Icewind Dale -- a VERY good RPG game with all the elements that you would want in your RPG experience. Icewind Dale is part of the Forgotten Realms area that includes Baldur's Gate, Pool of Radiance, and other well-known titles. The specific region is Faerun, and in this adventure, the entire region including places like Icewind Dale are being threatened by an ancient evil that is on the verge of breaking loose and creating mass destruction.
You will control a group of six adventurers that may range anywhere from a rogue to a paladin and be faced with many challenging foes -- ice trolls, giants, the undead, spiders, dragons, and many other terrible beasts. Unlike some other RPG games, in Icewind Dale you create your ENTIRE party of SIX at the beginning of the game before you even start to save Faerun. Here is a list of the things you will be able to create yourself and thus make a party that is VERY much a result of your creativity.
1) Gender: Male or Female 2) Portrait: The game has a collection of portraits for you to choose from...some weird, some ugly, and some funny 3) Race: The available races are Human, Elf, Half-Elf, Dwarf, Gnome, or Halfling...each with their own advantages and disadvantages 4) Class: The available classes are Fighters, Rangers, Paladin, Cleric, Druid, Thief, Bard, Mage, or Specialist Wizard. Each of these will have certain special powers and certain penalties. You can either stay with whatever class you choose throughout the game, or you will have the opportunity to Multi-Class if you wish to do so. An example of special powers for certain characters include the Favored Enemy bonus for Rangers and the Laying of Hands healing power that the Paladin automatically gets. 5) Ability Scores: Six ability scores define your character and they are Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma. During character creation, you will have a certain amount of points to spend on these, or you can choose to let the computer set them for you. 6) Alignment: This is basically setting how this character will react....Lawful, Chaotic, Neutral, and so forth. 7) Proficiencies: You will be given the chance to select what weapons and armor you can be proficient with. Some are ONLY available for certain races and classes, so read them carefully. 8) Thief Abilities: If you choose a Thief character, then you will be given points to distribute in four skills...PickPocket, Open Locks, Find Traps, and Stealth. 9) Spells: If you choose a Wizard, Priest, or Druid character, then you get to choose your first level spells that you will start the game with. 10) Racial Enemy: If you choose a Ranger character, then you get to choose a creature that this Ranger has vowed to stop "at all costs" As this Ranger gains levels, then he or she will get a chance to choose more favored enemies. 11) Appearance: You get to choose hair and skin color, and the color of your clothing or armor. 12) Biography: You can enter your own biography or choose to leave it blank. 13) Name: And finally, you can give the character his or her own name.
One of the other great things to realize about Icewind Dale and other games like it, is that it is NOT just "hack and slash". There is a very good story going on and you get the chance to interact with many fascinating people and races throughout the game. More often than not, how you treat them, your interactions, and what dialogue options you choose when talking to them, will determine how the rest of Fearun thinks about your party of adventurers. So keep in mind that this game will react to your actions and you can determine what kind of reputation you will get from its inhabitants.
One of the other great features of this game and any other RPG for that matter, is the ability to govern how these characters develop as the game moves on. Everytime they level up, you will have the opportunity to change stats, spells, favored weapons or enemies, proficiencies, chance to Multi-Class, and so on. So really the character development can be endless, although I am sure there is some kind of level cap. But I am not sure what it is, and doubt you will reach it before the game ends.
The interface and gameplay are VERY good, everything is a mouse click away, and that is JUST how I like it. On the right side of the screen will be your character portraits, and you can click on them and it will bring up their individual info. On the lefthand side are game options like Maps, Journal, Inventory, and Character Record. On the bottom of the screen will be other options that will include what weapons the character is using, what spells, and what items (like potions or magical items).
The graphics are excellent and the sounds are superb. It makes you feel like you are really there and experiencing an epic adventure. But that is what we all want from our RPG's.....RIGHT!!!!!!!!!!
So I would highly recommend this game, and once you play this one, then you should also consider the sequels as they are just as entertaining.