Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance 2 Preview
One of the biggest blockbusters of 2001 was Snowblind Studios' Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance. Blending traditional action RPG elements with classic Dungeons and Dragons rule sets, Dark Alliance was a masterful title that gave gamers everything they wanted in an action RPG- character growth, customization, and lots of combat. Now Black Isle Studios is taking over the franchise, in the hopes of improving on the near perfect formula of Dark Alliance.
One of the biggest changes in Dark Alliance II is the increase in playable characters. Dark Alliance II will offer 5 different characters- Dark Elf Vhaidra, Barbarian Dorn, Dwarven Rogue Borador, Moon Elf Necromancer Ysuram, and Human Cleric Allesia. Each character will grow and change as they level up, focusing on their own specific abilities and strengths, and the goal, obviously, is to make each character unique and distinctly different, which was one area in which the original didn't exactly excel.
Though the combat in Dark Alliance II will remain roughly the same, allowing you to set 5 different combat actions to buttons on the controller. However, as your characters grow, you'll be able to increase the length of their combos as well as take advantage of character specific abilities like being able to wield two swords at the same time. Another interesting tweak is the ability to combine different items you find to create new and different items, allowing for a wide degree of customization.
The story in the game looks as if it will be presented in much the same way as the original. Cutscenes will kick in both during and in between levels, advancing the story and pointing out your next objectives. While fans of the first game will certainly feel right at home, it seems as if there will be enough new features in the sequel to keep everyone interested.
Dark Alliance II will use the same graphics engine from the first game, but there will be some visual enhancements, not to mention several new environments and enemies. One of the more noticeable changes to the visuals deal with the game's basic interface, such as a refined auto map.
Not much else is known about the next installment in the Dark Alliance series at this time, but more details should be made available before it's fall release for both the Playstation 2 and Xbox. Look for more information on this title as it becomes available.
7/22/2003 Ryan Hartmann