Returning to the world of Faerûn for the third instalment of the series, you play as whatever your character background states, but a third-party influence will guide and commit you to a newfound path, which quite early on is stated to be “rid yourself of the parasite in your brain or risk turning into a tentacled thrall”.
Your goal is accompanied by companion characters with various backgrounds and personalities, all sharing a common goal. While not everyone can be recruited to your adventuring party, some will remember the good (or bad!) deeds you have done throughout your adventure.
Based on the fifth edition of rules for Dungeons and Dragons(D&D), Baldur’s Gate 3 is the first digital roleplaying game (RPG) centred on the new mechanics and rules of D&D. The previous entries to the series, released over 20 years ago, were based on the older Advanced Dungeons & Dragons second edition ruleset, which has since been simplified into a more digestible format. While some of the more intricate (and often quite lore-unfriendly) customization options are missing, new options for maneuvers and environment manipulation add to a more enjoyable roleplaying experience.
Improving your character through combat has always been a staple selling point for computer RPGs in general, but the shift towards character development and relationships, especially romance, has become a popular characteristic in modern RPGs. If that is something you’re into – you’re in luck because Baldur’s Gate 3 has that in droves.
Getting to know the companion characters and resolving their surprisingly extensive personal quests will lure you in, and soon you will find yourself yearning for more insight into their personalities and backstories. Even if it is something you’re not into, the game gives you quite a rare opportunity to completely disregard everything and merely murder your way through friend and foe alike.
While the more loyal fans of the older instalments might be disappointed with the switch to turn-based combat, fans of Larian Studios’ previous RPGs, Divinity: Original Sin, will be in for a treat with even more environmental manipulation through a variety of oil/water/fire/gas-centred actions and spells, and as a welcome addition, physical manoeuvres such as shoving, pulling and, quite simply, jumping around, brings a welcome addition to strategic minds.
Most combat encounters include some characteristics to keep them fresh, ranging from vantage points to cliff edges that spell doom to both you and your enemies. However, while manipulating the battlefield through blazing firewalls or greased-up floors, it’s very noticeable how sometimes the combat may feel quite comical, especially when the enemy starts to jump around, trying to find the best angle to attack you.
Players coming in from tabletop D&D might feel overwhelmed with the hectic start of the game, especially since the game conveys a false sense of urgency over their parasitic infection. While some specific incidents may resolve over time, most events progress at the player’s own pace, and some resolutions can work as a way to personalize your own narrative experience.
For completionists and scrupulous explorers, Baldur’s Gate 3 will offer over a hundred hours of content just for a single playthrough, and while sometimes bugs and crashes can cause much grief, especially in the later third of the game, the developers are steadily shipping out bugfixes and improvements and have managed to deliver a solid experience for a worthy successor.
Photos screenshots from Baldur’s Gate 3 (Larian Studios, 2023), taken by the author
Publisher Larian Studios
Developer Larian Studios
Platforms PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X and S, Microsoft Windows, Mac OS
Release Date 3.8.2023
Genres Adventure, RPG, Strategy
A game enjoyer interested in the educational potential of games, enthralled by simulations, adventure, and role-playing games. Aiming to figure out what makes them tick all the right boxes and painting a cohesive picture on the allure of games.
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