Let’s Play: Icewind Dale

Update: Apologies for the messy look at the logo point. I tried to fix it but for some reason it is refusing to render correctly. I will try to fix it again later today. *sigh*

Well, after some soul searching (and another period of addiction to the Sims 3 *coughs*) I finally decided to try my hand at a Let’s Play. It just seems to be the best way to reconcile my desire to play some of the games in my ever growing list of unplayed titles and my desire to write.

Does that mean I now have something interesting to say about these games or that I can make it funny enough to make it all worth it? Not really. But that doesn’t mean I won’t try it! 🙂

This also doesn’t mean I won’t  write anymore about MMORPGs or anything else that interests me. Those kind of posts will come when they come. Although I admit there might be not one of those types of posts for quite a while. We’ll see.

Now for the game I will be trying this experiment with…

Image created by godprobe

Image made by godprobe and obtained here.

Icewind Dale is part of an era that some (myself included) consider to be  the golden age of CRPGs. It was the time where we had games like the Baldur’s Gate series, Planescape: Torment, Fallout 1 and 2 plus a lot more that I am sure I am ignorant about or just forgot. It was a time where the genre moved away from the dungeon crawl with very flimsy explanations for it and very little in terms of character roleplaying towards more story-heavy games and things being more character-driven. Or at least  that is how I remember things so take that assessment with a huge grain of salt.

Anyhoo, Icewind Dale is one of the younger cousins to Baldur’s Gate (the other being Planescape: Torment) and the one that share the most family semblance. In fact, it uses the same game engine (the Infinity Engine), it is based on the same games rule system (Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd Edition), same setting but different region (Forgotten Realms) and even the same publisher (Interplay). However both games were developed by different studios (Bioware for Baldur’s Gate and Black Isle Studios for Icewind Dale).

There are certain differences in gameplay too. While in Baldur’s Gate you created only one character that would then go out in the world, meet other characters and recruit them for your crew in Icewind Dale you created the entire party from the get-go (up to 6 characters). This also made a lot of differences in plot-hook: in Baldur’s Gate the character is  thrown into the hero’s journey, whether they like it or not, while in Icewind Dale it is more like in a typical tabletop RPG game, where the motivations for those characters to be working together or why they are going into that adventure is left completely to the player. I believe also that Icewind Dale is a lot more linear, giving the game a certain fame of being more hack and slash than Baldur’s Gate. I could be wrong about that last part though since I never finished Baldur’s Gate nor I ever tried to finish Icewind Dale with a more evil party to see the differences in the story.

These may seem subtle or insignificant differences but to me they make the two games to set apart from each other and  give very different experiences. For instance, I believe Baldur’s Gate approach gives a lot more incentive for multiple playthroughs, to see how different choices may affect the story or to see how things would go with different party members. While Icewind Dale the story wouldn’t change all that much with different dialogue choices and the differences in the party composition would be mainly relegated to combat tactics.

One last interesting tidbit about Icewind Dale is that the soundtrack was composed by Jeremy Soule. He is the guy who also composed  the soundtrack for Skyrim, Guild Wars 2 and a lot of other games. For anyone who is a fan of his work, it is worth checking it out. In fact, you can acquire  the soundtrack (together with some other goodies when you buy the game) over at GoG.com.

About this Let’s Play

Just a few notes about how I will be approaching this: I already finished this game once, back when I was a teenager (that was over 10 years ago) but I remember very little about it besides it being: 1) Cool 2) Making a party with the terrible sense of humor of a teenager. So there will be a lot of it that will feel just as new to me as it will be for some people reading this series. This also makes things more complicated because I don’t know how much I will be able to just leave out of the posts, for the sake of brevity, and how much is actually important to understand what is going on. Hopefully I will manage but we’ll see!

My intention will be to cover the base game. Maybe the expansion, Heart of Winter, too if there aren’t a gazillion posts just about this game by then. The Heart of Winter expansion I never played since I never knew about its existence until I bought the game on GoG.com. So if I cover that it will be brand new territory for me.

And obviously the series will be filled with spoilers. So if you never played it and intent to do so in the near future you might want to avoid reading these posts. I will put a note at the beginning of each posts warning about the spoilers though so that should help people in that situation.

Oh, I will also be using a mod to increase the game resolution. It is the Widescreen Mod by the Giberlings 3. If I recall correctly I set it to 1024 x 768, which I found to be a good enough compromise between the original resolution of 640 x 480 and my current native resolution of 1920 x 1080.

Alright! I think that is all there needs to be said about it for now! Let’s see how  this series will turn out!

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