Mobile Game Stores Roll for Initiative
Originally released in 2001 and developed by Snowblind Studios, Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance has been updated and released once again. In April, the much revered hack and slash RPG dropped for the low price of $9.99. This is a price well worth what’s included. The Baldur’s Gate franchise has done a wonderful job of bringing the world of Dungeons & Dragons to consoles. The titular game, its sequel and the Dark Alliance spin-offs have all received rave reviews in their time. They are now seeing new life in the mobile domain.
While there is still enough of the early 2000s found in these games, their rebuilds do wonder to try and bring them into the present. Regardless of whether you enjoy role-playing, slaying or decoding mysteries, Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance is for you.
What They Got Right
Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance nails the gameplay aspect. The entire game runs smoothly with well-implemented virtual controls. Players can use the touch screen of their phones or hook up a wireless controller for a more traditional experience. Either way, it works.
The touch screen controls can be a little janky at times with my player seldom running into walls, chairs, etc. However, I write that off as user error over an in-game issue. I found myself having a good time regardless of whether I used the touch screen or the controller. For those new to mobile gaming, the touch screen controls can be a little difficult to master, at first. There is little direction from the game on what to do or how to control your character. This may force some through a trial and error period before they figure out the controls.
The updated graphics do a nice job of cleaning up some of the jagged edges from the early 2000s. However, there is only so much that can be done without a full rebuild. If you are looking for modern day graphics, you won’t find that here. The graphics aren’t distracting. They hold up fairly well, but there is most certainly an early millennia feel to this game. Long story short, don’t expect current gen graphics, but also, don’t expect to feel scorned by what Interplay Entertainment has provided us with this port.
Gameplay Done Right
The main thing the Android version of Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance gets right is gameplay. The hack and slash genre is certainly present here and gameplay flows, specifically in the early parts of the game. However, there is also a turn-based element that fits right in with the Dungeons & Dragons mindset. It’s perfect for how the game plays and makes things more intense, and offers a bit more than a full-on hack and slash adventure. The game sets players up nicely for strategy and care. It does a nice job of trying to remove the aggro run-and-gun gameplay without a thought or care in the world. Dark Alliance consistently puts players in a position where they must think out their actions. It’s not enough to have a high level and simply bombard an enemy with blows.
What They Got Wrong
There isn’t much wrong with Dark Alliance. However, there are still issues from 2001 that are present today. The slight moments of jank in this title can be bothersome when you consider it came out over twenty years ago and some problems still exist. However, there are no game-breaking issues or anything one wouldn’t deal with while playing modern games.
Most of the janky issues come from movement. Running around in this game can feel like a chore at times, especially when using the touch screen. Moreover, the fighting can feel old-fashioned at times, but again, this is a port of a game from 2001. There are bound to be some wonky moments that stick out.
Long story short, I didn’t find many issues with this port. Again, one must keep in mind this isn’t a full rebuild, but rather, an upgraded port to mobile. If you are looking for old-school console quality on your phone, Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance is your game. For those who may not want to throw down the money for a Nintendo Switch or Steam Deck, this is a much cheaper option that can be played anywhere, anytime.
The Final Word
Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance was a big success with its original run, and saw additional success with re-releases, and now, should find further success in the mobile world. The mechanics work well, the game still looks good and its playability will keep you hooked, especially, if you are a fan of Dungeons & Dragons. I had more fun playing this game than I’ve had with quite a few of the most recent releases to console. I highly suggest giving Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance a try if you didn’t play it the first time around. Moreover, fans of the series can enjoy it on the go and when there isn’t time for a full DnD session.
Is It Hardcore?
Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance is a fun adventure for DnD players and nonplayers alike. If you are a fan of hack and slash or RPGs, it’s a must play.