Icewind Dale - Icewind Valley
"... The wind pressed against every unprotected part of the body of the group of travelers who, despite the bad weather, rushed ahead on their steeds. Dusk was slowly falling. From time to time one of the wanderers, the tallest of them, got up on the saddle and looked around. It took an hour or so before he saw something that made everyone chase the already tired mounts. They were reaching an inn at a crossroads. A tiny light spilled from one of her windows to the court. The travelers got off their horses, it was clear that they formed a rather unusual mixture - a dwarf, an elf, some hooded figure and a woman ... The company was quite unusual, especially in view of the events that took place in this land ... They brought the horses to the stable, and then they crossed the threshold of the inn. A terrible silence hit them from inside. The inn was empty. Well, almost empty. The innkeeper rose from under the counter. The arriving dwarf called out, "Two pots of your specialty." After these words, the entire team sat down at the table, taking out some papers. After a while, the innkeeper brought two jugs. The arrivals began to debate: "Where are we going now?" Said the woman. "I suggest going to the city that this funny orc told us about." The man in armor looked at her: "Maybe we'll visit a nearby temple mentioned by the papyrus we found next to the magician?" There was silence at the table, broken by sizzling logs in the fireplace ... "
A story straight from a typical Warhammer short story. Maybe not? This is a situation that may be encountered by travelers who want to see the latest work of "Black Isle Studios". The company has given gamers as many great games as "Fallout" I and II, "Baldurs Gate" and "Planescape: Torment" and is slowly growing into a tycoon in the cRPG industry. Fortunately for us (the players). You can see that the authors found a moment (unfortunately only a moment) to reuse the Infinity graphics engine from Bioware and create something for cRPG fans. A nod to avid rollers was calling the game "Icewind Valley", but unfortunately we won't be able to meet Drizzt, Wulfgar or Bruenor, because the action of the game takes place much earlier than these heroes appear.
The first impression that hits us - the game is very similar, if not identical to "Baldurs Gate". In my opinion, good practices should be used. Patterns can be used and not eaten alive, which has been presented in this game. Every person who played the famous blockbuster will feel at home - the options layout and the screen look are the same.
The first contact with the game is to choose the type of gameplay - in addition to the single player mode, we have the choice of the Multiplayer mode. We can play on the local network, using a modem, via the Internet and via a serial connection. We now move on to creating heroes, heroes (plural), because compared to "Baldurs Gate" here we create the entire team from scratch. On the one hand, this is a huge plus - we create the characters we like, on the other, we know that we will not meet anyone who will want to join us. We can choose from all races available in the world of Forgotten Realms - incl. humans, elves, dwarves, halflings and half-elves. Then choose a profession - warrior, druid, bard, priest, mage, paladin, ranger or thief. Our next choice are the sounds our friends will talk to us (a small note: the sounds are so sparse that after 15 minutes of playing we know them all by heart and we have had enough of them (). In my team of murderers there was a paladin, a mage, Cleric, warrior, thief and ranger and I think that it is quite a good arrangement (remember about the mage, without him it is impossible to survive in the next stages.) We can also change the composition of our team during the game and during each loading of a saved game ( which after some time becomes a bit burdensome.) After completing our team, we watch an "intro", a bit worse than in "Baldurs Gate", in which the narrator - an old sage tells us in a very atmospheric voice about the devastating war that was fought by the inhabitants of the valley with the evil wizard's army won by (once again () the good ones thanks to the dedication of the main character (a different theory has a priest in the first village (). Unfortunately, the state of prosperity does not last very long. As in every story (we must to have something to do), however, evil is reborn and ... here we appear. And our starting point is ... Tavern! (Tada !!!) How many interesting stories begin with a common inn (e.g. all Conan's adventures or most RPG sessions), so the authors want to immediately take us to a land where we will feel like our own garbage.
First impression after entering the game - nothing has changed since Baldurs Gate, even the older Planescape had improved graphics. In addition, we experience a small shock when we see that the resolution is only 640: 480. With today's productions, it is a bit too little. Fortunately, in cRPG games, graphics are not as important as in Quake, where every frame of the animation counts. When the first shock has passed, go to the option and select "Maximum HP per level". The only significant change from Baldur's Gate that catches our eye. Finally, we don't have to save the game and try to make our hero have as many health points as possible. Those who want to be fair to themselves may not turn on this option, but I find it very useful.
