Editor's Note: We want to emphasize that is is not a final review for Baldur's Gate 3. We've been playing the Early Access version of course, and wanted to have some fun with it and cover our experience so far. A final and separate review will be published when Baldur's Gate 3 officially launches.
It’s been nearly 20 years since Baldur’s Gate 2: Shadows of Amm released. However, now Larian studios give us there take on the franchise, with Baldur’s Gate 3,
Everything in Baldur’s Gate 3 from your created character to combat stems from the fifth edition of Dungeons & Dragons. It might be a little intimidating for players unfamiliar with these rules, but once it clicks, oh boy.
There’s plenty here to sink your teeth into, and as someone who has been playing D&D for years now, Baldur’s Gate 3 is a feast. The robust character creator allows you to design your character’s race, class, gender, Deity, and so much more. I spent a good 30-40 minutes just here alone.
After creating my Dwarf Cleric named Crugar Onyxarm, I was ready to dive into the world. Baldur’s Gate 3 wastes no time getting its hooks into you. A beautiful cinematic intro introduces the Mind Flayers shoving a tadpole into the player’s eyeball.
Here is where the story of Baldur’s Gate 3 begins. You swiftly learn that this Illithid will eventually turn you into a Mind Flayer, and you only have so much time to cleanse yourself as you band together with other characters who fear suffering the same fate.
Your party will react and change based on the decisions you make throughout the game. They begin to reflect on how your player views the world around them. Each choice you make, whether that’s combat, dialogue, or a skill check, all help shape your character to be truly your own.
Every day you can rest at camp to regain spell slots, abilities, and other things, but it's also a great time to check in with your party. Talking to them will allow you to further your bond and dive deeper into what they think about the events so far.
This adaptation of the D&D ruleset promotes creativity previously unseen in the franchise. On multiple occasions, the game let me make a string of decisions that ultimately lead to my character’s demise, but then still gave me the option to proceed without my created character if I so choose.
While there are some limitations to how they adapt the D&D ruleset overall, Baldur’s Gate 3 does an excellent job of bringing D&D to a video game format. The best way to think about it is as if Larian was your personal Dungeon Master using the fifth edition as a framework and then building off from there.
Baldur’s Gate 3 promotes player curiosity. Allowing you to combo and bounce off of the actions of your party members to accomplish incredible feats. For instance, in combat, I would use my mage Gale to conjure a mage hand. I would then use that mage hand to bring objects to my created character to throw at enemies.
It wasn’t the most efficient strategy, but you can start to see how well all of the systems work in tandem and build off of each other. Everything in Baldur’s Gate 3 follows a ruleset and a logic, once you understand how that works, the game opens up in a truly magical way.
You’ll face many obstacles in your time with the game, but all of them have many ways about going about them. Something simple like a passed skill check, or even your race can help you succeed. You’re not locked out of options simply because a skill isn’t high enough.
A dice roll determines everything. If you’re bad at persuasion, for example, the game still lets you try to persuade people, you probably will just suck at it.
However, when you do succeed on a check you know you shouldn’t have it feels like you just pulled off the ultimate heist. Baldur’s Gate 3 doesn’t focus on limiting players’ options based on their character. It’s more concerned with allowing you to try as many things as possible.
Of course, this is just the Early Access launch of Baldur’s Gate 3, which includes roughly 20 hours of content until you reach the end. There is still so much more to see with this game, and I am excited for the next content drop, whenever that is.
I will say that the game is currently filled with quite a few bugs, and I’ve had the game crash quite a few times. It might be best to hold off for a few weeks while Larian works on some stability improvements, but if you can’t wait, it’s totally understandable.
I recommend Baldur’s Gate 3 for anyone who is a huge fan of D&D or CRPGs in general. Branching dialogue trees, a robust character creator, addicting combat, and fleshed out party members all provide a unique experience set in the Dungeons and Dragons universe.
This is a review score explicitly for our experience with the game in its initial Early Access form.
A great adaptation of fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons.
Inspires player creativity above all else.
Many technical issues including crashing and textural glitches.
The game is unfinished in its current state.
Review copy provided by the publisher.