It’s the day after Christmas, so everyone will be swapping stories about their swag, and the crazy things Aunt Marge says when she gets a couple cups of nog in her, and if anyone asks me what I did, I’m going to have to come up with something that sounds better than “Well, my wife and I played Baldur’s Gate : Dark Alliance for like six hours.”
…because, well, that’s what we did.
This wasn’t the original plan, which was “go out for Christmas dinner, then go and see the Golden Compass and National Treasure II : Electric Boogaloo”, and I think that’s all the review the game needs: It’s good enough to make us change our plans for the whole day (we DID still go out for Christmas dinner, mind you, but we ditched the movies idea).
And really, that’s what Christmas is all about. Button mashing your way through rats and green slimes and kobolds and rogues and gnolls and yeti under the warm glow of Christmas tree lights.
We’re playing on the Xbox 360, since the original Xbox was giving us fits – the replacement cord thing Microsoft mailed out ages and ages ago when Xboxes were catching on fire isn’t working correctly, or it thinks our Xbox is in dire peril of burning up, because it refuses to supply power to the console.
I will report that the backwards compatibility, as it pertains to Baldur’s Gate : Dark Alliance, is working neatly for the most part. Archery is useless with a 360 controller, since aiming arrows in the game depends on the analog face buttons the original Xbox controller featured and the Xbox 360 controller does NOT, but that’s not so much an indictment of the compatibility as an unfortunate shortcoming of the new controllers.
Unfortunately, the other game I’ve been trying to run on the 360 today, Armed and Dangerous, is not quite as smooth of an experience.
The issues started with just trying to boot the game – it wasn’t detected as compatible for some reason, so I had to burn a backwards compatibility update disc. First time I’ve had to do that, and afterwards it booted all right, but…
The bits where you’re running around shooting things are, well, they work pretty well.
The cutscenes, on the other hand, not so good. There’s some stuttering audio in the first cutscene, then the next three or four are all right, and after that, well, the cutscenes play but the dialog doesn’t. Sound effects play, and music, but character dialog is completely mute.
Oddly enough, cutscenes played from the “Extras” menu work fine.
So, I have to wait for the game to save after each cutscene, exit to the main menu, play the cutscene from the “Extras” menu, then resume the game. It’s a workaround but quite an annoying one, especially as a big part of the draw to the game IS the story.
Oh, and I don’t seem to be able to download the “downloadable content” for the game. It looks like it signs me into Xbox live all right, but when I try to push the “A” button at the screen where I’m told to push the A button to download the extra mission, it just makes a little chime sound and doesn’t work.
Technical issues with trying to make the game work on a 360 aside, it’s a hoot of a game. Compared to Giants: Citizen Kabuto, it’s quite a bit more difficult (even on Easy) but it does have mid-level save points which help take the sting out of dying and the humor factor is cranked up a notch or two, with a constant stream of banter and taunting going on.