Graphics - as mentioned before, is of quite low quality and resolution. At the beginning it is difficult for us to get used to the fact that there is very little to see the game screen, but it must be admitted that after a long game it does not bother us at all. The essence of any RPG is wandering through different lands and fighting. In Icewind Dale, most of the action takes place in dungeons and dungeons, but there are hardly any large open spaces. The appearance of these dungeons is quite uniform and after some time I was tired of similar corridors, which you have to go through several times (e.g. to return to the village for supplies and finally to get out of there). Unfortunately, the authors did not think about making every underground, after killing some main Boss, some secret exit from the underground, which happened, for example, in "The Gate". That is why we have to travel through them several times.
Music - is pleasant to the ear (but as always it is a matter of taste). The sounds are of quite poor quality, there are also very few of them. Unfortunately, it is noticeable to the naked ear that "Icewind Dale" is made by the way, with a minimal investment, which is noticeable in terms of graphics and music. For example, the background music in the menu ends as we are halfway through creating the first character, and then the silence. So terrible that it rings in my ears. There is one song that I really liked - a song in the style of an old Gregorian choir.
How was it playing Icewind Dale? The game is much poorer in terms of the story than "Baldurs Gate" about Torment, not to mention there are far fewer side quests that would serve to gain experience and gain new items, but the authors themselves classify this game as hack & slash. There are so many items in this game, so many that after some time I even stopped looking at what the killed opponents had - it simply did not pay off, interesting treasures could only be found at bosses or after completing a task. Anyway, I gave each hero a suitable weapon and they fought with it almost all the time - if they do it well, why not? The thing that gave me an unpleasant surprise was the small number of shops where you could buy something that you just missed (and the shots ended terribly quickly). On the one hand, it is correct - where to find shops in the far north, but since I found one in the destroyed elven stronghold, there could be a few more of them, or the arrows could be found more often in the killed enemies. But this is just my whining. The characters we meet are quite interesting, the voices are laid down nicely, it happened several times that the voices did not fit the characters at all, but these were a few exceptions. Larrel had the best voice (probably because he is an elf, and elves are power and enough!)
This game is not difficult - the action runs almost alone - the only problem may be the hordes of monsters inhabiting all the dungeons. There are a huge amount of them straight from the AD&D bestiary and new ones appear all the time, so you can't complain about boredom. We can meet here, for example, snow and ordinary trolls, "frozen" and fiery salamanders, giants, Yeti and lots and lots of other characters. The only thing you can complain about is monotony - how many times can you kill these monsters. In such moments I dreamed about some interesting conversation or story or about completing some items (eg in a store (). The principle of the game is very similar to the famous Blizzard hit - Diablo I or II. The difference is that in "Icewind Dale" we fight with a group of heroes and in Diabełek one person And so many differences (in terms of the rules of the game).
To sum up, if someone likes a fight with some dialogues and tasks here and there, this game is right for him, while to those who appreciate what is the most beautiful in RPGs, I would recommend "Baldurs Gate", not to mention Planescape. Of course, also people who have already gone through both of these games with additions and suffer from a chronic lack of some interesting RPG and can not wait for the second part of "Baldur's Gate", they should like this game. Without making any claims about the graphics and the plot, we take the sword in hand (or whatever is at hand, so the hatchet for chopping sugar can also be, after all, intentions count () and we set out to conquer new lands and to search for the good escaping us forever .
"... The hooded figures slowly moved down the corridor. At the front was a tall man in shining armor. The mithril shield reflected the flashes of nearby, rather rare torches. Right behind him was a dark elf who seemed to be directing his colleague's actions. Having reached the corner of the corridor, the elf leaned around the corner, looked for a moment at a rather long corridor, which ended with a chamber, turned after a while towards the rest of his team. Slowly, so that the sword attached to his side would not rattle, he took a bottle from his backpack, uncorked it, tilted it towards his mouth until a silvery drink poured from the bottle into his mouth. A mysterious smile appeared on his face. At the same time, all his companions took out bottles of different colors of drinks and did the same with them as his companion. One of them took a roll from his belt, unfolded it, and in the light of the flashing torch he intoned a soft song. After a while a thin blue aura formed around him. After that, everyone slowly moved towards the chamber. And the closer they got to her, the louder the sound became, digging into the ears and every nook and cranny of the brain. After a moment, an expression of terror appeared on the face of the paladin, walking in front again. He turned abruptly, uttered a word that sounded like some old dwarven curse, then moved quickly towards the source of the sound. The rest of the team followed him, all the time hastening their pace ... "