Reviewed by Thomas
- Developer: Beamdog
- Publisher: Beamdog
- Release Date: 15/10/2019
- Price: £39.99 / $49.99
- Review code provided by Skybound Games
- Physical Edition Link
It’s not often that I find myself reviewing two games in one. Especially two behemoths which dominated the PC role-playing market in the late 90’s. Though built with the same Infinity Engine, Planescape: Torment and Icewind Dale are a stark contrast of the other. Delve into my review of the enhanced editions for the Nintendo Switch below and see how these massive RPG’s fare on a handheld/console hybrid.
Whether creating your own customized party for an enthralling expedition bound for Kuldahar or waking to find yourself in a morgue as The Nameless One, each game has deep lore and a huge story to tell. In fact my first foray into Icewind Dale and the Spine of the World was through the novels of R. A. Salvatore. Suffice it to say, either of these games will certainly appeal to the gamer who likes to read and study the world encompassing the game. Both games are vividly different yet each contain a full experience within.
Shards of Crystal
Icewind Dale and Torment are isometric role-playing games. Torment focuses more on the story of The Nameless One so there are fewer customization options at the start and party members are static characters found along the journey. In Icewind Dale, you can fully customize your team by selecting race, class and skills. You also have the option of picking a character portrait. I found Icewind Dale more appealing and spent the majority of my time there. The gameplay with either adventure can be difficult for those unfamiliar with isometric RPGs. Each game relies on strict Dungeons & Dragons rules. For example, an elf can only be revived by specific and more expensive means. Each attack or action taken stems from dice terms. A sword may have a 1d10 chance whereas a dagger could be 1d4. Reading the item details takes a little practice and improvements over other weapons are less clear. If you’ve spent some time playing Dungeons & Dragons you’ll likely grasp the terminology better.
A Gem for a Hafling
In terms of the look of either game, the graphics represent the old school gameplay of the late 90’s. Though they appear to be smoothed out in these enhanced editions, the core look is a few decades in the past. That’s not to say the game is bad or unplayable. Keep in mind these games are ported from 1999. One thing that stood out to me was the detail with the various spells. I was also surprised to see character images alter when armor was adorned. Despite the bleak graphics, the adventurous gameplay and detailed story captured me and made for an enjoyable experience. Likewise the music is a bit dated but held up better over time. Again, I was caught off guard with the spells as they are chanted in full audio and gave magic added weight. There is also a fair amount of voice acting which helped break up bouts of dungeon delving. Your characters will also respond to the commands you give. Depending on the voice you select, you may end up with an obedient half-orc or a sassy wizardslayer.
From a technical aspect, each game ran without a problem. They performed well docked or in handheld mode. The control scheme has been updated to support console controllers which was nice. You can micromanage your parties each move or let the AI do it’s work. Save slots are limited but you can save liberally throughout the world as long as you’re not in active combat.
Icewind Dale and Planescape: Torment are two isometric juggernauts. The fact that you can own both as one purchased pair is incredible. There’s no shortage of content to sink your teeth into. Since this style of role-playing game is sorely underrepresented on consoles, adding this double pack to your library is a must if you enjoy challenging RPGs or Dungeons & Dragons. I will caution the casual gamer as these titles aren’t easy ones to dip your toes into. Granted, there is the option for Story Mode making it impossible to die in combat.
- Classic Isometric Experience
- Highly Detailed World
- Two Games in One
- Difficult for Newcomers
- Dated Graphics
Planescape: Torment and Icewind Dale: Enhanced Editions are adventurous romps through well imagined worlds.