One can hardly mention the 'Baldur's Gate' series of games without eliciting a string of "oohs" and "aaahs" from any gamer nearby.
It is probably the only franchise for which it is nearly impossible to find a negative review and, even though it's more than a decade old now, the games are still widely available.
So when Bioware announced that its new RPG, 'Dragon Age: Origins', would be the spiritual successor to 'Baldur's Gate', the gaming community erupted in a frothy delirium that hadn't been seen for quite a while.
Of course with such an announcement comes very high expectations indeed, and Bioware has done remarkably well to live up to them. Mostly.
Now before we all get too excited, it's worth remembering that 'Baldur's Gate' wasn't perfect. Sure you like to think back now and remember it as something akin to a picnic on a perfect summer's day with the love of your life whispering sweet nothings into your ear. But if you take the time to remember it honestly you'll find that the sandwiches were actually a bit dodgy, the day was too hot and the love of your life smelled a bit funny that day.
The main problem with the 'Baldur's Gate' games was that the ratio of work to fun was a bit out of balance. Of course back in those days voice-overs were almost non- existent, and you had to do a lot ? a lot ? of reading to follow the story. This became so tedious after a while that I simply skimmed through most of the dialogue, and to this day the story doesn't make that much sense to me.
Luckily I'm not alone, for after some prodding I found that many of my friends had done the same thing. Those that did stick with the story say it actually wasn't that great, and after reading a summary on the internet, I must concur.
The other major headache was the game's almost ridiculous complexity. The manual weighed more than I did and learning all the ins and outs of the gameplay was only slightly easier than trying to build a particle accelerator in your back yard using a cat and bits of string.
Just creating a character took the better part of an hour and you often discovered after 20 hours of actual play time that your character choice was terrible and there is no way you can finish the game without cheating.