Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance II Hands-On Impressions

We took this action role-playing game sequel for a spin at E3.

We had the opportunity to try out the Xbox version of Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance II at E3 2003. The game will make use of the 3rd Edition Dungeons & Dragons rules and will feature new magic spells, new magic items, a wider range of playable characters, and heroic feats--special abilities that will let your characters perform powerful actions, like performing an additional attack on nearby enemies once one is defeated using the cleave feat.

The new game will have a control scheme that will be similar to that of the original game. On the Xbox controller, you'll use the A button to attack, the X button to pick up items, and the Y button to jump. You'll also be able to select active spells or heroic feats using the D pad and the B button. Pressing the back button will let you access your inventory. Dark Alliance II will have a huge inventory of new weapons, armor, and magical items that will all be added to and displayed on your character's 3D model.

Dark Alliance II will feature five playable characters, three of which were on display at E3: the human barbarian, the dark elf monk, and the moon elf necromancer. The barbarian will be the straight-ahead melee brawler, while the monk and necromancer will have various special abilities--for instance, the necromancer will be able to summon undead creatures to fight by his side. Dark Alliance II will have about 60 different levels to play through, including all-new environments such as the grassy outdoor area we played through, which featured flowing streams (with the same good-looking water effect from the original game) and more-detailed scenery, including high grass and bushes. Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance II will be released for the Xbox and the PS2 this October. Unfortunately, no GameCube version of the game is currently in development, though if the PS2 and Xbox versions sell well enough, VU Games may consider a GameCube version later.

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