I don’t know if I’ve waxed lyrical about Dungeons and Dragons before, but given my adoration of the game, it seems likely. I’m involved in roughly three DnD campaigns at any given time, as a constant rotation of roleplaying games scratches both a creative itch and allows for some great stories to be told with friends. I suppose that’s why I’ve been so excited for Baldur’s Gate 3, a game that was promising to take the system and world I’ve fallen very much in love with and adapt it into what was (probably) going to be an excellent video game going by Larian Studio’s previous endeavors.

I’ll be the first to admit that my expectations were high: The unity of some of the most beloved and well-revered classic RPGs married to the developers behind some of the best modern games in that genre. For the most part, I’m pleased to report that after the ceremony, fans of both entities have been blessed with a truly special honeymoon, one filled with love and respect for the source material and is yet maybe not worth leaping into right away.

baldurs-gate-3-preview

I think a lot of people had the misconception that Baldur’s Gate 3 was going to deviate heavily from the mechanical roots on which it was based. Speaking with friends and fans, the general expectation seemed to be that the game was just going to be Divinity: Original Sin 2 but with a DnD flavour, a misconception that becomes fairly obvious the second you start it up.

The appreciation and adoration of the tabletop system Larian is using to make Baldur’s Gate 3 is almost staggering if you’re an RPG nerd like I am. The best aspect of Baldur’s Gate 3 is how open the developers have chosen to be with a system that many often hide from, so that the player may better immerse themself within the game. If you need to roll a perception check, you’re actually presented with a twenty-sided die on the screen, told the target you have to roll above and the die rattles on.

It’s something I began to appreciate the more I played the game; being able to know why I was failing or succeeding at something rather than just being given a percentage and the deciding factor hidden behind the computer. It makes for a more tangible, hands-on roleplaying experience.

3640128-baldurs gate 3

Something which is reinforced even further by the game’s storytelling. Firstly, I’ll always appreciate an RPG for including a narrator to serve as a Dungeon Master. It offers a level of explanation and perspective that otherwise might be missed and not having something like that in a Dungeons and Dragons game would have felt very odd to me.

The rest of the game’s narrative unfolds as you’d expect but is fortunately bolstered along by a wonderfully diverse cast of supporting characters that play off each other in the most stereotypically authentic way possible. Hearing a Half-Elf party member chastise me for accepting the help of a Githyanki fighter or hearing Astarion, an elf with some very shady hobbies, squabble and bicker with Gale, a human wizard, it all just reminded me of situations I’ve played through with friends in real life.

The petty little arguments between party members, the tense moments of praying that you’ll roll the killing blow on the enemy, the discussion that goes with leveling up, and figuring out how to improve a character. It all felt weirdly relatable to me, despite the game taking place in the most hardcore fantasy worlds imaginable.

Baldurs-Gate-3-Screenshot-2020.10.05-22.19.16.82

Even better is that Baldur’s Gate 3 actually does something with those compelling characters. I’m not going too deeply into the narrative, mainly because there are some fantastic reveals and the story isn’t exactly done yet (such is the case with early access titles) but I don’t know if there was ever a situation or conversation I had that pushed me to check Twitter while everyone chatted. I was onboard and invested all the way through the first act and I can’t wait to see how Larian continues the tale. Maybe it’s just because I adore Mind Flayers and think they should be in more campaigns. If anything, Baldur’s Gate has convinced me to be the change I want to see in my DnD sessions.

screenshot-character-creation-11-1601648783433

Perhaps the thing that bothered me most about Baldur’s Gate 3 was how overwhelming it can be at times. I suppose one of the benefits to having a DM is that they can explain rules off the fly without requiring players to click through a dozen different buttons to figure out which one is the journal with all their quests. The game doesn’t do a great job of onboarding players, seemingly expecting most people to just understand how most of it works from the get go.

Sure, if you know DnD 5E you’re all set but I pity the poor soul who’s coming into this game without that knowledge. Look, there’s a fairly robust tutorial menu in the game but you’ll have to go looking for it when you need to know something, a process that could be a whole lot easier and welcoming to newer players.

Baldurs_Gate_3_Screenshot_2020.10.06_-_13.10.33.30

There’s also the expected level of jankiness that comes with an early access title except Baldur’s Gate 3 feels slightly rougher than most. Perhaps that’s just due to the scale of everything. Even this first chunk of the game has a surprisingly large amount of content. Yet it’ll still splutter and stutter when entering a new area, animations for characters and objects just won’t play and plenty of audio clips aren’t in the game. It’s clearly a very early build of the game and if that’s the case then I’m surprised at how playable it is. Just be warned that if you go into Baldur’s Gate 3 at this point in time, you will be met with a lack of polish that doesn’t ruin the experience but certainly tempers excitement.

