Baldur’s Gate 3 Review
The latest in the wildly successful franchise set in the Dungeons & Dragons universe, Baldur’s Gate 3 was just recently released via Early Access. While expansions and enhanced editions of previous games have continued trickling in, fans of the Baldur’s Gate series have been waiting the better part of two decades for a new full release in the franchise. Although it is still in Early Access, Baldur’s Gate 3 is available for purchase and play on Steam, Stadia and Galaxy of Games as of October 6th, 2020. How will this latest installment find its place in one of the most iconic franchises of all time? Let’s find out!
It’s been a very long time since Baldur’s Gate 2 was released back in 2000 and many of us are itching to get back into the wonderful RPG games set in the universe of tabletop’s behemoth, Dungeons & Dragons. It is with that great anticipation that I booted up Baldur’s Gate 3 for the first time. As soon as I reached the character creation screen, before I was even able to play the game, I knew that this game was going to be considerably different from previous Baldur’s Gate titles, and I knew I was in for something special.
The immersion begins with the character customization, which is very reminiscent of creating a new D&D character. Once you have selected your race, class, physical appearance and any prepared spells or deity that you worship (depending on class, of course), you are dropped immediately into action. As this game is heavily story-based, I will not include any spoilers. Suffice it to say that the first chapter of the story does a fantastic job of intertwining the fates of the characters involved and allows you to make plenty of meaningful choices on your path through the game, but more on that later.
Baldur’s Gate 3 is developed by Larian Studios, the same developers behind the Divinity: Original Sin games, so it should come as no surprise that there are many familiarities between the games. This is a perfect crossover, as the open-world feel outside combat provides players the freedom to be creative and explore DnD wherever they may desire, all the while being very cautious of either walking into a combat scenario unprepared or after splitting the party to attempt a tactical advantage.
The combat itself could not be more perfectly adapted from DnD5e. From the simulated dice rolls to the actions, spells and skills – everything just looks and feels right. This, in turn, makes it a great game for novice or aspiring D&D players to learn a bit more about the original tabletop version of the game and how it is meant to be played. I, myself, have participated in 3 campaigns to date, and have found this to be a sublimely supplementary experience.
As you may expect, each dialogue decision you make bears consequences, and I would imagine that no two play throughs of this game would play out very similarly at all. This is especially true if you vary your class choices, as certain dexterity, persuasion, intimidation or intelligence checks become nigh impossible to pass based on who you are playing. The best part, however, is that the game never tries to stop you from trying any of these moves. It is entirely your responsibility to know the strengths and weaknesses of your character. The game will provide you with all possible options, leaving it in your hands to choose a viable one.
These options drastically affect the outcome of certain storylines, however there is still an evident undercurrent that will continue you in one main direction as the story progresses. This added structure ensures that you do not get overly lost along the way. Character progression and levelling feels very genuine, and your character sheet is an accurate representation true to D&D roots.
Overall, Baldur’s Gate 3 is a superb early access title with lots of potential. While there are certainly bugs and more than a couple rough edges, this game benefits from a solid structure, great story and engaging combat system. I cannot wait to see how the final title evolves and until then, I would certainly recommend it to DnD fans, Divinity fans and also franchise fans who have an open mind.
Learn more about Baldur’s Gate 3 here: https://baldursgate3.game/