Baldur's Gate: Siege of Dragonspear

Game review by
Neilie Johnson, Common Sense Media
Baldur's Gate: Siege of Dragonspear Game Poster Image
Adventure that raises deep moral questions hampered by bugs.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Save the land by bringing down band of destructive Crusaders. But morally ambiguous developments keep things from being wholly positive.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Deep role-playing in form of dialogue, companion choice allows players to decide how good, evil they, their party can be.

Ease of Play

Players who have been through base game should have skills to get through game, but complex Dungeons & Dragons rule set can still be a lot to comprehend. New Story Mode enables even least skilled player to experience whole story.


Combat is a large focus; both heroes, enemies can be burned, bludgeoned, blown to pieces. Still, blood, dismemberment shown so small, indistinctly on screen, it's not particularly graphic.


Occasional suggestive comment; players can develop romantic relationships with some companion characters. Nothing overt comes of these alliances.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Characters shown visiting taverns, can purchase, drink alcohol. There's a drunken dwarf character who talks about being hungover; characters use potions to heal, fortify themselves.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Baldur's Gate: Siege of Dragonspear is a downloadable narrative add-on to Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition and requires the purchase of that game. They should also know that combat is the main point of the game, with players and enemies -- human, animal, and monster -- shown being beaten, stabbed, shot with arrows, and even dismembered. Violence is shown from a distance, though, and depicted by small, mannequin-like characters that are far from realistic. Characters are shown drinking in and out of taverns and use potions to fortify themselves. There's next to no mention of sex, but the player can form verbal romantic associations with a couple of the new companion characters.

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What's it about?

BALDUR'S GATE: SIEGE OF DRAGONSPEAR extends the story begun in the original Baldur's Gate, concerning the offspring of Bhaal, the God of Murder. A dangerous crusade threatens to destroy civilization as the movement's charismatic leader, a woman known as the Shining Lady, promises to conquer the world by raising the dead. It's up to you, the Child of Bhaal, to unite the region's disparate armies and break the Lady's hold on Dragonspear Castle. The complex role-playing continues here according to Dungeons & Dragons rules, and that means lots of skill choices and equipment swaps. It also means new areas to explore, a new Shaman class to experiment with, and a new difficulty level called Story Mode that allows new players an in-road into the Baldur's Gate universe.

Is it any good?

The expansion to the classic adventure builds and expands on the gameplay significantly, even though it suffers from some gameplay issues. Historically, the Baldur's Gate games are challenging, but perhaps in an effort to make them more accessible, the development team has added a super-easy level called Story Mode that allows players to enjoy the story without fear of dying and seeing the dreaded "Game Over" screen. They've also mapped out at least 20 hours of new areas to explore, people to meet, and interesting side quests. Aside from including a new Shaman class, gameplay for non-Story Mode players remains much the same, with lots of quirky dialogue exchanges and plenty of ways to customize character skills and equipment. The story here is compelling and takes you in several interesting directions. And while it's your choice to be generous and kind or selfish and cruel, ultimately you have to face some difficult questions regarding the difference between action and intent. The expansion's only weakness -- and it's significant -- is its bugginess (crashes, missing voice lines, optional quests that can't be completed). This frequently gives the impression that the expansion was released before it was ready. But even with the bugs, it's a satisfying role-playing adventure that promises even more peril and excitement in expansions to come.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the concept of crusades. Can you see a disconnect between the ideas of religion and war?

  • Discuss the idea of intention. Is it possible to do evil while intending to do good?

  • Think about the effect war has on civilians. Have you seen any news stories about families such as yours being affected by war?

Game details

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For kids who love role-playing games

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