Award - Casts Detect Evil...
There are, of course, a few let-downs, or things that just didn't quite feel right with the game. The length of it was probably the biggest one. While it was rather large for an expansion pack, I was able to beat it in a week, while BG2 took me nearly two months to go through every sub-quest and proceed through the story. There are relatively few sub-quests here, and the ones there are take only a few minutes to complete. It is hard for me to say entirely how short it was though, because I had an amazingly overpowered mage from beating the game previously, so perhaps I just flew through the ranks more quickly.
So where did that 40 hour gameplay time number come from? Well, most of it is probably the re-load time for every time you die instantaneously in a boss room. With my party and the weapons they had, I was tearing through the normal monsters with great ease, but bosses are incredibly over-powered, with many of them having several mages in the room, usually all of them annoying you with timestop for most of the battle (needless to say when you gain control your whole party is confused), or casting various forms of summoning to fill the room with monsters. My mages were constantly having their spells interrupted, which led to some even more annoying battles. It reminds me of playing BG1 where everything was far too over-powered in the second half of the game, and it took two hundred scrolls of fireball and about eight full wands of summoning to win most of the final battles. It's most definitely a downgrade from the believability gained in Baldur's Gate II as far as I'm concerned.
Another thing that seemed wrong was the new character kit, the wild mage. I found extremely few spells that were actually unique to the wild mage and dealt with wild magic. In my opinion there should have been at least four times the amount of wild magic spells for him to be any different from a regular mage. Most of the other mage character kits specialize in one of the main schools of magic, giving them an advantage with a large group of spells. The wild mage has a handful of wild spells. Wild magic is exceptionally cool though if you're high level enough, but if he keeps getting interrupted it makes him quite weak. I don't think I'd want to play a wild mage as the mainstay of my party, but he could be interesting as a dual-classed cleric, fighter, or perhaps best, thief.
Finally, the overall feel of the game has gone back to the feeling that BG1 had. Now, honestly, this isn't an entirely bad thing. I loved BG2 far more than BG1 in nearly every aspect, but there was a bit of the feeling of BG1 I missed. You're back to being hunted, though this time you know why. Some of the new areas felt more like Icewind Dale than Baldur's Gate in that it was a lot of monster slashing and not a lot of talking. Other parts felt more like BG1. Deep wooded areas where you just stumble into monsters, and run into a building somewhere out there - for no real reason - are back, and the overall feeling just felt more like BG1.
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