Not 30 seconds after I cracked open the door to GOG's Planescape: Torment subforum did I find a link to Wikipedia's list of logical fallacies dropped into an argument. Oh no. Beamdog's re-releases of classic RPGs are contentious, and today's Planescape: Torment: Enhanced Edition is no exception. (And it's not because there are two colons in the name, which is what infuriates me.)
Part of the irritation stems from the original, nearly 20-year-old game—which has been available on GOG at $10 for some time—being removed from sale with the release of the Enhanced Edition. Buying the new version nets you a copy of the original, but you've got to pay double the price. And with a few Infinity Engine mods, the original should, in theory, stand up fine next to the EE version—so it's $10 extra primarily for convenience. (I realized this too late to issue a warning that the original was going off sale, sorry!)
The second concern is that Beamdog somehow screwed up the game, adding content like it did with Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition—which Planescape: Torment definitely doesn't need. But it hasn't done that: This is the same Planescape: Torment we gave a 93% in the US edition of PC Gamer back in March 2000. Not a word of dialogue has changed, as far as I can tell.
As for the compatibility and graphics update, I'm convinced the Enhanced Edition is worth it. I wasn't very hard to convince, though, because the original hasn't been running properly on my Windows 10 PC for a couple months. Despite a few hours of troubleshooting and rolling back updates—it had been working, until something changed—I haven't figured out why. So for me, Enhanced Edition is an opportunity to actually play the game versus looking at a flickering screen.
For those who own the original and are happy with how it runs with mods, I don't see any pressing reason to buy the Enhanced Edition now. If you haven't played one of the best RPGs of all time, though, there's nothing to wait for.
Enhanced Edition runs at your desktop resolution—there are no in-game resolution options—but does so dexterously. I was pleased that, with no prompting from me, the game world filled my 21:9 display, and the reworked 4K UI was sharp as can be. At higher resolutions (1440p and up) you may find the original art turns a bit mushy, but at 2560x1080 Planescape: Torment looks the best I've ever seen it.
Purists can turn off the new graphics options, but the only one I haven't used is the zoom functionality. The new, bigger field of view helps mitigate the ugliness caused by the art's transition from low-resolution CRT monitors to sharp modern displays, but for some reason PSTEE lets you zoom in with the scroll wheel until Planescape's macabre architecture becomes a mosaic of red and brown. I'm really not sure why the feature exists.
Otherwise, the toggleable sprite outlines look fine, though the sprites themselves are still ugly as ever—The Nameless One has never been pretty. This isn't a remake, so 1999-era PC game art is what you get, but I wouldn't want it any other way. Extracting the original, sharp and grainy art and smoothing it over would be just as damaging to Planescape: Torment as adding three exclamation marks to every line of dialogue.
With a game so good, preservation is all I want, lest some good-intentioned tweak adds or subtracts something that didn't need adding or subtracting. Even as a newcomer—I started my first playthrough not long ago—I can see why the game is beloved exactly how it is.
To that end, the quality of life improvements are nice, but minor. Hitting Tab, for example, now highlights every interactive object near you, and displays your party's HP above their heads. Quickloot snatches up any dropped items near the selected character.
None of it interferes with Planescape: Torment's greatness. So the main reason to buy the Enhanced Edition—aside from it being the only edition on sale—is that it'll run at your display resolution without issue, and with a high-res UI and remastered music. Mods can do some of that, too, and modders who carry out PC gaming's great tradition of making old games work on new hardware deserve much respect. But the upside of the re-release is that it's much easier to recommend to new players who don't necessarily want their games to come with 1,500-word mod guides—so long as the additional ten bucks doesn't turn them away.
If you are a newcomer to the game, I won't re-review Planescape: Torment here, but it sits at the top of our best RPGs list for reasons that didn't take me more than 30 minutes of play to recognize, and even with this re-release, our original review hasn't aged a day. Put on your reading glasses and play this thing.