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Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance

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Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance
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Developer(s) Snowblind Studios
Publisher(s) VU Games (North America), Virgin Interactive (Europe), Pacific Century Cyber Works (Japan)
Release date(s) 2001 (North America/Europe), 2002 (Japan)
Genre Action role-playing game
Mode(s) Single player, multiplayer
Rating(s) ESRB: Teen (T)
Platform(s) PlayStation 2, GameCube, Xbox

Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance is a popular series of computer role-playing games for game consoles.

The series includes the following games, developed by Snowblind Studios for the PlayStation 2, GameCube, and Xbox:

  • Dark Alliance (2001)
  • Dark Alliance 2 (2004)

Like the Baldur's Gate series for the PC, the Dark Alliance games are set along the Sword Coast, a location from Dungeons & Dragons's popular Forgotten Realms campaign setting. However, the Dark Alliance series and the PC Baldur's Gate series are often not seen as part of the same universe, as they differ in storyline and gameplay.

Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance

The game starts when the player character arrives in the city of Baldur's Gate, after a dangerous journey. Shortly after arrival the player is attacked and robbed, and is brought to an inn by guards to recover. There, the first hints about a great evil hiding in Baldur's Gate are revealed, and the player can choose to discover more.

The player must choose between one of three characters:

  • Human archer: a scout/ranger character
  • Elven sorceress: a magic user
  • Dwarven warrior: strong fighter

Gameplay is quite different for all three characters: the human relies on ranged attacks and stealth, the elf character can cast magic spells, and the dwarf is an all-round fighter for those who prefer a heads-on approach. Additionally, each character has unique side-quests, allowing for replayability.

Character customization, when compared to the PC games, is quite limited. There is no way to change starting stats, and the only stat customization possible is by assigning experience points to preferred skills. There are also relatively few NPCs: the only characters that can be spoken to are those who are part of a quest or sidequest.

Dark Alliance featured an impressive and highly detailed game engine, which still holds up today. Unlike the Baldur's Gate PC games, in Dark Alliance the camera is very close to the player character, allowing for high detail.

The battle system is easy to master, but allows for good customizability if wanted. The human archer for example can assign experience points to enchanting arrows rather than to strength, which will result in more powerful arrows. Likewise, the elven sorceress can select between different spells.

Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance 2

Dark Alliance was followed by a sequel in 2004, which returned to Baldur's Gate with a new story and new characters.

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