PSU Champions: Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance
The PSU Champions series continues and this time we have a title that may not be as well known as our previous one.
Name: Eric Blattberg
PSU role: Journalist
Game title: Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance (PS2/Xbox/GameCube/GBA)
Publisher/Developer: Vivendi Universal Games/Snowblind Studios
Release date: 2001 (PS2)
Synopsis of the original game
Dark Alliance is an action-RPG set in the city of Baldur's Gate. You are a lonely hero (or lonely pair if you play through with a buddy) who, right after entering Baldur's Gate, is attacked and robbed by an underground group of villains. The city watch finds you and brings you to an inn to heal up, where you learn the first clues about the terrible evils hiding within the city. From there you set off on your adventure to gain revenge upon the group that mysteriously attacked you, getting into far deeper trouble than anyone could have ever expected.
Why is the original so good?
Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance goes back to the heart of action-RPG play. There's plenty of upgrading that uses a deep customization system practically on par with the likes of Diablo II. There are three characters to choose from, each of which play completely differently. The human relies on ranged attacks and stealth, the elven character is a spellcaster, and the dwarf a physical, head-on fighter. Each character has side-quests based on their race, which allows for plenty of replayability. The cooperative play is where the game shines, as playing Dark Alliance through with a friend is a truly fantastic experience.
What would a PS3 remake/sequel add?
Although there was already a sequel to Dark Alliance (Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance 2), this series needs the next-gen (current-gen?) treatment, for it would add so much to the experience. My immediate thoughts include online play. With this the game could stay true to the original and remain cooperative, or venture into the category of MORPG (Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game) with 4-16 people playing online in the same world at once. With all the space available on a Blu-ray disc, the game could be much more open-ended, with many different paths and outcomes within the game, increasing replayability. To sum it up, imagine Untold Legends: Dark Kingdom - but good - and you have Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance 3.