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BG2/ToB - Angelo NPC mod

Discussion in 'Mod Reviews' started by Cal Jones, May 19, 2008.

  1. Cal Jones

    Cal Jones I'm not dead yet

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    Angelo NPC Mod
    Version: 2
    Review first posted on: May 2008
    Review updated:
    Mod download location: http://gibberlings3.net/angelo/
    Author and voicing: Sister Vigilante
    Coding: Kulyok
    Download size: 10,859kb

    Overview:
    Angelo is a 49 year old fighter-turned-mage who served as Sarevok’s henchman in Baldur’s Gate. A minor character who sentenced you to hang and then later fought at Sarevok’s side in the Undercity, he has evaded death and now tracks you down to Athkatla with a proposition.
    Angelo comes with two quests, one of which may continue into Throne of Bhaal, depending on how you play it, and for open-minded female PCs with a charisma of 12 or more, there is a content-rich romance.
    He is fully voiced, comes with a choice of portraits and is compatible with other WeiDU mods.


    Vital Statistics:
    Class: Level 7 Fighter dual-classed to Mage (advances as mage)
    Alignment: Chaotic Neutral
    Stats:
    Str: 15
    Dex: 15
    Con: 16
    Int: 17
    Wis: 11
    Chr: 10

    Installation and stability:
    Angelo is a WeiDU mod and is a piece of cake to install. I installed him along with Ascension, and the NPC IEP banter pack and Viconia friendship mods from Spellhold Studios, and noticed no bugs or other issues. I reviewed version 2, but version 3 has just been released and fixes a stutter bug that occurs if you romance Angelo with a monk protagonist. My PC was a fighter and had no such issues, but version 3 is recommended for future installs.

    Background:
    One of the main criticisms I’ve seen levelled at this mod is that the Angelo you encounter here differs from Bioware’s original character in several regards. In Baldur’s Gate, you’ll remember him as the rather unpleasant character who took over command of the Flaming Fist after Scar was murdered. If Shar-Teel joined your party, then you may also have found out that Angelo was her father. Both these facts remain the case in Baldur’s Gate II and are explored through subsequent dialogues. However, author Sister Vigilante has taken some artistic license with the character and, rather than being the rather nifty fair-haired archer you encountered in the Undercity, he is now a katana-wielding fighter-turned-mage with a more exotic lineage.
    This Angelo hails from Kara-Tur, having been born to local prostitute and a western customer. After a youth spent as a member of a Yakuza-style gang, he became a soldier and mercenary, eventually ending up in the employ of the Iron Throne.
    Personally, I don’t have an issue with this. There are enough discrepancies within the original Bioware material if you know the games well enough, so I can forgive Sister Vigilante for his creativity in fleshing out a rather one-dimensional, bit-part character.
    Clearly, the author is a fan of all things Japanese, and Angelo’s background is the subject of numerous in-jokes, which you’ll get a kick out of if you are a fan of Asian cinema and culture.
    More interesting for most, though, will be Angelo’s recent history with the Iron Throne, which he will unfold over the course of the game.
    He will have plenty to say to both the protagonist and other characters he may have encountered in Baldur’s Gate. Should you add Sarevok to the group in Throne of Bhaal, then matters develop further, and Sarevok himself will gain a few new dialogues with respect to Angelo.
    This proved to be one of the highlights for me. I’d always found Sarevok’s part in Throne of Bhaal rather underdeveloped, especially his one-size-fits-all epilogue. Not only does the Angelo mod add more intrigue, but, should you choose to redeem Sarevok, then his epilogue will make a lot more sense. For this reason alone, I find it immeasurably more satisfying to play through Throne of Bhaal with Angelo in party, though there are many other reasons why I enjoy having him along.

    Quests:
    During Shadows of Amn, Angelo’s past comes back to haunt him in the form of two quests, one of which may extend into Throne of Bhaal depending on how you play it. Both quests involve some fighting, and whilst the first quest shouldn’t tax the experienced player unduly, the second contains a very nasty fight should you encounter it early on. Whilst I’m reluctant to give away too many spoilers, I’ll just say that the second quest, which revolves around a sword, is best left until the end of Chapter 2 (if you’re the sort of player who likes to tackle most of the side quests before leaving for Spellhold) or even Chapter 6.
    A subsequent encounter in Throne of Bhaal is also tricky, though mainly because you’re unlikely to be prepared for it. Suffice to say it’s worth using a few different saves in case you need to backtrack.

