Beamdog is back. If you aren't excited as a D&D fan you should be. Not just a straight port, Icewind Dale: Enhanced Edition[$9.99] is bringing some new toys to the table and I've been geeking out ever since I got my hands on them.

Forty years ago a game was published that changed my life. I wasn't alive at the time, but thats besides the point. In case you've been away for those last 40 years, let me introduce you to Dungeons & Dragons. D&D games, in general, are a fusion of story telling and dice determined events. These events range from social interactions to mechanical manipulations to melee combat and spell casting. The universe of D&D is that of swords and sorcery, taverns and hamlets, heroes and dice. Lots and lots of dice.

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So where does Icewind Dale fit in? As a follow up to the Baldur's Gate duet, the original IWD I and II were both met with overwhelmingly positive critical acclaim. The only reason these games weren't even more popular is that the first one hit market about the same time as the major blockbuster Diablo II. Boasting a robust and complicated combat system, IWD: EE now today holds a high standard of logical complexity that the RPG genre as a whole can still look up to.

Probably one of the most time worn features of the game is the graphics. Functional is probably the only positive I can come up with. If you are looking for cutting edge graphics or eye popping metal display qualities... what are you doing here? You should know that the game is gonna look dated and I dont hold that against IWD: EE. I think the most important thing to state here and reiterate is that it IS functional and for me at least, the game looks like nostalgia.

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With the incorporation of bits and pieces of previously enhanced Baldur's Gate[$9.99] you will see some new things creeping in. One of my favorites is an expanded class roster. Already known for it's extensive choices for multi-classing, this is a perfect area of expansion for Icewind. Any veteran player should really enjoy the ability to craft a specific team with specific goals in mind.

My touch arcade themed crew has been doing pretty well. Bard Eli and Mage Jared sit back and chuckle as the writers are embroiled in melee and Thief Carter makes the most ridiculous jokes. Paladin Fretz kinda just slaps stuff half-heartedly while Kensai Musgrave cleaves the world in twain. The voice sets made available get a little repetitive. After a few hours listening to the same lines I usually end up changing who my lead character is just to hear some new stuff as I am walking around town or travelling.

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Icewind has a very slow pace. In most modern RPGs, you will manage a bunch of quests at a time and usually only spend a few minutes on each one. When you take on a quest in IWD, you should not expect to finish it in one sitting. Main storyline quests especially represent this. I think the last quest I picked up has taken somewhere in the neighborhood of 8 hours to complete from start to finish. Is this a bad thing? no. I really like the throw back to a quest being a feat that you aren't neccessarily expected to complete easily. The quests feel like these monolithic lofty things that you can only glimpse small pieces of at a time. It's an important part of crafting the experience to make you feel like maybe your party bit off more than it can chew.

Combat is also a slow affair. You may have to rest between almost every fight in order to heal and recharge spells that are almost required for most serious fights. Resting has a decent chance of attracting enemies even if you do it in an enclosed area. Another bit about the game play is the difficulty. The game is really tough. My biggest recommendation is to enable auto-game pausing in the options. Without it you will probably be spending a large amount of time reloading after you lose party members. The broad scope of quests and the grave danger your heroes face combine to make for an epic feel. That's not a feeling you will get with many contemporary games and it's something that I miss. For players new to the genre, I would also suggest lowering the difficulty or hitting a wiki for help on building a competent group.

I've touched briefly on nostalgia. I admit that it's impossible for me to view this game without appreciating the signicance of it's legacy. If I try to view this game without regard to the history behind it, I THINK I can still say its an amazing game. Couple that with the fantastic edit job with a bunch of new features and this is a fantastic app for anyone looking for a fantasy RPG adventure that works best in long unbroken stints.

TouchArcade Rating

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  • http://jesse-dylan.livejournal.com Jesse_Dylan

    I miss games like this, where quests actually mattered and you didn't complete 10 in an hour.

    To this day, though, I wish they'd stuck with turn-based combat instead of shoehorning in whatever Warcraft clone Bioware originally wanted to make as an RPG and converting it to D&D.

    • curtneedsaride

      Yeah, I'd probably get more into it if these were turn-based. I'd probably actually buy it, too, if I could read and use the buttons on my iPhone 5S while playing. But all of the videos and photos lead me to believe I won't be able to read much or tap accurately. Might try it on one of my old iPads. See if it runs well.

