Billed as the role-playing game for people that didn't like role-playing games, the original Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance was a surprise smash in 2003; now the sequel, Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance II, is here to carry on the good fight--almost literally, as the last game ended on a bit of cliff-hanger with our heroes being menaced by the vampire king Mordoc. Despite the Baldur's Gate name Dark Alliance II, with its real-time combat and simplified stats and rules, is more Gauntlet (or Diablo if you're too young to recognise that reference) than the Baldur's Gate PC games. This is not to imply that it's a simplistic button-basher, though; the combat is highly involved, with different styles of melee, distance and magic attacks depending on which character you choose to control. When you're not fighting (which isn't often) you can take part in those other stalwart features of the RPG genre, shopping and levelling up--both of which are made as easy and interesting as possible. If you're wondering what has changed or been improved for the sequel, the simple answer is not much. Even the graphics seem the same and the few gameplay features that have been altered are entirely minor. To be fair, though, there wasn't much wrong with the original. --David Jenkins
- Fast paced, addictive hack n' slash combat with over 40+ levels of thrilling action spread over 4 acts.
- Five new customizable characters, each with distinctive powers appearances and abilities that develop throughout the game.
- New, amazingly detailed environments and monsters with even more explosive spell effects than before.
- A new, inventive item creation system that allows players to forge their own unique magical weapons and armor from raw components.