Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Sandy Kirchner-Wilson 12.10.2021

Review for Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance on Nintendo Switch

Originally developed by Black Isle Studios, this title has been resurrected for current-gen platforms by publisher Interplay Entertainment and Wizards of the Coast. The original title was available on the PS2, GameCube and Xbox, and had a cancelled PC port being developed by CD Projekt. It was well received at the time, and two sequels were coined, though only one was ever released. This remaster expands the platforms it is available for significantly, and resurrects the world and rules of D&D 3rd Edition for a new generation. However, is this a blast from the past or is the publisher just digging up old bones?

Story wise there isn't too much to discuss here, which for an RPG might be surprising. Based upon the world of its larger PC game siblings, the Dark Alliance series plays into the Forgotten Realms, Dungeons & Dragons mythos. In the beginning, players are able to choose between a small selection of premade heroes, each with their own stats, strengths and fighting styles. The characters then find themselves coming into the town of Baldur's Gate, and being instantly set upon by crooks. They awaken, and make their way to the tavern where the first quest begins. Each one has to be completed in a linear fashion to progress, but there are some optional sub-quests that offer some extra girth to the title.

The moment to moment gameplay is focused on fighting and looting. Each character can equip a variety of armour, all of which has an aesthetic change linked with it alongside the expected stat boosts and buffs. This is purely a hack 'n' slash title, with a lot of emphasis on leveling-up and careful planning for each encounter. It can be quite exhilarating to play once immersed, but the difficulty can be dreadfully high at times. This high difficulty can mostly be attributed to the encounter design that frequently steps up enemy types in a dungeon, and then surrounds the player from all angles with the highest level foes. It's not frustrating, and it puts the onus on the player if they get caught off guard, but this is an old-school title through and through, so there are no checkpoint - die and it's back to the load or title screen. This can come off as harsh, but also helps cement the gameplay feel of carefully working through a dungeon.

Screenshot for Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance on Nintendo Switch

The original release was quite impressive, with loads of cool particle effects, and a genuinely great looking water implementation that allowed the waves to bounce off of the environment, something that is still really impressive today! Most of the effects are still incredible, especially at the new higher resolution and full widescreen support, with most of them playing into the stage lighting. The style and models have aged a bit since the original release, but stand out on Switch's smaller screen during portable play. Each character is very different not just in play style, but also in the way they look. Said look can be adjusted with various armour and weapon all of which use a limited variety of cosmetic changes. It's thrilling to take a character from nothing to an armour-clad, well-armed hero.

The sound has also aged somewhat, with dialogue sporting a real feel of the era. This is expected given that it is a remaster, and to be honest the sound fits in with the setting and atmosphere, to the degree that a re-done of the sound might have ruined the experience. The music however is a fantastic and orchestrated score by Jeremy Soule that is still an excellent companion to the gameplay. As with the original release, it is possible to play the adventure in cooperative mode with another player. This is the cool couch co-op mode from the good old days, and it elevates the game significantly. From knocking the difficulty down, to adding a feeling of competition and camaraderie to the title - this is the best way to play.

Screenshot for Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

6/10
Rated 6 out of 10

Good

Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance is a fun game to return to, and somehow it feels and plays exactly as everyone remembers, yet doesn't feel any worse than before despite its age. It has the same great loot and explore-heavy gameplay, with hoards of enemies to chop through as well as co-op play. However, it also falls into the same pitfalls, and for a remaster that is unfortunate. It's going to be a lot of fun for those who played it in the past, but new players beware of the rough difficulty and old-fashioned gameplay approach.

Developer

Black Isle Studios

Publisher

Interplay

Genre

2D Platformer

Players

2

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

There are no replies to this review yet. Why not be the first?

Comment on this article

You can comment as a guest or join the Cubed3 community below: Sign Up for Free Account Login

Preview PostPreview Post Your Name:
Validate your comment
  Enter the letters in the image to validate your comment.
Submit Post

Subscribe to this topic Subscribe to this topic

If you are a registered member and logged in, you can also subscribe to topics by email.
Sign up today for blogs, games collections, reader reviews and much more
Site Feed
Who's Online?
imjamesgrech

There are 1 members online at the moment.