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Baldur's Gate: Siege of Dragonspear review: A fitting end to a legendary game, 17 years later

Hayden Dingman | April 1, 2016
What's old is new again, and it feels like home.

Siege of Dragonspear begins with you hunting down the last of Sarevok’s old associates, and it’s sort of a farewell tour. Throughout the mission your party members (all, or at least most, voiced by their original actors from seventeen years ago) drop lines about “being ready to go home.” And thus it comes to pass that after slaying Sarevok’s last lieutenants everyone goes their separate ways. Typical. Though they were all nice enough to drop their gear into a bottomless chest in your bedroom before taking off.

Baldur’s Gate: Siege of Dragonspear

And wouldn’t you know it: A few weeks later an even bigger threat arises. A certain “Caelar Argent,” also known as the Shining Lady, has gathered an army and plans to march on Dragonspear Castle. Also, she tries to kill you.

Time to get the band back together, I guess.

Or as much of the band as you can, at least. Remember: This takes place between Baldur’s Gate and its sequel. That means at least one companion—Imoen—is too busy dual-classing into a mage to come along for the journey. Some companions (Neera in particular) aren’t available until midway through the expansion. Also when she shows up she’s managed to forget every spell you ever taught her and lose all her equipment.

Other companions are simply missing. Both Branwen (my go-to cleric) and Kivan (unstoppable archer madman) absconded so fast that it’s apparently impossible for them to help you save the Sword Coast a second time.

Baldur’s Gate: Siege of Dragonspear

Oh, and Dynaheir has somehow resurrected herself and will once again join your party alongside Minsc. Once again, I sent her on a lonesome journey into a pack of wolves. Dire wolves, this time. Though that did make a minor Dynaheir-specific sidequest unfinishable later in the game.

But aside from my quibbles about being stuck with less-than-desirable party members as fill-in slots (Glint as cleric and Safana as thief), Siege of Dragonspear feels like...well, like it was built in 1998. And I mean that as a compliment.

The expansion’s a bit different from the original games in that it’s sort-of linear. You don’t just go where you want, when you want. Instead the expansion takes the form of “an army on the march.” You begin in the city of Baldur’s Gate, then there are two intermediary regions, and then you eventually make it to the area around Dragonspear Castle.

Baldur’s Gate: Siege of Dragonspear

Each of these regions is fairly sizable and freeform, with a handful of distinct areas to travel between and at least one dungeon per section. But once you leave a region, that’s it. You can’t go back. Any quests you left unfinished are unfinished forever. Don’t think you can defeat an encounter at the moment? Tough, because this is your only shot, and some of those early quests have a tertiary effect on the actual “siege” part of Siege of Dragonspear.

 

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