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Icewind Dale: Enhanced Edition review

A truly vast RPG with a focus on combat

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Following the Enhanced Edition of classic RPG Baldur’s Gate, it’s now the turn of Icewind Dale. A tweaked HD update of Black Isle’s classic PC game of 2000, it doesn’t offer all that much brand new content: some extra classes, equipment
and spells. Still, it does include the Heart Winter expansion pack and
it is a vast game, as you might suspect from the hefty 2.63GB download. So, while the price might seem a little high, you do get a whole lot of adventuring for your money.

Set in the Forgotten Realms and based on a modified version of the AD&D ruleset, this is a hardcore, combat-heavy RPG – with less emphasis on exploration and character interaction. While some brief tutorial videos run you through the basics of the gameplay and user interface, it still throws you into the deep end somewhat and RPG novices may well be bemused at first. Even if you take the shortcut of using a preset party of six characters rather than generating your own, you’ll need to spend quite some time kitting them out with weapons, armour and items – from a large selection in the shop – before you do any actual adventuring.

The redesigned user interface works well, including a ‘Quickloot bar’ to aid item pick-up. The isometric graphics are impressively detailed, featuring the ability to zoom in. Text for menus and character conversations is pretty small, though, and may prove hard to read on smaller phone screens.

Venturing out of Easthaven town, you get your first taste of real-time combat with a band of orcs. Battles are quite tactical, requiring careful positioning of characters and the use of their various abilities, and you may want to pause the action regularly to ponder your next move. If you find it too tough, you can always dial back the difficulty level – even to the point of making your playable character invincible. There’s also the option of playing co-operatively with another player online.

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