Game Over Online ~ Baldur's Gate: Tales of the Sword Coast

GameOver Game Reviews - Baldur's Gate: Tales of the Sword Coast (c) Interplay, Reviewed by - Pseudo Nim

Game & Publisher Baldur's Gate: Tales of the Sword Coast (c) Interplay
System Requirements Pentium 166, 16Mb Ram, Original Baldurs Gate
Overall Rating 71%
Date Published Thursday, May 20th, 1999 at 04:50 PM

Divider Left By: Pseudo Nim Divider Right

Baldur’s Gate. A game most awaited at the time, and one that did not leave the audience disappointed. Slight woes darkened the joy, with the most important one being the experience cap that limited an aspiring mage, fighter or whatever else one played with to 89,000 points. One usually reached the XP limit about half-way or three quarters of the way into the game, and thereafter, it was just plain frustrating. Not to mention Cloud Kill, a level 4 spell that could only be learned if a mage were to rise a level that lied just beyond the magic 89,000 number. Bioware claimed game balance, but some clever minds sorted a patch that fixed the "feature"… but enough of the past. Let us discuss the present.

Tales of the Sword Coast is an addon to the famed Baldur’s Gate, set in TSR’s AD&D universe. It brings in four new areas, claims Bioware – however, in my view, there are three areas, as the fourth is but a single room, essentially. To compensate, however, Durlag’s Tower, which is arguably the most intriguing area in the addon, is humungous in size. It is not just big – it’s literally huge.

So what was added other than areas? As one might imagine, items, spells, monsters, NPCs, quests and so forth. Notable is the Ring of Invisibility, which was incorporated into the original game, but was taken out at the last moment – again, for "gameplay balancing issues." One could always get it, however, by simply hexing the character’s inventory – it had a picture, description, etc. Now it finally got added to the game. As for other items, some interesting swords, armours, shields, rings and cloaks made it into this expansion pack; though, admittedly, nothing beats Drizzt’s swords and armor. They were just too great. Hard to get, too… but well worth it. As for spells, it looks as though there aren’t any more muck-ups like with Cloud Kill in the original BG, which you could cast but not learn – all the spells you find are of your or a lower level.

I was somewhat disappointed, however, with the fact that this expansion pack adds nothing to the story, except for a few side quests, which have no effect on the ending of the game. Granted, it adds more "stuff" to do on the Sword Coast, but there isn’t an ultimate purpose – the ending is precisely identical to the original’s. The side quests, however, are interesting, and overall tend to more or less make sense – while they could, perhaps, have had a little bit more depth, they were still quite original and enjoyable.

Overall, there is not really much to say about Tales of the Sword Coast. The rating presented depends heavily on whether you liked the game or hated it; if you liked it, then you shouldn’t be reading this – you should be out in the store buying it, and, as well, add about 20 percent to the score. If you hated it, there’s nothing in the expansion pack to change your mind, so you shouldn’t be reading this, either. So if you are reading it, you’re probably hesitating – in which case, refer to the preceding sentence. From an absolute point of view, this game doesn’t add much to the game – but if this is another reason to replay Baldur’s Gate – take it. To the fans of the original, though, it is a worthy addition – if a somewhat small one – to a great game, one that kept us occupied during the many a cold night during this winter.


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