Icewind Dale: Enhanced Edition is a difficult game to review.
For one, Icewind Dale: Enhanced Edition is the enhanced version of an RPG originally released nearly fifteen years ago; a game I never had the pleasure of playing. It is also the sort of game that appeals to a specific sort of people, like those who enjoy investing time into tweaking numbers and percentages for a group of characters without all the celebratory “level up” systems that are seen in most modern RPGs.
Icewind Dale: Enhanced Edition will undoubtedly please fans of the original. Apart from the frustrations of trying to hit very tiny buttons with big fingers, there is little about the game that I disliked in regards to its overall feel. I encountered no bugs or glitches, the game was responsive to my commands, and you can even pinch-zoom the gameplay screen and adjust the text if the default sizes happen to be too small.
If only the U.I. was adjustable.
For newcomers to the game (like myself), Icewind Dale: Enhanced Edition might be a bit too old-school for their tastes. For one, the learning curve is rather steep. There is no build-up at the beginning; it just drops you right into things with a party of characters and leaves you to largely figure it all out on your own. I had the distinct feeling that this was a result of games having once come with little instruction booklets, which (most) modern digital games no longer have.
While I dislike overbearing tutorials, I wish the Enhanced Edition featured a more user-friendly system for introducing newer players to the game. This is especially vital when the game features acronyms that are mostly unfamiliar to non-pen-and-paper gamers. Like the acronym THAC0. Ever heard of that one? It means “To Hit Armor Class Zero”. I’ve never seen that one before. Icewind Dale never explained that one to me. Or what Wisdom is necessary for.
Icewind Dale: Enhanced Edition has a few tutorial videos that are available in the options menu, but they were only marginally helpful as they barely gave me enough time to read the text and glance at the corresponding button before the screen moved onto the next thing. Luckily, because the game has such a strong fan-base, a simple Google search will provide answers to your questions.
Wisdom, by the way, is apparently a “dump stat”…which is another term for me to Google.
As I played through Icewind Dale: Enhanced Edition, I couldn’t help but feeling like all of this would have just been a much more pleasant experience on the PC. I previously mentioned that the game was very responsive, and this turned out to be both a positive and negative aspect of my experience. Because the user-interface is so small, I would trigger the wrong button about a third of the time. Trying to learn how to play this game would just be easier on the PC, as hovering the mouse over an item to read more about it or clicking and dragging items precisely would have just been nice conveniences to make the overall experience more enjoyable.
Icewind Dale: Enhanced Edition is for the fans. The game will be enjoyed most by players already familiar with the aspects of Icewind Dale and are seeking a mobile dosage of Dungeons and Dragons on the go. But if you’re not a seasoned veteran, approach these cold mountains with caution.