But 1996 was the year of The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall, one of the best RPGs of all time (IMO, way better than Baldur's) that would later continue into a saga that is still top notch today. In 1997, Fallout came out. I'm not personally a big fan of this saga, but its enormous success and influence in CRPGs is undeniable. In 1998, apart from Baldur's Gate, we had Fallout II and Might and Magic VI: The Mandate of Heaven, a great game that renewed the legendary Might and Magic franchise with a new engine.
So no. You may like Baldur's Gate a lot (IMO it's a good game but way overrated) but it didn't save anything, and the image given by the article of being the first brave developers who dared publish a CRPG after a draught is just plain false.
I don't think ES or Fallout were on my radar at that time but you're the first person I've heard with very positive opinions of Daggerfall; most of the ES nostalgics seem to pine for Morrowind.
Baldur's Gate had the D&D license, though, and that gave it a lot of weight and staying power for people who weren't already into CRPGs. I think it also left a much larger impact than any of the games you've mentioned save maybe Fallout II. Part of the draw for me were those D&D rules; I was pretty heavy into tabletop RPGs at the time.
Morrowind fixed all of that - much smaller scale, less generated stuff, excellent plot, few (er) bugs - it was actually possible to finish the game. Landscape with purpose, it was actually interesting to walk and explore.
To respond to the OP, I consider the baldur's gate series to be more of a trend-setter than the other games he listed.
heh. fewer, yes. few, no.
My favorite were the "why am I underneath the ground" or the "why is my screen now red until I reload the game?" bugs that happened all the time.
Granted, I didn't know d&d back then, I guess if it happened now after playing d&d, Baldur's Gate would impress me more.
Daggerfall and Morrowind had a quite different spirit, it was not a case of incremental improvement but a change of philosophy, hence they appeal to different (although overlapping) sets of people.
Daggerfall was one of the most ambitious open world games ever created. It had an enormous world, the size of Great Britain, with over 15,000 towns and dungeons to explore and tons of quests that would be randomly parameterized with towns, buildings, dungeons and NPCs. The world was procedurally generated once, and stored into the game, so everyone sees the same towns and dungeons. The game play was totally open, to the extent that many Daggerfall fans don't care much about the main quest (even though the main quest story was actually top notch, with lots of twists, treason, meaningful choice and all). Why have a main quest when you can just live your life setting your own goals: advancing in the various guilds, striving to buy a big house, a boat, to become a famous knight, etc. The dungeons were also procedurally generated, and so labyrinthine that you could literally spend hours exploring a single dungeon. This is something that some people hated about the game (I actually love it. It was deeply immersive, and the feeling of finally getting back to the surface and hearing crickets was amazing). The character creation system was more oriented to role-playing (you could do things like give your character specific advantages or disadvantages) than to game balance. You could even make your own spells!
Morrowind continued the saga in terms of lore and mechanics, but took a totally different turn. The world was hand-crafted, so it was more carefully put together, but also much smaller. And the open-world nature was very much toned down. You were now "the Chosen One" (in Daggerfall you were just a random person, except for being a friend of the emperor, living their life and trying to make fortune) and you pretty much had to follow the main quest because there weren't that many things to do on the side compared to Daggerfall. The labyrinthine dungeons were replaced by quite linear dungeons (although less so than in later installments of the saga). Roleplaying-oriented features like advantages and disadvantages on character creation, questions to determine character background, etc. were removed.
Don't get me wrong, I love Morrowind too, as well as Oblivion and Skyrim, and even Arena. I have enjoyed all of them a lot. But Daggerfall was a unique beast and scratched itches that no other game did. I understand that it's not for everyone, many people hate it. It's one of the most polarizing games I have ever seen, a case of "love it or hate it". Exploring dungeons requires a lot of patience which many people just don't have, and the procedurally-generated nature (with 1996 technology) means that it isn't as fleshed out as other games - for example towns can feel quite repetitive, etc., you have to use the imagination a bit to imagine how each place is unique. Also, the fact that it was very buggy (although it improved a lot with patches, and Daggerfall Unity will hopefully be very stable as it's remade from scratch) alienated some players. But for the kind of player who seeks primarily immersion, the kind of player who actually roleplays, it's an unparalleled wonder because it lets you be whoever you want to be much better than the later games, which take you through the story on rails. Daggerfall feels like a real world, a simulation of a life in a fantasy land, and the emergent behavior caused by quests, reputations, etc. is often amazing. While the subsequent games in the saga are masterpieces in their own right, I long for a game in the spirit of Daggerfall with current (or at least later) technology.
