Coming back to the cRPG genre after some time away is like a splash of freezing water. It is disorienting and cruel. How do I know what’s my next step? The voice-over mentioned some dude names Gorion, but where the eff is he? I have to explore this place, step by agonizing step? Why aren’t there any arrows or waypoint indicators? The freaking HUD takes up enough screen space — you’d think it would do something useful.
This leads to a weird, oblique form of discovery. It’s not exactly adventurous; more like filling in the blanks. There is nothing so harrowing or enticing as a darkened mini-map. In Candlekeep, for instance, I found an old man who wanted me to fetch some scrolls. Piece of cake, thinks I and set off to rescue his dusty parchment. On the way, I found a circle of monks, chanting several prophecies all at once. Something about the lord of murder? Mortal progeny? Whatever — I don’t speak Gregorian, and they aren’t offering any quests.