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 Home -> Reviews -> Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn
Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn By John "Award" Del Percio, November 11, 2000
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Developer :BioWare
Publisher :Interplay/Black Isle
Release Date :Late October 2000
Demo Available : No
Table of Contents

· Introduction
· Closer Look
· Facts
· Final

The War of Worlds

One of the greatest catastrophes since the Time of Troubles has befallen Faerun. Amn's largest, most powerful guild of thieves, the Shadow Thieves (who can even rival the might of the Cowled Wizards, and the Government of Amn), has been challenged by a rival guild. In true D&D style, though, it wouldn't be a storyline if everything was quite so simple. Some very strange things have been happening around the city. Among them, you were captured. Assuming you defeated Sarevok in the original game, the story goes that you, Imoen, Jahiera, Minsc, and Khalid were on your way back home to Candlekeep, when you were attacked in the middle of the night. You awake to find yourself being tortured by a mad wizard in some sort of Frankenstein-esque laboratory. Let the games begin.

THIS is the glory of Helm?
These paladins have class
Nice place for a madman to stay
Do you REALLY wanna open that tomb?

From the very onset of the game, you'll realize on thing that makes BG2 rather unique. It has a rather unique balance between Medieval Fantasy, and Sci-Fi. This is not to say that you'll be tracking down access panels during most of the game. Don't worry, Tudorian buildings, grandiose Greek structures, and castles still rule the game. But don't be surprised to find more than your share of Jules Vernian gadgets and machines along your way. A primitive submarine and a flying machine all make their appearances, and what's with that big steel dome in the middle of the city? Regardless of that, the rest of the game should be extremely familiar to those who have played Baldur's Gate, Planescape: Torment, or Icewind Dale. The interface and everything else is similar.

One thing you'll love right off, is that you can import your old Baldur's Gate character right into BG2 to start off your party as an all-powerful mage. If you don't, you will still start as a higher level character. You can also chose between any of the new classes, or a specialist kit for any of the classes. You'll be grateful that you've done this when you get into the game. Right from the onset you'll find yourself being attacked by some ghastly fiends in your strange new environment. Good thing you have that new gear.

Litch approaching on runway two
I hope that was just a kobold I stepped in...
When in doubt, blast 'em
Entangled in the sewers

The addition of Strongholds are also a great addition to the game. With a stronghold, there are certain quests in which you can obtain the "stronghold" in which it took place for your own (the one you can get depends on your main characters class.) You may have to pay monthly, or do mini-quests or tasks for certain people, but usually you get tax money, or items and other perks. This definitely makes the game world feel far more static.

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