There’s no shortage of games to play these days, of course, but some are a little more difficult to play than others. If you’re one of those folks who likes to pretend that emulation doesn’t exist, particularly for older platforms, there’s going to be a few titles here and there that just might be out of reach. Thankfully, our modern era of remasters and rereleases makes it pretty easy to fix that!
Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance 2 is back and ready for action after just nearly two decades of relative obscurity and ridiculous auction prices. Dungeons & Dragons fans, rejoice!
We’ll follow several adventurers as they journey throughout the D&D Sword Coast setting. What’s initially just a raid by some goblins turns out to be a whole lot more. Turns out there’s a villainous vampire threatening the central city of Baldur’s Gate with his nasty schemes, and it’s up to you (and a friend, if you’ve got one) to solve the problem once and for all. Hope you’ve got a stake and some garlic handy.
In case you haven’t played the original 2004 game – which is quite likely, given its status as one of the rarer titles on its respective consoles – what we’ve got here is pretty similar to the original Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance. That means it’s got a lot in common with PS2-era action-RPGs like the Champions of Norrath series. You’ll pick a class, run around beating dudes up, level up and gain skills to get stronger and hope to whatever D&D god you pray to that you’ll find some tasty loot.
It’s all fairly straightforward fare, but at the time it was somewhat unusual to be able to play a Diablo-style game like this on a console with a controller.
These things still work just as well these days! Grab a controller – or a mouse and keyboard if the authentic experience maybe isn’t such a big deal – and get to smashing. Each of the five characters has their ups and downs, with my favorite being the Moon Elf Necromancer who’s able to sap the health from entire groups of enemies at once.
What’s more, later in the game your character will gain access to advanced skills that diversify their kit a little bit, so that Necromancer ends up gaining access to shadow magic that he can use to supplement his life-draining and undead-summoning standby skills. There’s a great feeling of progression as you continue through the game and become godlike. Just keep your finger on the health potion button and you’re bound to get there eventually.
If there were any real complaints about the original console release of Dark Alliance 2, it’s that the game struggled with the confines of its platforms. You’ll be glad to hear that’s no longer the case! Even mid-tier PCs can make this game sing like an angelic choir, running at a lovely 60 FPS with no issues whatsoever. Grab a friend for some local or online (via remote play) multiplayer and you’ve got a solid weekend of action-RPG adventure ahead.
It’s always nice to see a game relegated to the annals of high-priced history return to the limelight. Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance 2 is no exception, of course. This hack-and-slasher might be a little simple compared to some of its modern contemporaries, but as a straightforward adventure that’s all about making those numbers go up, it’s a solid choice. Find a friend who’s willing to team up – and maybe play the Cleric – to make the whole shebang even more enjoyable.