Review – Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance II (Switch)

It’s been eighteen years since the original release of Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance II. Not only is this obvious from looking at it, but being set in the Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Edition version of Forgotten Realms dates it even further, being the most recent edition at the time. Baldur’s Gate garnered a lot of love in its time, with the series slowing down drastically after the original release of Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance II, while fans wait for the upcoming Baldur’s Gate III.

Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance II Table Glitch

Nothing beats a boss like a table he couldn’t attack. How great is it when old glitches still work?

While it may have been a long time since the original release of Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance II, this game still feels just as good now as it did then. Having the chance to play on Switch really showed how effectively these games can be played on-the-go. The issue with this style of game in present day, with Diablo II and Diablo III being available on all the same consoles as Baldur’s Gate, not to mention games like Torchlight, it has to stand out as a fun, unique experience. Unfortunately, it doesn’t offer anything that those other games don’t already have… and do better.

Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance II Combat

Don’t try to jump out from around corners at me!

Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance II is the same game it was back in 2004, with minor updates to how it feels. Luckily, there really aren’t any sections that slowdown, unlike in the original where the game would start to bog down a bit with too many enemies onscreen. Fortunately during its original release, there wasn’t much competition on consoles. Nowadays however, with a distinct lack of anything overly intriguing, it’s too easy to find yourself wanting to move to a game of the same style that might be a little more fast-paced. Essentially, it’s the same as going back to the original Diablo. Which, if it’s been a while for you, is one of the slowest isometric ARPG games ever.

Dark Alliance II Loading Screen

Aren’t the loading screens just so interesting?

The graphics in didn’t see any real upgrade, which is fine for a port. Putting huge amounts of time and money into updates probably wouldn’t be worth the effort in normal circumstances. That being said, the area that does feel out of place is the audio. Everything is so compressed, from the music to the character voices. While this may be a port eighteen years after the fact, updating the sound simply can not be that out of the question. It’s incredibly jarring to be playing a “recently” released game that sounds like characters are peaking microphones just speaking to you about where the local inn is.

Dark Alliance II Argesh the Gouger

Another boss made easy, shoot arrows and they can’t figure out how to walk over to you.

Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance II is literally the same game, since it’s a direct port. All the best parts, and all the flaws, all are still prevalent in this release. It does feel a touch better thanks to upgraded hardware, thankfully no areas have slow down, while some sections early on in the sewers felt a bit sluggish originally. If you have good memories of Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance II, or maybe you missed out, now is your chance to play a version that feels spot on to the original. If you weren’t a fan originally, then this version really is not going to win anyone over.

 

Graphics: 7.0

This was always a pretty decent looking game. While the graphics weren’t improved, they didn’t really need it. Everything is distinguishable, even on Switch in handheld mode.

Gameplay: 6.0

It’s a very competent ARPG. The issue is in modern day, it’s an incredibly slow game. Compared to the speed of Torchlight or Diablo III, Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance II feels like a snail’s pace.

Sound: 5.0

This is an area that really needed an update, if nowhere else. The music, character audio, and ambient noise all sound incredibly compressed. Talking to characters hurts as someone who studied audio production and mixing for a game released in 2022.

Fun Factor: 6.0

It’s still the same game as before. Simply said, it’s not going to make any fans of anyone who didn’t enjoy it originally and this port is really for nostalgia.

Final Verdict: 6.0

Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance II (the re-release) is available now on Nintendo Switch, PS4, Xbox One.

Reviewed on Nintendo Switch.

A copy of Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance II was provided by the publisher.