strap Jan and his unbearable turnip blather to a nuclear bomb, you do at least get to rat him out to the cops and go taunt him in his jail cell.Do I even need to bring up combat? Because there's more to BG2 than "point gun, pull trigger." So that's a plus. You can summon up meat shields to tie up the enemy melee while harassing their spellcasters with ranged attacks. You can stealth up, backstab a dude, and lure his friends into a trap-filled ambush. You can drop entangling webs to block off an enemy group's attack vector while engaging another party. Your creativity is the primary limiting factor in how battles play out.As for Mass Effect, I'm not saying that there's more tactical thinking in Call of Duty single-player…no wait, that's exactly what I'm saying.BG2 vs. Final Fantasy XLet's start with the fact that BG2's ensemble of characters doesn't consist of King *** and the cast of Dawson's Creek. Nobody wants to listen to your problems, Tidus, because they are boring and you are stupid. And we definitely don't want to listen to that godawful fake laugh for fifteen minutes or however long that cutscene goes. Also, Rikku is like sixteen so stop trying to sell her as a sex symbol, ya pervs. BG2 challenges you to help a friend through the emotional fallout of having her husband murdered, explain racism and tolerance to a renegade dark elf, and choose between upholding the duly written law of the land or assisting a good-hearted man caught in the gears of the system. One of these things is obviously better than the other.But seriously, now. One game has you play the half-divine child of the God of Murder who is trying to prevent a power-hungry mage from ripping the divine essence out of mortals and corrupting it for his own ends. The other dresses up teenage daddy issues in asymmetrical clothing. One doesn't screw around with deadly enemies – powerful mages are quite happy to drop a meteor swarm on your whole group, disintegrate your best friend, and gate in a balor during the time stop they cast on the first round of combat. The other has a final boss that you literally cannot die to.Also: Wakka.Any other RPGs you want to front about being better than Baldur's Gate II? Because I'll demolish those weak arguments just as thoroughly.
Email the author Adam Biessener, or follow on Twitter, and Game Informer.
I admit BG 2 was an exhilirating game, but I wouldn't say the best rpg. It would be in the top 3 for me though.
Gothic 2 should definitely be in the conversation. I just finished replaying it last month, loved it all over again. Now I'm playing a fully patched version of Gothic 3 because I never got around to it before. It's not as good as Gothic 2, but still pretty solid.
That being said, the Gothic games still don't contain the amount of sheer story that's present in the Baldur's Gate games. The variety of gameplay and quests in BG outweigh any other game. However, I sometimes think that we are overly influenced by nostalgia. No modern game could duplicate what BG did, the time it takes to develop that many quests in a modern game engine would take considerably longer. Also, Dragon Age is essentially the same sort of game for the modern era.
Also, nothing beats in a kind of masochistic/challenging way finding a secret passage in a tavern next to the gate/exit of Amn only to run into a Lich while you are only level 13 or so and have it instantly cast time stop->wail of the banshee->meteor swarm->protection from evil->gate.
Legend of Legaia
... shut up.
Adam, nice article.. a little blatant but you get the point across.
I think your spot on but a bit harsh. BG2 is a great RPG. They're also other great RPG's. Any SSI game from the C64 days. Also Knights of Legend and Wasteland.
Some newer ones I enjoy as much as BG2 would be Diablo2, NWN, Planescape Torment.
But for me at the end of the day its Bioware thats the RPG king and they took it with BG2 and haven't let go. The ME trilogy is a bonified this generation masterpiece regardless of any of its small shortcomings.
Fan Boy Rant =D
You and Joe Juba should have a Baldur's Gate II vs. Final Fantasy VI showdown.
Baldur's Gate 2 vs. Planescape Torment
Baldur's Gate 2 vs. Icewind Dale
Baldur's Gate 2 versus any other awesome Infinity Engine CRPG
Psh. Re:Coded is the greatest RPG ever. Only The Neverhood could ever come close.
You're a moron. But I'm honestly far too tired to actually refute your points, so just have fun playing your terribly written second-rate, albeit hopelessly addicting rare game.
BG2 v. not playing RPG's at all!
(Yes its a troll, and a set up for lulz)
I disagree, but that's just me.
I like reading these, they're good fun! Keep up the good work Adam!