This is a big question. Some gamers would be appalled at the sight of it, but we find it necessary to tackle this subject. There are many who would have you believe all of the most loved classic video games, particularly from the 1990s and early 2000s, are significantly better than today's spiritual counterparts. Most gamers today wouldn't pay much attention to such claims, but we find the subject fascinating. Are all
or even most of the classics really much better games, and if so better in what ways? If not, worse in what ways?
In this article we will explore these questions with some of the most praised classics and their equivalents today, in several different genres. Beware that every page after this one will contain spoilers. Below is a listing of all the games featured in this article.
- Baldur's Gate and Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn (RPG, BioWare)
- Neverwinter Nights (RPG, BioWare)
- Neverwinter Nights 2, Mask of the Betrayer, and Storm of Zehir (RPG, Obsidian)
- Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (RPG, BioWare)
- Planescape: Torment (RPG, Black Isle Studios)
- Fallout and Fallout 2 (RPG, Black Isle Studios)
- Icewind Dale (RPG, Black Isle Studios)
- The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind and IV: Oblivion (RPG, Bethesda Game Studios)
- Resident Evil, Resident Evil 2, Resident Evil 3: Nemesis, Resident Evil - Code Veronica (survival horror, Capcom)
- Silent Hill and Silent Hill 2 (psychological horror/survival horror, Konami)
- Thief Gold and Thief II: The Metal Age (stealth, Looking Glass Studios)
- Deus Ex (shooter/stealth/RPG hybrid, Ion Storm)
- Half-Life and Half-Life 2 (shooter, Valve)
- Grand Theft Auto III, Vice City, San Andreas (open world action, Rockstar)
Spoilers begin on the next page.
- Dragon Age: Origins and Dragon Age: Inquisition (RPG, BioWare)
- Fallout: New Vegas and Fallout 4 (RPG, Obsidian and Bethesda Game Studios respectively)
- The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (RPG, Bethesda Game Studios)
- The Witcher trilogy (RPG, CD Projekt Red)
- Metro 2033 and Last Light (shooter + survival horror, 4A Games)
- Underhell (survival horror, indie)
- S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Shadow of Chernobyl (sandbox shooter with survival and RPG elements, GSC Game World)
- Amnesia: The Dark Descent (psychological horror/survival horror, Frictional Games)
- SOMA (psychological horror/survival horror, Frictional Games)
- Dishonored (stealth/action, Arkane Studios)
- Deus Ex: Human Revolution (RPG/stealth/shooter hybrid, Eidos Montreal)
- Grand Theft Auto V (open world action, Rockstar)
To start things off, we'll look at how the classic BioWare RPGs compare to the newer ones listed on the first page. We will analyze each and every game to illustrate the strengths and weaknesses of each.
Baldur's Gate (1998)
Baldur's Gate is a Dungeons and Dragons based RPG series utilizing pause-and-play gameplay from an isometric 2.5D perspective. It is one of the most famous RPG franchises ever because the first game, Baldur's Gate, was the first game of its kind, which is also the main reason why it's praised so much.
Baldur's Gate was recently remade in the form of Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition
with modern operating system and resolution compatibility. So those curious about the game can now easily play it.
This game set some trends that perhaps every other BioWare game would follow, such as the inclusion of a plot twist, the "full circle" trope in which important plot events very late in the game occur where the game began, and of course the fact that you play as a character (not necessarily a hero due to the role-playing) who tries to save the world (Dragon Age II
may be the only BioWare game to exclude this).
The pause-and-play gameplay is something that BioWare uses to this day as well. But both Baldur's Gate games have far more complex and tactical gameplay than any modern BioWare game (and any modern mainstream RPG), with more diversity as well in the form of playable races and classes. You also play as a relatively "clean slate" or a protagonist with only a loosely defined background, in this case it is only initially known that the protagonist lived in Candlekeep studying under Gorion for most of his/her life (this does suggest the protagonist should be a Wizard). Although it is revealed later that the protagonist may carry the blood of Bhaal, former Lord of Murder.
Baldur's Gate: Reloaded, a faithful yet unofficial remake of Baldur's Gate.
Baldur's Gate is known first and foremost for its role-playing; being able to play as almost any kind of character. However,