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It's not easy being a child of a god. Your character quickly comes to this conclusion after being imprisoned and tortured by a wizard with an unhealthy interest in your parentage. So beginsBaldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn, an ambitious role-playing game based on the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons game.

Shadows of Amn is not really a sequel to Baldur's Gate. Instead, Baldur's Gate was merely a prelude to Shadows of Amn. Shadows of Amn develops the plot lines, characters, and events introduced in the first game into a mature, genuinely interesting fantasy tale. Players who thought the original game shallow will be pleasantly surprised by Shadows of Amn's bold story arcs. Major events are afoot, and the characters' choices have a real impact on the Forgotten Realms.

In the same way, Baldur's Gate served as a proving ground for the refined game mechanics evident in Shadows of Amn. The game's artificial intelligence has been vastly improved, and players have many more choices for NPC AI scripts and party communication. Keeping with Shadows of Amn's more mature theme, the party interaction even includes possible love interests for your character.

Those who played through the original Baldur's Gate can import their character into Shadows of Amn, or can choose to create a new character. Character kits such as the Mageslayer and Swashbuckler add variety, and the game even includes the Monk, Sorcerer, Barbarian, and Half-Orc options from the new Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Edition rules. Whether you import an old character or create a new one, you'll begin the game as a fairly advanced character--unlike most RPGs, you won't have to spend hours slaying puny critters and instead are plunged into a high-stakes plot against powerful foes.

A strong plot backed by strong technology makes Shadows of Amn stand out as one of the best RPGs we've ever played. Fans of AD&D will love the classic AD&D feel, and fans of the popular Forgotten Realms setting will delight in the people, places, and politics found in Shadows of Amn. --Michael Fehlauer

Pros:

  • High-level power gaming
  • Quality voice work
  • Improves the already great Baldur's Gate interface
  • Character kits and D&D 3rd Edition races and classes add variety
  • Advances the plot begun in Baldur's Gate
Cons:
  • Based on obsolete AD&D 2nd Edition rules
  • Character animations are stiff
  • Player's character starts out less powerful than other party members
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review by . November 11, 2001
posted in The Gaming Hub
If you love the Dungeons and Dragons worlds, if you love fantasy, role play, and a great story line chock full of humor, fun, romance mystery and adventure, then this is the game for you! I played it twice, and I loved it both times. Now my wife is addicted to it ^_^
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