    Romance:
    Although the mod contains plenty of interesting material for the non-romancing player, the bulk of the good stuff comes with the romance itself.
    Angelo will romance female protagonists with a Charisma of 12 or more, though initially he will prove a bit reluctant to get involved with his new boss.
    You can initiate dialogue with him via the talk button, which gives you a chance to ask about his past and various other topics, as well as bringing up a flirt option.
    It’s important to note that you will need to flirt at least twice before he begins to take you seriously. The first lovetalk concerns his daughter; the second is initiated by resting outdoors. If you can make it through these without scaring him off (as a confirmed bachelor, he spooks rather easily) he will begin to open up more, leading to a rewarding and content-rich romance.
    Of course, you could be forgiven for wondering what an ageing former enemy with questionable personal hygiene could possibly offer an attractive female protagonist. This, obviously, is for you to find out, but suffice to say, I found Angelo to be far more endearing and attractive than then young, brash and, frankly, annoying Anomen.
    What could potentially have been a rather seedy romance with a man old enough to be the protagonist’s father is, in fact, wonderfully sweet, often touching and frequently hilarious.
    As a cynical old former games journalist, I was surprised at the depth of the emotion this mod provoked from me. Whenever I’ve played through Anomen’s romance, I’ve found myself entirely detached from it, and unable to relate to why my character would find him remotely attractive. With Angelo, I found myself laughing out loud on several occasions, and grinning to myself whenever I thought about the romance when I wasn’t actually playing the game. I was genuinely worried at one point when I thought I’d lost him, and even felt sufficiently moved by the epilogue to shed a tear or two. That, incidentally, is a first: in over 20 years of playing CRPGs, the most I’ve achieved is a bit of a lump in the throat at the ending of Planescape:Torment.
    I can’t promise that everyone will feel the same, but suffice to say that, given Angelo’s boozing, whoring background, the direction this romance takes will surprise, and hopefully, delight you.
    Another thing I appreciated was how the romance developed in Throne of Bhaal. In the vanilla game, I usually feel a bit down by the time I get to Throne of Bhaal: you are being herded towards the finale at a rapid pace and soon everything will be over.
    Angelo’s romance, along with the Sarevok interaction, actually gives the player plenty to look forward to here. The romance is relatively slow-moving throughout Shadows of Amn, but in Throne of Bhaal it achieves fruition, resulting in a couple of nice sequences and plenty more flirts and talks.
    The most rewarding path is to see the romance to its proper conclusion; should you do so, you won’t be disappointed.

    Usefulness and Balance:
    As previously mentioned, Angelo is now a fighter-turned-mage; something that not everyone will agree with, but actually makes sense when you consider that he’s an intelligent man who is not as young and fit as he used to be and is looking for an edge.
    In terms of skill, he is on a par with Imoen, having dual-classed at level 7 with 17 intelligence, but as you can get him earlier, he should be a level or two higher by the time you retrieve her from Spellhold.
    Although he isn’t quite up there with Edwin, he is certainly good enough to be the group’s primary spellcaster, should you wish to deploy him in that role. However, he can also tank if needed, particularly in the early stages, but also later in the game if given a decent weapon and Tenser’s Transformation.
    His stats are decent without being overpowered; he is tougher and stronger than the average mage, which gives him a decent amount of hit points.
    One of the limiting factors is his armour; an ancient suit of leather that cannot be removed and is the butt of numerous jokes. This means that he cannot take advantage of items like the Robe of Vecna or the Bladesinger Chain, and though some people won’t like this, I found it perfectly acceptable given that he has the potential to be quite powerful when deployed correctly. With the right items, I was able to get his armour class to a decent level and found him fairly resilient even in the later stages of Throne of Bhaal.
    Aside from his leathers, Angelo brings a few items to the game, mostly through his quests. Like Angelo himself, the items were useful without being overpowered, and there is nothing here that will throw out game balance.

    Conclusion:
    Angelo is an absolutely wonderful mod with lots of content which, in my opinion, improved the overall game.
    I do have a couple of minor criticisms. Firstly, his voicing is a bit variable in volume. Sometimes it blends in well with the Bioware NPCs, and sometimes it stands out like a sore thumb. It’s not a big problem, but it does make it obvious that you are playing a mod rather than an original NPC.
    The other issue is that there are a couple of small inconsistencies in the dialogue. One is that Angelo refers to Imoen as your sister in a talk that can, and probably will, occur before you actually find that out for yourself. The other may not be obvious unless you have played Baldur’s Gate thoroughly, and relates to a confession Angelo makes during the romance relating to a crime he committed (in fact, he did not do it, but it could be argued that he arranged it and thus was responsible anyway).
    Either way, these are all small quibbles and have little bearing on the overall quality of the mod.
    Personally speaking, I absolutely loved this mod and found it gave my worn copy of BGII a whole new lease of life. Although I need to explore other mods and thus will not take Angelo along on every future outing, it’s testament to the quality of this mod that I definitely feel his absence when he is not part of the team. I must confess to falling in love with this character just a little bit, and would not hesitate to recommend him.

    Score: 9/10
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2008
  2. Taluntain

    Taluntain Resident Alpha and Omega Staff Member ★ SPS Account Holder The Old Guard

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    Great review, thanks for posting! :thumb:
     
  3. Caradhras

    Caradhras I may be bad... but I feel gooood!

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    I currently have Angelo in my party and I like it a lot so far. The Kara Turan thing is a bit weird but I can live with that.

    No proficiency in bow is awkward since I have memories of Angelo in BG1 using a bow (nothing SK can't fix). Also his portrait looks too young IMO (once again SK is your friend).

    The voicing may stand out a little bit but it's not that bad. I've had only a few banters and these are quite funny and refreshing.

    I'll second what has been posted, Angelo is not overpowered (he is not another Solaufein) and that is really good.

    I haven't played the mod long enough to judge yet but so far it looks like a worthy addition to BG2.

    Kudos for the review. ;)
     
  4. Cal Jones

    Cal Jones I'm not dead yet

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    Cheers. :)
    Yes I did mention the bow thing over on Angelo's forum and they are looking at the possibility of giving him a proficiency in a future version. I believe the Imoen dialogue is also going to be addressed. (This, of course, is one of the nice things about playing a mod that is relatively new and has owners that are still interested in it - I'm always a bit hesitant to download mods that have been abandonned by their writers, especiallly when there are known bugs. Thankfully that is not the case here, on either score).
    There are three different portraits also, so maybe you'd like one of the others better.
     
  5. Western Paladin Gems: 10/31
    Latest gem: Zircon


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    :rolleyes: Oh, please.
     
  6. Decados

    Decados The Chosen One

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    Care to explain what has got your eyes rolling, Western Paladin?
     
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