For gamers of old, the tale of Minsc and Boo was an epic one; where men became legends and hamsters became giants. Though that chapter of BioWare appears to be closed, many still dream of the day were one can relive the quality of Baldur’s Gate with today’s technology. Well my friends, that day is today. Through the dedicated work Spellhold Studios, the BiG World Project injects life into the classic by installing so many mods with ease that Boo would be left speechless.
From the well done German modification Tales of Anegh that bridges Baldur’s Gate with Icewind Dale, to the modernizing of the game with a Widescreen option, there is something for everyone here. Collected carefully from authors around the world not only does this fix every bug known to tread The Sword Coast, it also expands the game with custom quests, area, companions spells, equipment and visuals.
If Aerie and Jaheria are growing old on you, there are plenty of new companions to bring along. Auren Aseph, a twenty year old fighter from the town of Bereghost who happens to have a small feud with Nalia can join you on your adventure. Having her and Nalia in the same group will cause much bickering to ensue. The work put into companions alone is simply staggering and shows how devoted the Baldur’s Gate community is. Here is a sample of some of the companions you could travel with:
- Indira, an elven lawful-good Fighter/Mage
- Mulgore, a chaotic-evil Half-Orc Barbarian
- Xavia, a neutral-evil elf Female Assassin
- Finch Bloodwhiffler, a neutral-good gnome cleric of Deneir
- Iylos Mirdan, a neutral good human Monk
Many of these companions feature their own voice-acting, personal storylines, romances which make them all worth the price of admission (nothing). The banter packs are also a subtle addition to the game that add more personality and story between the companions (both original and modded) helping flesh out The Sword Coast. Watch who you party with, Minsc might give you a swift kick in the morals!
We haven’t spoken of the custom quests that can be added. The Darkest Day is the unofficial expansion pack for Baldur’s Gate 2, adding 5 major quests, 40 side quests, 10 NPCs, over 30 new creatures and more, giving another 30 hours of play time. As mentioned earlier, the Tales of Angeh is a splendid add-on that bridges the lore of Baldur’s Gate with Icewind Dale. The voice-acting is in German, but don’t let that deter you from playing this adventure. Below is a list of some of the additional quests:
- Region of Terror has Drizzt and his companions as playable NPCs through new and old quests.
- Dark Horizons brings an organization intent on hunting you, discover their identity before it’s too late.
- The Tortured Soul will have you meet a stranger in one of the crypts in Athkalta’s graveyard.
- Sylmar Battlefield has you aid a nation of elves who are fighting off an invasion on their holy grounds.
These alone offer over 50 hours of gameplay and they are just a small sample of what is offered. There are plenty of quest add-ons that add major story arcs, small side quests, areas to explore, NPCs to meet and more. Never Ending Journey 2 is a completely different game with no connection what-so-ever to the Baldur’s Gate 2 plot. Go through the north Portal in Irenicus’ dungeon and you’ll travel through space and time to Icewind Dale one hundred years before the main story, Great Scott!
I could go on about the additional content, or the difficulty tweaks to push your skills, or the additional items and more but, I’ll never finish writing this. What makes this modification so extraordinary is the ability to choose what you want installed. You can take the time and get into the details of which modifications you want or select versions such as “Recommended” or “Tactic”, and it will do the hard work while you listen to Minsc and Boo sound clips until it finishes (that’s what I did).
The process is long and you may encounter some obstacles. Spellhold Studios has an installation guide that will help make the process easier for new-comers. For owners of the digital version from GOG.com, there is a digital version installation guide which should solve any issues that Spellhold Studios’ may have missed. This Mega-Mod is the prime example of PC gaming at its finest, so butt-kick for goodness and give Spellhold Studios a donation for all the hard work they have done.