Baldurs-Gate-3

If that current rough edge is something you’d rather not deal with, I’d recommend waiting a few months. Larian Studios has already rolled out two small patches to stabilise the game a bit but it still needs plenty of work. While what’s on offer currently is a great deal of fun and an excellent start to the journey, it’s difficult for me to recommend it as it currently stands. If anything, the current build of Baldur’s Gate 3 is an excellent indication of what we can expect down the line, a beautiful projection of the excellence that is to follow.

Just maybe wait until the second act drops and Larian addresses some of the bugs and expands on what’s already been put in place. Seriously, give it a few months and Baldur’s Gate could be a monumental success on all fronts.

Last Updated: October 13, 2020

Baldur's Gate 3
Wonderfully written, faithfully adapted, and just a joy to play beyond the obvious lack of polish and bugs that par for the course in early access builds, Baldur’s Gate 3 is shaping up to be one of the best RPGs ever made.
N/A
Baldur's Gate 3 was reviewed on PC

12 Comments

  1. Kenn Gibson

    October 13, 2020 at 12:40

    Holding out for the proper release. Cannot wait!

    Reply

  2. For the Emperor!

    October 13, 2020 at 12:55

    I love how NPCs react to different racial choices made by the player. But because it is Early Access I am not getting too attached to anything yet. Going to be great once the classes I want to play open up eventually!

    Reply

    • Brad Lang

      October 13, 2020 at 13:06

      The second they add in Bard, I’m restarting everything.

      Reply

      • For the Emperor!

        October 13, 2020 at 13:20

        I am patiently waiting for Moon Druid, War Cleric and Hexblade Warlock. And perhaps Gloomstalker Ranger if they have it planned. Right now busy with Rogue Thief, but thinking of dropping that again and going Old One Warlock. Also, Open Hand Monk! So many I want to play, and only the Old One is actually on my “wanted list”

        Reply

      • Alien Emperor Trevor

        October 13, 2020 at 13:06

      • For the Emperor!

        October 13, 2020 at 13:20

        I am patiently waiting for Moon Druid, War Cleric and Hexblade Warlock. And perhaps Gloomstalker Ranger if they have it planned. Right now busy with Rogue Thief, but thinking of dropping that again and going Old One Warlock. Also, Open Hand Monk! So many I want to play, and only the Old One is actually on my “wanted list”

        Reply

        • Sam Sharpe

          October 14, 2020 at 22:55

          If you want to play a hexblade style character you van pick a Githyanki, 16 str 15 cha and 14 dex. 10 -8 in all other stats. You gain all martial weapon proficiency and medium armor.

          Its obviously way more MAD than hexblade which is generally extremely SAD. But it feels like play a hexblade. So I do recommend looking at that.

          Reply

      • Insomnia is fun

        October 13, 2020 at 13:42

        Barders Gate?

        Reply

  3. Alien Emperor Trevor

    October 13, 2020 at 13:06

    I’m so amped to get this once it’s out of early access.

    Reply

  4. Original Heretic

    October 13, 2020 at 19:40

    Damn, the last time I played DnD was 3.5.
    Guess when I finally get to playing this, I’ll stumble my way through until it all clicks into place.
    Which will probably be about halfway through the game.

    Reply

  5. CrasH

    October 14, 2020 at 12:16

    Absolutely love the game and have a few friends playing with each other going from corner to corner.
    There are a few bugs that we looked up how to resolve in one way or another, and that also led to some spoilers, but at the same time gave us a deeper appreciation for system in place that DnD players can overlook when your in conflict of opinion or trust – trying to give any spoilers myself, but there are many more choices for those not interested in being murder hobos.

    ***Possible spoilers so don’t read past this is you want to try everything yourself***

    Speak with animals and speak with dead can give a lot more narrative then you’d expect in some cases.
    Which order you do things and if you do it in conversation or by the npc out of conversation could also alter the results. And lastly, ready everything, not glance but actually ready, some things can update your quest logs and others give you insight for use later.

    Reply

  6. dante13

    October 16, 2020 at 16:07

    Not gonna lie as a fan of D&D as a kid this game so far for me is a mixed bag.. I enjoy some, i hate others, the companions are atrocious and the way the dice rolling mechanics Larion has implemented just drains all the fun out of everything.. And i know how that sounds but that sadly is my opinion..

    I hope it gets better over the next few years, and i hope we lose all the homebrew Larion additions so it can be a true D&D game..

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Check Also

Twelve Minutes Review – Stuck in a Mystery Time Loop

We’ve all experienced deja vu a few times in our lives, but what happens when you ha…