Morrowind's art, though... that beat the tar out of the releases before it. It was the best balance of big exploration and visual world-building.
A common narrative regarding World of Warcraft expansions as well.
This right here is actually probably what I liked most about daggerfall. One of the things i've found most disappointing about both oblivion and skyrim was their dungeons. Almsot all of then are just a straight path through, i'm not sure if i've ever found an item worth finding and then, especially skyrim, they all seem to have a convenient escape back door that brings you back to the beginning of the dungeon.
I've always felt exploring large winding, mazelike dungeons full of traps, monsters, puzzles and weird things to be one of the staples of a good RPG. Tabletop or computer. Daggerfall's dungeons feel more like the scope of a tabletop RPG dungeon.
I've always felt dungeons should almost be little mini adventures on their own. They should be dangerous and tough to explore, there should be things worth finding, it should feel like you need to explore, like it's a dangerous place few save monsters and brave adventurers have tried to go through and by then end you should feel like you've accomplished something, whether you're more powerful or you've found some kind of cool treasure. There should be some kind of sense of accomplishment and reward for completing them.
I never really felt that way after the later elder scrolls dungeons. They were just places to go to complete a story objective or side quest, get to the end, get a cut scene or some item worse than something I can probably craft already, take the back door back to the beginning then move on to the next one.
I have to admit the 3d fallout games had slightly better 'dungeons' than the elder scrolls games, mostly because they tended to be kind of unique and kind of winding sometimes and there was usually at least useful things to find.
But i'd still like to see a modern open world RPG that focuses more on creating a good dungeon crawling experience to go along with it.
It should be noted that in Morrowind, that is very much ambiguous.
WARNING: MAJOR STORY SPOILERS!
The only thing that is really special about your character in Morrowind is that you're born "on a certain day to an uncertain parents", which technically makes you a viable candidate for the local prophesy about a reincarnation of a long-dead hero of the past. But, of course, plenty of people would also qualify based on something so vague.
From there, the Empire takes you - a prisoner - releases you, and drops you into Morrowind to work for its spy agency, on the basis that this background would allow you to infiltrate the local Houses. You also get a mysterious vision related to said prophecy, but there's a catch that becomes obvious later. Your spy handler then actively encourages you to perform actions that would be seen as fulfillment of various other conditions of that prophecy. At some point, the very goddess that issued that prophesy in the first place intervenes and takes over, and goads you further along the same track (this is especially ironic since she is, among other things, a goddess of fate and prophesy). She was also the source of that original vision that you had.
Of course, this invites the question: if you deliberately do things that the prophecy says a certain person will do, because you're forced by others to do so specifically for the sake of fulfilling it, does that really count? What if you're guided by the one who made the prophesy in the first place? Is it really fate?
This is a question that the game asks again and again. If you study the background of the prophesy (by e.g. reading in-game books), you quickly find out that there have been several people before you who were also candidates, and who have claimed to be a reincarnation, trying to fulfill the prophesy in various ways - and all of them have ultimately failed and died. It gets better still - in the second part of the main quest, you find a cave with the spirits of those past claimants, and they tell you their stories. Every one of them sincerely believed to be the reincarnation - and moreover, they also had visions telling them that they really are, just as you did at the beginning of the game.
To the very end, it remains an open question: are you really the reincarnation, and those others weren't? Or maybe all of you were, but you only stay one so long as you succeed? Or perhaps the whole thing is a lie, and the prophecy is no prophecy at all, and is "fulfilled" simply by forcing people to try to do it until someone finally succeeds? It's never really answered - right before the final boss battle, the Bad Guy (who slayed the original hero you're supposedly the reincarnation of) straight up asks you if you really are his old enemy. You can give various answers to that - including "I don't know" - but in the end, that's still just your character's opinion; there's no incontrovertible proof either way, other than you fulfilling the prophesy in terms of performing the actions you were supposed to. To everybody else, that is enough, and you're celebrated as the reincarnation. But is it enough for you?
