After defeating her/his half-brother, Sarevok, in Baldur’s Gate, the Bhaalspawn briefly tried to lead a normal life. However, this was not to be, as s/he soon found her/himself kidnapped and imprisoned by a malevolent, sadistic mage by the name of Irenicus alongside the companions s/he faced Sarevok with (the game assumes that s/he was travelling with Imoen, Jaheira, Khalid, Minsc and Dynaheir when s/he got captured, even if you finished BG with a completely different team). The game opens on the Bhaalspawn being tortured in a dungeon. However, right at that moment, mysterious attackers launch a raid on Irenicus’ secret base, distracting him and allowing Imoen to escape, come help the Bhaalspawn and regroup with the others. Upon emerging from the base, the party finds themselves in Athkatla, the City of Coin and the capital of Amn, a country situated far to the south of Baldur’s Gate. Unfortunately, magic is forbidden in the streets of Athkatla, and both Irenicus and Imoen are imprisoned by the local authorities for casting spells. The party’s goal then becomes to rescue Imoen and neutralise Irenicus.

While Irenicus may appear to initially come out of left field, he is ultimately relevant to the greater scheme of things, and the entire storyline revolves around the consequences of a heritage that the protagonist had no say in and that many would be more than happy to exploit for their own needs. The game also features a rising tide of violence on a much greater scale than BG, which is fitting when your subject is the offspring of a God of Murder. A portion of the fanbase is very critical of Throne of Bhaal; I don’t mind it so much personally, but I can see where they’re coming from. The other issue lies with BGII’s title: while the first game did eventually reach the actual city of Baldur’s Gate, the second one never even comes close to it! I guess that the developers wanted to maintain continuity and therefore felt that changing the name would be confusing for the fanbase. Be that as it may, the game is still a terrific experience.

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