The Gate is still open! Preview

The Gate is still open!

Just when you resigned yourself to attacking the darkness, Baldur’s

Gate
sounds yet another call to arms. Return once again to the Forgotten

Realms as the prophecy of Alaundo unfolds and you continue your destiny as a

child of a murderous god in Baldur’s Gate II: Throne of Bhaal.

Throne of Bhaal is an expansion to Baldur’s

Gate II: Shadows of Amn
and serves as the final installment to your adventures

in the Baldur’s Gate series, Bioware’s award winning RPG. Throne of

Bhaal
features new spells, new characters, new quests, a new dungeon and

more lands to explore.

Players can choose to continue the game with their characters from BGII:SofA

or may begin with an entirely new character. This is an advanced adventure and

all characters are automatically increased to the 20th level(!) and outfitted

accordingly with the appropriate skills and trappings.

If you choose to begin with a new character, the game offers a kit for the

Wild Mage, a playable character with powerful yet unpredictable magic. He may

successfully cast Globe of Blades, surrounding himself in a cloud of deadly

whirling cutlery and gleefully pureeing every enemy foolish enough to cross

his path…or he might accidentally turn the rest of his party into cubes of

lime flavored Jell-O. In any event, putting a Wild Mage in the mix should certainly

keep things lively.



Click to enlarge!

With the Experience Point cap set at 8 million points, players will be able to

take their characters all the way to the 40th level. This makes for characters

of awesome power with a massive number of spells and abilities in their repertoires.

You’ll be taking down Blue Dragons, Red Abishai, Planetars and surviving a

siege of Fire Giants on the city of Saradush. To deal with these nuisances,

players will be afforded the use of more than 40 new abilities, nearly 100 AD&D

artifacts of legend, and a bevy of new spells (bringing the total number of

spells now available to a whopping 325). But your level 20 Paladin still can’t

pull a rabbit out of a hat.

Players will also get the opportunity to explore the dank recesses of Watchers’

Keep, an expansive new dungeon in the lands of Tethyr. This dungeon will be

open for plunder at any point in the game and is a great way to beef up your

characters while searching for unique relics.

You can also expect more interactions between the members of your party. They

may even form romantic entanglements, which have their own ways of complicating

a campaign. Just remember to take out the trash before you go into battle with

a loved one. When you’re surrounded by an army of troglodytes, a lover’s squabble

is definitely not gonna help the situation.

Although an expansion, Throne of Bhaal is huge – nearly as big as either

of the previous games in the Baldur’s Gate series. The folks at Bioware

estimate that Throne of Bhaal adds another 40 to 50 hours of engrossing

gameplay to the trilogy. That’s quite a bit of hang-time for an add-on.

Baldur’s Gate II: Throne of Bhaal seeks to weave that Baldur’s Gate

spell upon the hearts and minds of the gaming public one more time. By giving

gamers more of that tried and true AD&D magic and adventure combined with the

familiar, user-friendly interface, it may prove to be a most potent brew.

Look for it to appear on shelves this June.