||Interplay Entertainment Corp.
||Black Isle Studios
For those who still haven't played Icewind Dale yet, Interplay offers the original first game plus the Heart of Winter add-on bundled together in a single budget-priced package. This is a 5-CD package: 2 CDs for the main Icewind Dale game, 1 CD for the Heart of Winter add-on, 1 CD for the bonus material which includes the 2 complete Sybex's Official Icewind Dale and Heart of Winter strategy guides in PDF format, plus a soundtrack CD that has 51 tracks from the game. Both manuals for IWD + HOW are also in PDF format only, though there are 2 VERY mini guides in paper print to help get you started.
This is a traditional role-playing game that focuses on basic dungeon crawling. It follows AD&D 2nd Edition rules and you can create a party of up to 6 characters. Also note that the developers have also created a free add-on for the HOW add-on called Trials of the Luremaster that you play all together with the game. Strangely, this isn't included in the package, but it can be downloaded off the web.Icewind Dale Heart of Winter
is the add-on pack for the original title that was released between Baldur's Gate
and Baldur's Gate 2
and served for many as a stopgap to keep you busy while you waited for the latter. However, there were many improvements in the game engine by the time Icewind Dale
was released and it was an exceptional game in its own right.
Now, Black Isle, the game's developers, have released an upgrade to Icewind Dale and if you were a fan of the original then this is right up your street. Taking your original band of troublemakers north to travel to new, unexplored areas, will bring you into contact with much tougher enemies than you've had to face so far. You can also start Heart of Winter from scratch with a new set of characters but, be forewarned, this is VERY hard going.
The start of Heart of Winter introduces you to the new story line and then drops you into a small town. From here you must begin to try to fathom what to do and where to go. The one thing recommended is talking to everyone you meet, and that means everyone! You'll soon find that the story line is as well scripted as you'd expect from Black Isle and will be rapidly dragged into the lives (and deaths) of the characters you meet.
For newbies to the RPG fold then this might be a bit heavy going, and its probably best to start with the original before you venture here. Die-hard gamers who've played as much as they can of Icewind Dale will certainly be able to get your fix here.--Andi Flower
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