Probably "Chosen One" was not the best choice of words. It's more that in Morrowind, the world revolves around you, it's just a device to tell you a story. To take a particular example (among many), in (unmodded) Morrowind, any town or city is a totally unrealistically-sized town with a bunch of houses and a few mostly static NPCs, which spend 24 hours in the same place and are designed to have dialogs useful for you. On the other hand, enter Daggerfall. A town can have hundreds of houses, with hundreds of NPCs that roam the streets and act according to their daily schedules (quite rudimentarily implemented, but still). You can talk to any NPC on the street but just as in real life, they are strangers and don't give a damn about you because you're just another person on the street; so you can ask them for rumors and directions and if you are polite and they are in good mood you can get some information, but not much more. So you really feel that the world doesn't revolve around you. You are so insignificant that if you go to a city at night, the city walls are closed so you can't even enter unless you climb!
> the actual size of the map is 161,600 km² (62,394 mi²). The game world features over 15,000 towns, cities, villages, and dungeons for the player's character to explore.
Was that scale part of the magic and fun back then? How varied were the various quests? Did it get repetitive, or was it fun to explore?
Later, Arcanum would try to do something similar, at least with a global map. It had premade towns and cities (and nowhere near as many of them, of course); but the landscape between them was done to proper scale, and it was all generated.
So, when you reached the outskirts of a town, you could fast travel, or you could just keep walking - and the distance (and time!) you'd have to spend to walk to the next town like that would accurately reflect the size of the game map. And even during fast travel, if you had an encounter (e.g. wild animals, robbers) that dropped you into the detailed map, you'd end up in the correct spot on the generated part of it.
Coincidentally, that made it possible to skip large parts of the game simply by heading to locations in advance that you're not supposed to find out about until some NPC tells you. And the game was actually designed to gracefully handle that, despite having a fairly convoluted main storyline.
Except maybe the question regarding quests. They were very varied, because there were plenty of factions giving quests, and plenty of text scripts (that were parameterized with locations, items and NPCs), from a quick search apparently 227 in total. So sometimes you would do similar quests (especially if you liked to always work for a single faction) but the variety was great actually.
The rpg genre itself was doing strong in 1995, heck just check SNES releases, Chrono trigger, dragon quest, finally fantasy...
It was just a transitional period for the platform
As a CRPG fan at the time, it still boggles my mind that such a title had any kind of success after the likes of Wasteland, Bard's Tale 1-3, the numerous SSI/D&D titles, or the Ultima series. Those days were glorious, and nearly all of those titles are still fantastic today.
Diablo did long-term damage to CRPGs IMO. It established that there was a larger market for completely linear titles than there was for titles where the player could actually decide what to do - or at the very least the order in which you do what there is to do. And as a result, it more or less vaporized any type of funding for non-linear CRPG experiences.
I absolutely adore Baldur's Gate. It is the ultimate expression of gaming for basement dwelling nerds. Black Isle/Bioware always had penchant for lore and world building.
My hope is that when I retire I can become re acquainted with crpgs
It has been scratching my nostalgic itch fairly well.
I squeeze in an hour or two here and there (usually at night after everybody else has gone to sleep). It can take a couple months to finish a game at this pace, but you get through them.
I like the big open-ended RPGs. I feel like I can get in and complete a couple short quests or a tricky combat situation in the short time I have allotted. It makes me feel like I'm always making progress, even if it's slow going. Compared to action games where I feel like the hour I have to play is barely enough time to warm up and play effectively.
"Failing to Fill: The Spiderweb Software Way" https://youtu.be/stxVBJem3Rs
Many of them are on Steam now. And the creator Jeff Vogel is an interesting Twitter follow.
Last time I played U7 through so many years ago it was via Exult. I wonder how far its progressed over the last decade? hmm.
The Bloom was a monotonous slog. I wish you spent less time in the Bloom and more time in other parts of the game (or new areas).
The combat was mediocre at best (nothing like Wasteland 2 or Divinity which are great).
Finally, the bugs were terrible. I only finished the game a couple months ago, so it's had plenty of time for them to get fixed. I still ran into one game breaking bug where I had troll the forums to find out how to hand edit a game script to cause an event to trigger so that I could continue the main quest. That sucked, especially since I didn't do anything unusual. The flag just didn't get set and I was too far along in the game to go back to a previous save.
It's the only game I've kickstarted. I did that because I knew there was no other way a game like this was going to be made at the time. I wanted it to exist. I'm still glad I did and glad I played through it, but it could have been much better. I'd put it at the lower end of my list: worth playing if you really like these kinds of games, otherwise pass.
And I'm talking about Divinity 1, people say Divinity 2 is even better, though I haven't tried it because there's no linux version yet.
