Aha, I see you know the correct way to build a 2E Bard haha. When I played 2E IRL my highest-ever character was a Bard (Blade kit). I didn’t have 18 STR, but I did obtain either Gauntlets of Ogre Power or a Girdle of Giant Strength eventually.
And yes, at 19 STR, if the rules are coded correctly you will gain full STR bonuses. (The really sad, sad thing is my brain instantly said “+3/+7” when it read 19 STR. I think I played too much 2E.)
I think it should be. Will it be though? Just look at Fallout 2 vs Baldur’s Gate. Fallout 2 is, I would argue, in every meaningful way superior to BG1. It’s not as pretty-pretty, but even that’s about the only arguable point even. The gameplay is obviously better (horrible starting dungeon notwithstanding), both in and out of combat. The plot is significantly better and more nuanced and complex. The sidequests are vastly better. The characters, dialogue and characterization are incomparably superior (yeah I’m saying that).
And on top of all this, it came out BEFORE BG1.
Yet how was it regarded? As a basically “85%” sort of game. Really good but not great. How was BG1, which was in many regards, a trash-fire notable only for accurately simulating AD&D 2E rules in a computer game (where many 2E games largely ignored or took liberties with the rules) regarded? GREATEST OF ALL TIME!!! 97%!!! This sort of shit. Seriously 97% from IGN or someone. Fuck off. I played BG1 at the time. I know that’s bollocks!
And lest anyone think this is a revisionist opinion, I wrote a review to that effect in 1999! It was scathing.
But nowadays, what do people talk about like it was the greatest game of that era? BG1. Which wasn’t even nearly as good as BG2. Let alone Fallout 2!
So my guess is that if people were actually picking a “best RPG of the 2009-2019” (or 2010 to 2020) period, they’re actually going to pick either The Witcher 3, which in some ways, is barely an RPG and more like a GTA game with a medieval setting and a lot more numbers, or Dragon Age: Origins, which like BG1, is wildly over-hyped. If we’re very unlucky they’ll pick Skyrim. Hey it’s more of an RPG than Witcher 3 is!