      • http://jesse-dylan.livejournal.com Jesse_Dylan

        Despite my whining about the combat, I really do love these games. I think you'd be disappointed trying it on your phone. (I don't know why they even support phones.) I don't suppose you'd consider trying the PC or Mac versions? They run on about anything. The games are all well worth playing, despite the combat. πŸ™‚ They should run all right on any supported iPad, though, I'd imagine.

      • Teras

        I dont know th combat system is actually pretty awesome! Its plain strategy on how you pause the game in the rotations of your spells and where yqou station your characters. If you know what to do the satisfaction on killing your opponent is great. I remember back in the days the countless reloads I had in order to kill dragons in BG2, to figure out what spells to use and what items and when I finally did I was up in the skies!

      • http://jesse-dylan.livejournal.com Jesse_Dylan

        I just can't stand the imprecision. It's too much Warcraft 2 and not enough D&D for me. I didn't like Dragon Age: Origins' combat much either, though, possibly even less!

      • Teras

        Different opinions on the matter I guess. I personally believe that this kind of combat made the game more lively and stressing. I like turn based stuff but I never feel the same stress like with the combat in IWD and BG.Dragon age is of course an imitation of BG and while its a good enough game it can not be combared with BG.

        IWD and BG. Are THE games that any RPG player needs to at least play once. They are the ones that made me fall in love with RPGs and the fantasy world all together. Ive played them like 100 times and even now I have BG2 on my PC with mods!

      • http://jesse-dylan.livejournal.com Jesse_Dylan

        Ah, you are biased towards them, then, I see. πŸ™‚ Not that we don't all have a bias. Personally I don't play games to be stressed out πŸ™‚ And I really hate RTS. I remember when I was 15 or whatever when BG came out (I can't remember the year) and had been told "real-time with pause" was the same as turn-based and how annoyed I was when I thought, jeez, this is like a Warcraft RPG with an autopause.

        Oh well. Still wonderful games, though. It's hard to beat the atmosphere, the quests are great, and really, I have to wonder why we can't go back to games with more of these elements.

      • Morgan01

        Wait, comparing this game to Warcraft? This game is a predecessor to Warcraft so it's not like Warcaft, but, if anything, it's the other way around. This game and both the Baldurs Gates open the pathway for many D&D RPG based games. It is a pretty good translation to IOS.

      • Shaun Musgrave

        He means Warcraft, not World of Warcraft. It preceded BG by four years and this game by six years, so it could have had some influence. Warcraft 2 was still really big when Baldur's Gate was in development. I think Diablo had a bigger influence, but it doesn't really matter which it was with regards to Jesse's criticism, which is simply that real-time combat isn't his thing.

      • Morgan01

        Wow, I was off mark then....

      • Shaun Musgrave

        Hey, happens to everyone sometimes! I forgot to take my socks off when I got in the shower this morning. Yikes!

      • Arcite

        chain contingency; lower resistance; finger of death - one dead dragon. πŸ˜‰

      • Teras

        If I remember correctly I did something similar. However I did find other ways as well but some of them could be said that rely on a glitch. Like before you reveal the are the dragon is and he gets aggresive you cast all your AOE spells (like the one that is a cloud and does aoe dmg for a period of time...forgot thr name) so the dragon either dies or he is near death when you send your meele units against him and you use single target spells and arrows.

    • Ubisububi

      Being able to pause and give orders makes the lack of turns moot for me. Besides, there's nothing like loading up your characters with crushing spells and special attacks, and then unpausing to watch them bring seemingly overwhelming opponents to their knees in one conflagration of power.

      • http://jesse-dylan.livejournal.com Jesse_Dylan

        Just ain't the same for me, but it seems like people who like it never understand how anyone could dislike it. To me it's like saying you can pause Street Fighter II, so it's like it's turn-based or something, and enter commands onto your turbo controller or something. Hadouken!

      • Teras

        That honestly shows how great the game is. Few games out there have such a fanatic fanbase. Even now tons of websites are full of mods for them. Even more now with new EEs. Oh and I am not biased I am open to different things and opinions. I do not agree but I can accept it. Though the majority as we can see thinks like me. Homestly at first I was socked to see someone not liking the combat system since it never crossed my mind all this years but I accept it as an opinion.

      • visualplayer

        Uh, lots of people paused to figure out the special moves.

      • http://jesse-dylan.livejournal.com Jesse_Dylan

        That's my point, that being able to pause a game doesn't make it turn-based.