It blows my mind how much love and thought they've put into it, I can't recommend it enough, I haven't loved a game so much since I was a kid, do yourself a favor and check it out!
Plot, setting and characters I found quite unremarkable, though.
But still the best "traditional" RPG I have played in many years.
They created characters with plot lines instead of relying on player-generated characters. It's not Shakespeare, but with Larian Studio's humor it is definitely worth playing.
The only one I've played in the last like decade+ that gave me that old school RPG vibe, that felt wondrous like when I was a teen in the '90s discovering PC gaming, has been Wasteland II. Though the camera angles on that annoyed me even worse than D:OS!
Completing a game like Fallout 2 multiple times (it must have taken 50+ hours of play at least the first time) was nothing exceptional & I didn't need to wait for summer break to do it.
Eh, I don't know. I see where you're coming from and I don't mean to offend you, but whenever I find the time to indulge into my gaming obsessions (for me it's CCGs) I feel terribly guilty afterwards, for not spending that time on something productive, like reading up on my PhD bibliography, or just coding up my research. I don't even have a family. I'm just kind of fed up playing games all day long.
Sign I'm growing old I guess. I'll go get my hot water bottle and a cat.
What we would do to overcome the difficulty was ramp our characters level when starting the game. In Candlekeep Inn, we would buy as many darts as we could afford, and throw them at the sorcerer in the lobby. Before he could retaliate, we would run up the stairs to safety.
Repeat this a few dozen times, and he eventually dies, and you get a huge XP boost. Then you export the character, start a new game, and do the same thing.
One time we did this enough to be able to kill the character's father before leaving Candlekeep. Good times.
I think I spent hundreds of hours just min-maxing in Irenicus' dungeon.
Such a well-written game.
About the only thing that hasn't aged well are the character portraits; I wish they had been hand-drawn instead of these weird late 90s low-res 3D renders. Everything else is superb.
I wonder if Nordom is still patiently waiting for the Nameless One to return...
As far as "less serious", I'm not sure what you mean. The game has humor in some places, but it's plenty serious as far as the main quests go.
The game is incredible.
Wonderful game. Can't speed run them anymore, so I'm still not done with the one, but already can't wait to play the second.
- Divinity OS 1/2
- Age of Decadence
- Bastard Bonds
- Serpent in the Staglands
- Torment: Tides of Numenera
However, I did not care for Pillars of Eternity at all.
I've quite enjoyed Witcher 3's atmosphere and story, but there's something hack-and-slash about the combat and the skill system that makes one not really want to explore the different skill paths. For example, almost everyone will deploy a large fraction of their points in strong and fast sword attacks -- because it's a hack and slash.
Is it there's not a lot of demand for RPGs, or they're too expensive to make, or the old-school creators are replaced with a younger generation?
Don't get me wrong, Witcher 3 and the late GTA series are great games, but they're not old school RPG's in their style of play: some of the missions are gauntlet runs (somewhat linear), and the energy is fast-paced and requires more reflexes than they require planning.
To find what you're interested in just step off the beaten path a bit -- right now is probably the single best time in history for things like RPGs. For instance there is literally a brand new Bard's Tale out, in the same spirit as the originals, including having Michael Cranford on board.  You could start your search there - the "More like this" suggestions (on Steam) tend to be really quite good. Another place to start the search might be with the remastered Bard's Tale Trilogy . Definitely don't avoid games just because you've never heard of them. For instance I'd never heard of Spiderweb software but have gotten an immense amount of enjoyment out of their games.  If you're okay with just dropping the story and playing a turn based RPG type game purely for an incredibly phenomenal monster training/creation type system in an incredibly expansive world then the Siralim  series is another great thing to check out.
No affiliation with any of the companies/products mentioned here. But I was literally in the exact same situation as you. Was really disappointed that it felt like my console had every type of genre - first person shooter/stabbers and third person shooter/stabbers! I was never much of a PC gamer. Then I took the path I'm recommending here and was just left jaw dropped to realize we're seriously in the golden age of games right now, most certainly including classic RPG style games!
 - https://store.steampowered.com/app/566090/The_Bards_Tale_IV_...
 - https://store.steampowered.com/app/843260/The_Bards_Tale_Tri...
 - can't link
 - https://store.steampowered.com/app/841770/Siralim_3/
Also a smaller party with less variations in roles is much easier to do storytelling with.
