Sunday, July 21

Baldur's Gate: Siege of Dragonspear Review

I played on: Mac
I paid: £16.75 on Steam
Available on: Windows, Mac, Linux, Ios, Android, PS4, Xbox One, Switch
Notes: You can find my Baldur’s Gate 1 review by clicking here.

The Siege of Dragonspear is without a doubt the most interesting expansion to the original Baldur’s Gate. This expansion was released 18 years after its base game. It was also developed by Beamdog, not BioWare, for the Enhanced version of the game. That means if you have a physical copy of the original Baldur’s Gate, this expansion is not compatible with it. When playing Siege of Dragonspear you can tell that this wasn’t the original team behind the first game. It’s not that it’s bad, because it’s not, it’s just a very different feel to the first game. Far more linear with much larger set pieces and climatic moments. So, let’s dive deeper into this fascinating piece of Baldur’s Gate history.

Tuesday, July 16

Baldur's Gate Tales of the Sword Coast Review

I played on: Mac, Ipad, Steam Deck
I payed: £16.75 on Steam, £9.99 on App Store
Available on: Windows, Mac, Linux, Ios, Android, PS4, Xbox One, Switch
Notes: This is an expansion to the original Baldur’s Gate. 
You can read my review for the base here.
I played the Enhanced Edition which plays almost the same as the original but with modern resolution sizes, and a few quality-of-life improvements.

Baldur’s Gate released in 1998 in the US and in 1999 across the UK and Europe. It was an instant success. Both gamers and critics loved it. An expansion and sequel were greenlit right away. This first expansion, Tales of the Sword Coast, would release a year after the base game in 1999. Europe and the UK only had a 4 month wait between the release of the base game and the expansion. Baldur’s Gate 1 would eventually get a 2nd expansion but that wouldn’t be until 2016. Still, that’s a story for another day. Seeing as this is an expansion and not a stand-alone entry, I will avoid repeating what I mentioned in my review for the base game. If you’re interested in the base game review, then it will be linked above. Let’s dive into this rather interesting piece of extra content!

Monday, July 15

Baldur's Gate Review

I played on: Mac, Ipad, Steam Deck
I payed: £16.75 on Steam, £9.99 on App Store
Available on: Windows, Mac, Linux, Ios, Android, PS4, Xbox One, Switch
Notes: I played the Enhanced Edition which plays almost the same as the original but with modern resolution sizes, and a few quality-of-life improvements. 
Mortismal Gaming’s New Player Guide link.

Baldur’s Gate is a legendry game. It would go on to be genre defining during the late 1990s and 2000s. I had never played this classic until 2023 after being introduced to the series via Baldur’s Gate 3. In fact, I wasn’t really into D&D or the Forgotten Realms at all until Baldur’s Gate 3 introduced me to it. Since then, I’ve gone on to become deeply invested in this franchise. I was eager to go back and explore the lore and world building found within this first chapter of the Baldur’s Gate series. While the gameplay and visuals are certainly dated, even within the Enhanced Edition, this is still an absolute classic that is worth experiencing today!

Tuesday, July 9

Baldur's Gate 3 Review

I played on: PS5, Steam Deck, Mac
I payed: £49.99
Available on: PS5, Xbox Series S & X, Steam on Windows, Mac OS, and Steam OS
Notes: N/A

Let’s start our review with a brief history lesson of this iconic series. Baldur’s Gate started life in 1998 with Baldur’s Gate 1 on Windows and Mac computers. An expansion, Tales of the Sword Coast, launched the following year. Baldur’s Gate 2 and its own expansion, Throne of Bhaal, released in 2000 and 2001 respectively. These were all developed by Bioware and all hold up to this day. Fans of the series got 2 spin-off titles in Dark Alliance 1 and 2 but these were a different genre. It would be 19 years until the series would get a successor in Baldur’s Gate 3. This threequel is a very different game to it’s two predecessors in a lot of ways. It was developed by Larian Studios as opposed to Bioware like before. It also bases its gameplay on the Dungeons and Dragons 5th edition ruleset whereas the first 2 games used Advanced Dungeons and Dragons 2nd edition. It has also foregone the original game’s isometric camera, instead moving the view much closer to the action.

What all of this means is that fans that wanted a true sequel to Baldur’s Gate 1 and 2 might not find it here. A lot has changed and that might upset some purists. The simple truth of it is that Baldur’s Gate 1 and 2 just wouldn’t work today. Both the gaming industry and the D&D scene have changed a lot in the 22 years between BG2’s Throne of Bhaal and Baldur’s Gate 3. AD&D no longer exists and CRPG’s are no longer as common as they once were. Games have gotten bigger. For context, Baldur’s Gate 1’s budget was around $5 million and took 3 years to develop. In comparison, Baldur’s Gate 3 was in development for around 6 years and cost an estimated $100 million. I’m going to write that as a number just so you can understand how much that really is. $100,000,000. It’s a miracle that we got Baldur’s Gate 3 at all. Larian have made a near-perfect game here. While it’s not the isometric old-school CRPG that some would have preferred it to be, it is a modern take on those old classics. One that has gotten a lot of people into the world of Dungeons and Dragons for the first time. Myself included.

Saturday, June 8

Dune Messiah Review

Written by Frank Herbert
Published by Hodderscape London, 2005
ISBN: 978 –1–473–65532-4

Dune Messiah is a direct sequel to Frank Herbert’s original ground-breaking Dune novel. Messiah follows on from Dune so naturally that while reading it I was struck with the feeling that it belonged as part of the original. Indeed, Dune and Dune Messiah both go together perfectly to tell the story of Paul Muad’Dib Atreides.

Thursday, May 9

Dune Review

Written by Frank Herbert
Published by Hodderscape 2023 (London)
ISBN: 978-0-340-96019-6

Note: I'd like to give a trigger warning for Dune as it features implied acts paedophilia. They are mild but also worth mentioning.

Dune is a classic within the science fiction genre. I’ve heard it described before as the starting point of modern sci-fi. Having now read the book I can see why this is. Despite having been first published in 1966 it features such modern-day staples of the genre, such as force fields, laser weaponry, interplanetary travel and intergalactic governments and more. Strangely enough despite being a fan of the sci-fi genre, that was not what this story reminded me of the most. It felt very much like a medieval fantasy story set in space. Let’s dig into this story and unravel it further.

Monday, April 22

The Fallout TV Show made me decide to leave the fandom.

I love Fallout. Fallout 1,2, and New Vegas are what I would consider to be 3 of the best RPG’s of all time. Since Bethesda have taken over, things have changed. I don’t want to be the type of toxic fan that thinks that a series, franchise, or fandom should exclusively cater to what I think it should be. Because of this I don’t want to say that modern Fallout is worse than the Fallout I love. I easily could have titled this article something like

“The Fallout TV show killed the series!” 

I just didn’t want to. I want this article to be a personal piece about my farewell to a series that has meant a lot to me over the years. 

Fallout 3 is where things began to change for the series. It’s where the modern Fallout began to pull apart from the classic.