      • riggysmalls

        Is your name "where under where" in Latin a pun? I heard the pun "semper ubi sub ubi" when I was in Latin class.

    • Arcite

      A prime selling point is Icewind dale/BG adherence to D&D rules and worldbuilding. The rules are deep, sometimes cryptic...but once you understand terms such as saving throw, AC points, encumbrance ect... the depth of gameplay increases dramatically. Character classes are unique (complete with rich background lore), each contributing something to the party - allowing thousands of combinations and strategies to tackle a given battle.

      • http://jesse-dylan.livejournal.com Jesse_Dylan

        I wonder why in the heck no one is making D&D CRPGs anymore.

      • http://www.gearsofgeek.com/ Komrad

        language!

    • T-REZ5000

      This is why I always preferred The Temple of Elemental Evil over BG and ID. The story was no where near as good but the turn based gameplay blew the other D&D games out of the water IMO.

      • http://jesse-dylan.livejournal.com Jesse_Dylan

        I totally agree. The old Gold Box SSI D&D games were pretty amazing, too, but of course they are practically impenetrable now. I wish someone would make a D&D game with the questing and story power of Baldur's Gate and Icewind Dale (and Planescape: Torment) but with the combat of Temple of Elemental Evil.

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    • RamazUltra

      I like how you didn't do this for the Candy Crush 5 star.

  • hervin89

    I have just started my 3rd attempt at playing baldurs gate EE,After struggling the first two times,I have done a lot of research and finally I understand it and generally surviving. It's an awesome game buy the way! My question is shall I continue on to BG2 or is it worth jumping straight to this?

    • Teras

      BG2 is just too great to pass. For many including me BG2 is better than BG1. If you have the choice to play all of them do it..its worth it a milion times!

    • jamesmcadams82

      Plus you can get bundle upgrade pricing for BG2 if you own the first one, which makes it a ridiculously good deal. I think it cost me Β£2. Might be wrong.

    • http://jesse-dylan.livejournal.com Jesse_Dylan

      I think Icewind Dale is really more about combat and dungeons. Baldur's Gate 2 is more about the story.

      • Teras

        It s tur Baldurs gate is a master piece when it comes to the story. Icewind dale does have a story and I did like it as well. The only difference between those 2 is that in Icewind dale you create all the party yourself and they dont really have a background story to get into it. While BG of course lets you vreate only your main character and the whole game is about him.

      • Arcite

        Agreed, Icewind is all about epic massive battles and dungeon crawling.

    • hervin89

      Thanks for all the feed back

  • stevenmozart

    Icewind dale two,,,,,,, ? Pretty please,,,,, well I hope so ,,,, well done as usual Beam dog,,,, but do ponder the thought,,,, I shall wait for tweets on baited breath :@)

  • The kernel

    Yeah but they took out the naked zombie boob chick. I mean that wasn't a selling point for me, but still. It woulda been nice.

  • http://www.googlepants.com/ Wizard of Odyssey

    Thank you for calling like it is. As much as I want to be into "deep" western role playing games, this sounds like the opposite of what I like about mobile games. What some would enjoy, I would find frustrating. I simply don't have long stretches to unwind with stuff like this. It would be cool if someone were to remix it as a faster game, but that's probably blasphemy. (I also wondered why no one tried to remake KOTOR as a 2d Final Fantasy type...until it came to mobile in full form)

    • Teras

      I am always a fan for more iwd or bg style games but a water downed BG or IWD no way!!

      • http://www.googlepants.com/ Wizard of Odyssey

        Not watered down, amped up!

        I know, I know ...if I wanted to play a stupid Bioware game, there's always Sonic Saga.

  • Lickzy

    You know what absolutely SUCKS about this game?

    *Total Silence*

    Me Neither!

  • anabolicMike

    Diablo II with median mod on tablet = heaven

  • Ubisububi

    I still love all of these old RPGs. Played each of them into the ground back in the day, and enjoyed them again on my iPad. I love the complexity and the epic game changing loot scattered throughout. Although I still prefer less linear games when I can get them.

  • spsummer

    Icewind gets the coveted Candy Crush 5 star rating. Awesome...

  • PoloBaquerizoH

    Well deserved for this RPG gem

  • Eseres

    Downloaded this one as soon as it was released. Haven't played it before, but it looks great and this is the kind of game I want for my iPad. Can't wait to start playing it this weekend πŸ™‚

  • SoyGreen

    Some of the reviews in the app store bash it for no tutorial. If you haven't played this before or haven't played the other Baldur's Gate game for a while now (since launch) will there be any issues getting started?

