|Publisher: MacPlay Genre: Adventure & RPG|
|Min OS X: Any Version CPU: G3 @ 233 MHz RAM: 128 MB 4x CD-ROM|
Well, it’s time once again to strap on that trusty suit of chain mail, pick up arms and smite the forces of evil that plague the Sword Coast. After much anticipation MacPlay has released Baldur’s Gate II: Shadows of Amn. So, how does this sequel compare to the original RPG hit that was Baldur’s Gate? Could Baldur’s Gate II possibly be as immersive and enthralling as its predecessor? To put it quite succinctly… YES! Baldur’s Gate II is one of the finest RPGs to ever hit the Mac OS, it has changed me profoundly. Save a few flaws, Baldur’s Gate II: Shadows of Amn is about as close to perfection as anything gets. Except, of course, for Minnie Driver, but I digress. Read on and learn what makes Baldur’s Gate II more fun than a dwarf at an elven cocktail party.
Gameplay: +9 Against a Social LifeFirst, I must say that Baldur’s Gate II is one of the most richly detailed games I’ve ever played. Spanning 4 CDs, if one were to perform each and every side-quest, Baldur’s Gate II would last 200-300 hours of RPG-Goodness™. How’s that for depth? Before we get into side-quests and subplots, let us start from the beginning.
Baldur’s Gate II opens shortly after the death of your evil half brother, Sarevok, who was defeated in the original Baldur’s Gate. You awaken in a strange dungeon, locked in cage, the subject of countless dark experiments performed by a cruel mage named Jon Irenicus. Suddenly, the prison is invaded by the Shadow Thieves and Irenicus disappears by way of a Dimension Door, leaving you trapped and alone. Thankfully, your ever-faithful companion, Imoen, who has escaped from her own shackles, appears in order to set you free and thus, the adventure begins. Immediately, players experience a palpable sense of urgency to escape the prison and find Irenicus. Imoen isn’t quite the same happy go-lucky girl for this adventure, she’s fearful and Irenicus’ experiments have unlocked in her the ability to perform spellcasting. She wants out most of all… Aside from Imoen, a few other familiar faces have made it into Baldur’s Gate II, they include Minsc AND Boo, the ever-bossy Jaheira and Edwin. Eventually, you make it out of the underground prison and into the vast Amnish capital city of Athkatla. Here’s where things become quite interesting. Upon exiting Irenicus’ lair, players witness a battle between some Shadow Thieves and Jon Irenicus himself raging right in the heart of an Athkatla marketplace. Irenicus quickly dispatches his pitiful attackers in a stunning display of magical prowess. However, the use of magic is regulated in Amn by a powerful group called the Cowled Wizards. Therefore, when Irenicus uses magic to slaughter 10 people right in the middle of a marketplace, the Cowled Wizards come to call. After slaying several Cowled Wizards with ease, Irenicus agrees to voluntarily stand trial, but only if Imoen is arrested too for her illegal use of the magical arts. The Wizards concur and moments later they all vanish through Dimension Doors. Thus, the stage is set for the epic journey that is Baldur’s Gate II: Shadows of Amn.