Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Back To The Past: Icewind Dale

Icewind Dale is the first game I am doing in a new segment for my blog called "Back To The Past". These new posts will be about games from more then ten years ago that I have recently played and completed. These posts will not be a traditional review of these retro games that I play. I will also not give these games a rating (between 1-5).

Icewind Dale is a party RPG based on the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd edition rule set. It was developed by Black Isle Studios and published by Interplay. Icewind Dale was released on June 29th 2000 and used the Infinity Engine created by Bioware. Overhaul games re-released an Enhanced Edition of the game on October 30th 2014.

My history with Icewind Dale has been a rocky one. I first picked up the game back in 2000 and tried to play it. But, back then I was into Diablo 2 and I didn't understand how this type of RPG was to be played. It totally kicked my ass and I never made it past the first section of the game. Sixteen years later I decided to pick up the Enhanced Edition and give it a shot again. In the last sixteen years I gained a better understanding of the D&D rules, as I played a few of the table top games. And so here I am. I finally beat Icewind Dale, it only took sixteen years. LOL!

As I mentioned above Icewind Dale is a party based RPG. You start off creating a party of six characters. You can choose their race, sex, class, and look. My party consisted of the following:

First the Melee characters. I had a Paladin and Cleric. The Paladin took most of the damage but my Cleric was a tank as well. This worked very well, because he could buff and/or heal my Paladin. The Paladin was a beast. He was crushing most of the enemies and bosses till I got towards the end of the game.

Second the Support characters. I had a Bard and Druid. My Bard did nothing but sing the entire time. She buffed my party with some bad ass buffs from her songs. She could also do some melee damage if needed and cast some magic. But 95% of the time she sang her heart out. My Druid did a lot of the other support roles such as healing, damage, and spell casting where needed. Basically he was a back up to my Cleric.

Third the Range characters. These included a Ranger and Thief/Mage. Off the bat I am going to say that my Ranger kicked a lot of ass. She destroyed almost everyone from afar. I used my Thief/Mage for trap detection and lock picking. His spells were ok, but made up for it by being able to use a bow when I ran out of spells to fling.

I pretty much rocked most of the encounters I engaged in with this party. It was a little tough in the beginning but the middle section was almost a breeze with these guys. The only trouble I ran into was the end. For some reason Overhaul games decided to make the final boss a bitch and increased his power from the original game. If you were thinking of picking up the Enhanced Edition of Icewind Dale. Other changes in the Enhanced Edition included being able to play on modern OSs, increase screen resolution, bug fixes, and added quests they dropped from the original. With the increased resolution came better looking graphics from the original release. They were not night and day better, but over all looked good at the higher resolutions.

I really enjoyed getting back into this game and having a better understanding of the rules, able to beat it. The story was pretty good but the dungeons could go on forever. Sometimes the encounters had so many creatures I couldn't believe my party survived. Though I had to reload a lot in some sections. So I quickly figured out that you should save frequently. Don't be shy of that quick save button.

My adventure doesn't stop here. Since the Enhanced Edition contains the expansion, the adventure continues in Heart of Winter. I'll post another "Back To The Past" once I complete Heart of Winter. Till then, if you enjoy party based RPGs and never played Icewind Dale. I highly recommend picking up the Enhanced Edition.

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