    Is there really no tutorial?

    • Andrew Fretz

      Hey SoyGreen,

      It's true there is no tutorial, I dont think you will have issues as long as you peruse the settings like I mentioned and do some tinkering. The biggest thing IMO is setting up at least a few auto-pauses so that you can be effiicient with your targetting and tactics.

      • SoyGreen

        Interesting choice to leave out any tutorial. The only thing that sucks about it - is people have obviously decided to give the game a try for the first time - only to have dropped $10 into a game where they have NO IDEA what to do.

        It's not like Candy Crush where there are very few options and isn't difficult to figure out - SLIGHTLY more complex here. πŸ™‚

        Hope they actually do some reading or video watching to learn how to play.

      • Teras

        There is actually a section which explains to you what each button does that is helpful. Now tutorial I dont think its that needed I mean we didnt have tutorials for th pc version as well...after 10 minutes in the game you should be fine moving around. This game has a lot of info you need to read up. For example you need to read your wizards spells info and decide which one to use or when you choose where to put your skillpoints it lets you know what does what so you can decide yourself.

      • SoyGreen

        I'm not worried about me. πŸ™‚

        I'm worried about the gamers who are giving it a go the first time. (Of which there are already a few in the App store that have expressed disappointment.) Gaming today - for better or worse - is much different than what we did 10-15-20 years ago... people tend to need to have their hand held much more today for whatever reason. I just hope that the more old school type of approach (which this entry into a game is) isn't trashed by current gamers trying out for the first time. Cause PLEASE keep making these games/ports! πŸ˜‰

      • SBTafarijah .

        You're right!
        Back in the days tutorials wasn't a common feature in games ... yet we
        were able to figure it out without a problem how to play them.
        For nowadays gamers even the most basic version of Tetris or Pac-Man should come out with a tutorial...

  • vapourtrail

    I haven't seen anything about this yet but I'm assuming the iOS version doesn't include the Heart of Winter and Luremaster expansions like the computer version?

    I mean it would make sense I suppose. Vanilla BG on iOS is $9.99 + $9.99 for the IAP character/portrait/ sound set additions. So I could see HoW and Lure expansions costing $9.99 as well.

    • Teras

      It includes the expansion

  • vapourtrail

    $9.99 is a steal then. Just as much content as BG then with no IAP.

  • myopicpaideia

    Another comment on the story aspect of this game. IWD has en excellent story that is almost more true to its D&D roots than BG & BG2 were in that with IWD you have a story where you bring the background story of your characters yourself, and don't have it "forced" upon you (even in a good way like BG).

    You make your entire party and how they got together is up to your imagination. One of my main gripes with the BG series was that you were very limited in your party choices if you wanted the full story experience, not only BG but especially going from BG1 to BG2. You basically have to play Minsc, Jaheira, Khalid, Imoen & Dynaheir in order for the story to make sense and be immersive. An evil play through means that this party isn't an option really, so the story suffers.

    IWD doesn't have these limitations. It is almost like a proper pen and paper campaign where you can roll up your characters and start playing, and the story is equally satisfying whether you make a party of idealistic crusaders or a group of evil mercenaries.

    For me it is a more satisfying game. It is more unforgiving and thus satisfying. The whole thing is like playing through the equivalent of Durlag's Tower after Durlag's Tower in BG1. If you like that, this is awesome.

  • Zenfar

    A classic love seeing these games on iPad!

  • Sean Byrne

    Importantly...can you see what the items are without long pressing for a full description? Drives me mad on bg2:ee can't see what anything is before you pick it up.

    On desktop you can hover over an item or spell for a little pop up scroll to give you the name of the item.

    Anyone know how to do this on android?

  • JudasKain

    I'm honestly flabbergasted that nobody's reacted to Mr. Fretz' party choice. Sir, do you honestly believe your paladin is a suitable replacement for a cleric? You are either a masochist or the temple's favorite patron...level drain much?

  • nocturnal2048 .

    First of all this game was not intended to be run on phones. It's a tablet game thru and thru, so if you plan on playing this on anything smaller than 8 inch screens then you may as well not even bother. Now that that's out of the way, the game is and always will be awesome. And I personally hate most turn based combat. They did a great rob implementing the "pause" feature, and it makes the game quite tactical.

Icewind Dale: Enhanced Edition Reviewed by Andrew Fretz on . Rating: 5