It's an open world RPG with Monster Hunter combat mechanics (and tbh I think also influenced how HZD's excellent combat is designed)
You also need to plan your equipment / consumables before you go take on certain areas in the world.
It's a flawed gem but I love it to death.
Some friends and I just started a BG2 game last night.
2. I love how none of the people were technically experienced at video games
3. I wonder if people knew back then that this was going to be such an influential game (after it was famous, but before time had passed)
I don't think anyone could have picked how lasting and influential it would be. It was one of about 3 games I've ever pre-ordered though.
Also, Lunar 2: Eternal Blue Complete was a high point in my childhood.
It was also very different from modern MMORPGs, since it wasn't massively multiplayer - you had at most 64 players per server, and it also provided for DMs. Thus, you could do the usual MMORPG-type XP grind, or you could participate in DM-managed adventures in parties. Most people did both. Of course, the game engine limits what you can do compared to a true tabletop RPG, but there's still plenty a creative DM can do. And even a simple dungeon raid can have a lot of unexpected twists and turns with a DM.
I recall there were some community-driven things to encourage roleplay, too. E.g. on some servers, all regular players would get an XP reward quota, that they could dole out to other players' characters for good RP interactions.
Weirdly enough the main character of HoTU was the one from Shadows of Udrentide (did I spelled right?). I remember meeting the ghost of one of the antagonists of the original game in hell and my character having her as a ghost girlfriend for the rest of his life.
Ah... I miss those fantastic stories.
Also, Darkness Over Daggerford is finally finished and polished by the original devs and is available as $4 DLC.
Sidenote: I used to moderate PlanetNeverwinter, the NWN forum on Gamespy's ForumPlanet.
The game is not without its issues, but overall it's a solid cRPG from the same era as BGI/II
It all started with Transport Tycoon Deluxe, then Age of Empires. But it was with Baldur's Gate things really started to make sense. Because of these games I was reading and sort of speaking English before we even started having any English classes.
I played Baldur's Gate and barely understood the plot. A few years later, I eventually got to Planescape: Torment and actually managed to understand it.
If you love TTD, you should check out http://www.openttd.org/en/ if you haven't already.
I have also been playing a little CorsixTH, the open source reimplementation of Theme Hospital. Theme Hospital came with Swedish translations, which are close enough to Norwegian that I was able to understand it. No dictionary needed!
It's a good game and lord knows I played it enough to know it like the back of my hand, but people keep bringing it up like it is the Monolith from 2001 bringing us gamer-apes into the modern world.
It's still a first person shooter. A well-made one, but not revolutionary. Unreal came out six months before it and it also had story-driven gameplay and used environmental effects like lighting too.
The secondary timer is harder to justify, which is why it was extended to 13 years in the patched version (more than enough time to do everything).
If you really want to explore [sort of] unhindered Fallout 2 takes care of that, even letting you continue to play after you finish the game.
I remember loving the original Fallout, until it basically said “you didn’t find the water chip in time! Goodbye!”
Exactly the same story with Commandos 2 vs Commandos 3.
Dragon Age II was largely panned by Bioware fans as it got a lot more action oriented and less RPG/choice driven.
Dragon Age: Inquisition is basically unrecognizable to Baldur's Gate days, as mechanically it's more similar to Mass Effect 2 than old time RPGs. That game was 90% pulp fantasy open world quest completer with decent combat/skill syngergy. But the last 10% uncovered some story bits that really made me go "wow I want to know more".
Looks like the sequel is in the works.
It is like it says in the article: you're not just making a movie, you're inventing the camera.
By the sound of it they went right from DirectX to build the engine, a huge task in itself, and then writing the story with the engine. And of course when you try to write the upper layer, you're going to discover you forgot something in the lower layer. Often something bad that makes you have to re-architect.
In my own line of work it there's also layers like exchange integrations and strategies, but you're still reasonably close in terms of domains of thinking. With games you're both performance optimizing c++ code and trying to tell a compelling story at the same time.
And you can't skip the artistic side. You have to have a proper story. The characters have to have correct looking clothes and weapons. NPCs need to have the right speech coded, and they need to drop the right loot for the plot to work. Maps have to seem expansive yet still seem coherent to the atmosphere.
I must have played through the game at least two dozen times and I never got tired of it. To this day it's still my favorite game of all time. Modern RPGs just don't compare in terms of storytelling and gameplay experience, in my opinion.
I also spent lots of time scripting the game, like trying to replicate Balthazar IA (the monk spawn of Bhaal that lead one of the last locations in Throne of Bhaal).
