So, I'm playing "Icewind Dale 2" because I wanted some retro RPG action (but not too retro). I know, I know, it's from 2002 (hard to believe it's that recent) you don't want to hear about it, but bear with me. (if you all stopped making games right now, I might catch up on the better games in about 1000 years)
It's hard to believe that games like this used to be mainstream, and this was considered high quality. It feels like one step away from "Adventure Construction Set"; the ground tiles are duplicated all over, then you fight the same duplicated monsters over and over; even the unique special guys just have a different name and stats. Everything is incredibly tedious (ZOMG I have to pick up every corpse's loot, arg!!). I think the total gameplay is probably like 100 hours if you do all the quests, but those aren't really quality fun-packed hours. Obviously the tastes of gamers haven't changed dramatically in the last 10 years. What's happened is the market has exploded from a tiny group of hard core gamers who liked this shit to a big pool of general population that won't stand for it.
Ok, so now on to some things that bug me. You start up the game and have to make a party before you play at all. Okay, this is already horrible design. One of Charles's Prime Rules of games is that right when you start you must be in play. How am I supposed to make a good party if I know nothing about how the game plays? So, anyway, to get in quicker I chose one of the pre-made parties. Fucking morons, the pre-made parties all really suck, they're like horribly set up, with Fighters with Str = 12 and shit like that, like if you use a pre-made party you're at a huge disadvantage to making your own. Of course, the beginner/casual types will use the pre-made parties and you gave them a huge penalty, smart move.
The pathing and AI is ridiculously bad. The PC AI will attack my own charmed PC's and shite like that, etc. etc. The insanely bad pathing is really inexclusable when A* in 2d is so easy and well known and fast.