Hey, can I borrow you for the rest of your life? Because the latest Humble Bundle (opens in new tab) is a collection of some of the greatest CRPGs in games history, but you might need to quit your job and retreat to the woods if you want to finish them before the mid-century.
Humble’s RPG Legends bundle will net you Baldur’s Gate 1 & 2 plus the Siege of Dragonspear expansion, Planescape: Torment, Icewind Dale, Neverwinter Nights, and Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous. They’re all in their modernised Enhanced Edition form (except Pathfinder, since that only came out last year), so you won’t have to spend time tinkering with mods to get them working like I had to do back in the day. You kids have it easy.
We’ve named some of these games a few of the best RPGs of all time (opens in new tab), and for good reason. Baldur’s Gate made Dungeons and Dragons cool (opens in new tab) again back in 1998, telling an epic fantasy story across two games and one expansion that started out with you trying (and failing) to whack rats in a warehouse and ended with you summoning demons and bargaining with gods. It defined Bioware and continues to define its genre: it’d probably be quicker to list the modern RPGs that don’t take inspiration from Baldur’s Gate than the ones that do.
Planescape (opens in new tab), on the other hand, was a journey to the centre of the self that preferred to ask questions about mortality, ideology, and belief. Where Baldur’s Gate was extroverted and operatic, Planescape: Torment was inward-looking and reflective. It’s beautifully written, and thank god for that, because the game is like 75% reading. No wonder that the creators of Disco Elysium—currently occupying PCG’s number one spot on our top 100 (opens in new tab)—credit it as a major influence.
Baldur’s Gate and Planescape are the big headliners, but it’d be an injustice to snub the other games in the bundle. Neverwinter Nights is a kind of transitional fossil that marks Bioware’s switch from isometric games to its more recognisable 3rd-person style from KOTOR and Mass Effect, but it’s a fun D&D adventure in its own right and has so many fan modules you could probably spend a few months just playing those. Icewind Dale is a more combat-focused take on a Baldur’s Gate-style adventure, and you can trace its lineage (and even some developers) in modern games like Pillars of Eternity. As for Pathfinder—we liked it a fair bit (opens in new tab) when it released last year, giving it 76% and praising its “meatgrinder of war, politics, and interplanar travel”.
You can pick up all the games in the RPG Legends bundle at any point in the next 20 days for $20, or around £17. Just, you know, maybe clear your schedule first.