Originally Posted by Totenkopf
Is it necessary to play the first one to have any idea about what's going on in the sequel(?)? I'm going to borrow this game from someone and thought maybe I could get some input about it here. thanks.
I played Baldur's Gate II:SoA before I played Baldur's Gate and I understood the story fine. There may be some back-references to things that have happened before that you may not get, but nothing important. If something from the past really matters it will be explained in the game again. You can play through the whole saga with the same character for epicness, but it's hardly a requirement. If you create a new character in BG2 it will be auto-leveled to the BG1 level cap.
BG2 is a game that can be pretty hard to get into, but once you do chances are you'll get hooked on it. It's a huge game, and I've replayed it more times than is probably entirely sane a few years ago.
The only problem with skipping right to BG2 is that it is so much improved over the original in many respects, so if you do play BG1 later it will feel very old by comparison.
I could only bring myself to play BG1 once, even though I was a BG2 addict.