Sadly it seems like SCS (Sword Coast Stratagems) does not exist anymore? The IA it introduced is crazy good, though it gets tiring to beat mage and have to stock up on breach/spell-pierces.
EDIT: I wonder if I am the only one noticed the Beholders' cave shape is a perfect Nazi swastika
The company which made them offended some gamergate types awhile back so they perennially get negative reviews but that’s politics rather than a reflection on the work.
I prefer to play Baldur's Gate in the original engine. Sure there are some annoyances (e.g. small stacks of ammunition), but some mechanics work very differently in the Baldur's Gate 2 engine compared to the Baldur's Gate 1 engine and for me that's a dealbreaker. For example the monster summonings or the weapon skills.
If you've never played the original Baldur's Gate, then you will not be annoyed by these differences though. So if you just want to try the game out for the first time, then surely the Enhanced Edition is a good buy.
Coincidentally, I did another solo-sorcerer run through BG2 last weekend. It's still fantastic.
People who say this "ruins" the game are just angry nerds being angry nerds.
BG2 wasn't just great for its time; it's great now.
> After seeing how the devs treat customers I'd highly recommend a pass on this and the expansions. There are legitimate issues with the game, but anyone pointing out issues with multiplayer, buggy UI tweaks, game crashing, characters and saved games being corrupted are being called transphobes and having their legit issues deleted. The devs have also gone begging for good reviews and are currently trying to create drama where they should just admit they screwed up. I wouldn't touch this game with a 50' pole. Stick to the originals avoid anything Beamdog has touched.
> they went beyond and started to brake things in attempt to make the game "more socialistic"
which I find hilarious :D But this isn't hilarious at all:
> Amber Scott should be fired for shoveling her cultural marxist bullshit into this game. There's nothing good about this game
but it's literally the only grain of genuine toxicity I found. Maybe I overlooked something, but if GOG deletes reviews that would be an entirely other can of worms. Most 1 star reviews are stuff like
> I get a non specific error code with instruction to contact beamdog support. I haven't heard back.
I found this though, when looking for "gog deleted baldurs gate reviews" (which I assume they didn't do because I think the "gamergate crowd" would be all over that)
> Hi everyone. I usually spend most of my time lurking here, but I'd like to ask a favour. It appears that having a transgendered cleric and a joke line by Minsc has greatly offended the sensibilities of some people. This has spurred these people into action, causing them to decide this is the worst game of all time and give it a zero review score on Steam, GoG and meta critic.
Note how they're not offering actual evidence, either. That this turned them from lurking to posting is all the "evidence" anyone needs. Just painting people with a broad brush in their absence. Not that I have a problem believing that there was a lot of hate, I haven't looked at Steam or Metacritic at all, but I just went through all of GoG, pretty much nada. So it might also be the attempt to engineer a narrative based on a few grains of truth, instead just owning a shoddy product, a la Ghostbusters, and then people develop false memories based on that narrative?
If they are gone now, it can only be because GOG did some cleaning up. I can't fault them.
The early EE release was a bit buggy. When you're just re-releasing an old game and charging $20+ for it, if it ends up buggier than the original, it tends to attract the "what are you good for?" sentiment.
1. They've ironed out the bugs over the years
2. There's loads of nice interface improvements that makes it a much more polished experience.
3. The new content they add tends to be a notch or two below the original game, but I still find it pretty enjoyable and well above the quality of most fan mods. And the new content isn't intrusive; you can ignore it if you want.
4. Obviously, it's much more convenient than trying to figure out how to install the original from CDRom, and it's nice that I can play it on Mac or on a tablet these days.
5. The modding community has entirely embraced EE and has for years. I was afraid that I would be unable to install some of my favorite mods when I tried the EE version, but it's actually much easier. If you try to go non-EE, then you're probably going to have more problems with installing stuff nobody has paid attention to in 8 years.
I too prefer the original versions, particularly because there's a mod called Baldur's gate trilogy that combines both games and their expansions into one huge game with a ton of fixes.
Fallouts lack stories (except new vegas which mostly lacks sequesls).
I'm also looking forward to Obsidian's new game The Outer Worlds, seems like New Vegas IN SPACE.
Speaking of modern Fallout 1/2, this game just came out:
I'm kind of waiting for the initial round of reviews / reactions before deciding on whether to give it a shot.
The list appears incomplete. It doesn't even cover albion.