Saying I’ve enjoyed my time in Baldur’s Gate 3 is an understatement. This game consumed all of my time at work, when taking breaks, and when I was off the clock. I’ve enjoyed BG3 from start to finish, and as soon as Larian Studios stuck the landing with their satisfying conclusion, all I could think about was when I would be starting it up again to roll my new character.
Baldur’s Gate 3 is a game that fans dream of getting their hands on, and being able to experience it has been incredible. It’s been a wonderful delight, and I’m sad that I have to write this review right now, or I’d be working on my second playthrough or talking with my friends about when we can start our three-player campaign to boot up on the weekends.
The appeal of Baldur’s Gate 3 is not only its phenomenal storytelling and writing, but it’s with the sandbox tools that the developers at Larian Studios perfected through previous titles. The team has refined their skills with Baldur’s Gate 3 and limits players only by their creativity and what they think they can do only because they have yet to try it.
Baldur’s Gate 3 Key Details
- Developers: Larian Studios
- Platforms: PC (Steam / Epic Games Store) & PlayStation 5
- Release Date: August 3, 2023, for PC, September 6, 2023, for PlayStation 5
- Price: $69.99
Baldur’s Gate 3 Lays The Foundation of An Epic Tale
Baldur’s Gate 3 doesn’t hold back any punches. You’re immediately thrust into the worst levels of danger, with your character starting on a Mind Flayer ship, with a parasitic tadpole attached to their brain, threatening to transform them into a tentacle monster. Even when the ship successfully crash lands, and you start picking up party members, this is all everyone can think about and what they will do next.
It’s the primary focus of the entire plot, but it quickly spirals out into so many other side stories and adventures. There’s a massive cult following and listening to any character with a powerful Tadpole in their head, tieflings who want to make it to the city, a land scorched by a hungry darkness-based entity that devours anything not protected by the light, and those are only the bigger highlights. I have yet to mention the small stories, such as letting a Bard pop out your eyeball, saving citizens from an Inn fire, smuggling goods, stealing eggs, or protecting someone stuck in a patch of explosive mushrooms.
Larian Studios walks a beautifully dangerous tightrope of having a large, world-crushing plot as the significant focus without making it the linear-focused detail that works into every story. There are so many smaller tales and tragedies happening that make Baldur’s Gate 3 feel so believable. The best part is how much off the rails you can go, exploring a bog outside of a goblin to discover it’s infested with Red Caps and home to an evil hag that gives you your deepest desire at a horrible cost.
A lot is happening in Baldur’s Gate 3, but it’s never overwhelming. If you and your party want to focus on the main plot, you can, and every road leads to the city of Baldur’s Gate, which only shows up in Act 3 rolls around. This delicate balance shows the masterful storytelling that Larian Studios has been sharpening for years. These details, on top of the companion stories, each with a unique and tragic background, are all well done.
What drives me to continue playing Baldur’s Gate 3 is the multiple choices and outcomes that Larian Studios thought of for these encounters. There are several correct solutions to any encounter, and there’s no one-to-one solution that everyone can consistently repeat. What works for one group might not work for another, and the multiple outcomes and endings keep me coming back for more.
Tabletop Creativity At Its Finest in Digital Form
The Baldur’s Gate 3 adventure does emulate an epic tabletop game you’d expect from a big Dungeons & Dragons campaign. There’s the focus on large, major plot points motivating the party forward, but plenty of side quests and meaningful content along the way. Thankfully, the dungeon master running the Baldur’s Gate 3 game is endlessly patient, and they created a vast amount of expansive content that is begging to be explored. Getting derailed off the main path to stumble into something completely different is so easy.
Very few things are determined by a timetable, giving me and my party as much time as possible to explore anything we want and complete it in any order. Thankfully, those loose rules also occur in combat and preparing for combat. Nearly everything goes inside the standard combat rules and how those work, and this is where Baldur’s Gate 3 shines. Knowing if something works is truly understood when a player starts asking, “I wonder if …,” and then they try out, confirm it, and go wild with that knowledge.
One of these moments happened when a friend told me they had created a grenade with their pile of Alchemist Fires. When used traditionally, Alchemist Fire is a single, throwable potion that creates a fire after it’s thrown. However, my friend had thrown a dozen of them into a backpack and then tossed it into a group of enemies to cause a chain reaction of explosions, making a previously boss fight that took me several turns to complete and turned into a three-turn encounter. I was blown, mostly because I sold off my Alchemist Fire, not wanting to waste my character’s actions to use it in a fight.
That made me think about what would happen if I did this with Health Potions, which has been confirmed can be used as a throwable object to heal party members. What if I put that in a backpack and created a colossal healing grenade? Can I do that with other, more dangerous explosives and one-shot a boss before they can even make a move? What if I sneak it on the ground next to a boss and light it with a flaming arrow before starting a fight?
So long as you’re respecting the general rules of Baldur’s Gate 3, nearly anything goes, and this is a neverending delightful experience while playing. It’s why playing nearly any of the 12 Classes or the 11 unique races provides so many opportunities, and that’s not even mentioning the Origin characters, where a player can go through the entire campaign as one of the six companions or adventure as the sinister Dark Urge as the player struggles to keep their inner blood-driven murderer at bay.
These larger details make the smaller quests and events so impactful, seeing how Larian Studios prepared everything for your unique character. It’s a level of detail we only see from a few developers and a refreshing time to see while playing such a grand game. The game’s size starts to feel its weight as we draw closer to Act 3, but it doesn’t stop it from being such an incredible experience.
Becoming A Legend of The Storm Coast in Baldur’s Gate 3
The final act in Baldur’s Gate 3 stood out as the most significant portion of the game. Everything that had been building up to it in Acts 1 and 2 came to fruition, and it’s a great thing to see many of the earlier story beats beginning to pay off and watch the storylines wrapping up for my companions. It’s a good send-off to a nearly 70+ gameplay journey leading to a brutal final battle.
Although, parts of the fold begin to break underneath the gigantic weight of what Larian Studio wants to present players with the size of Baldur’s Gate and a climactic ending. When I finally arrived in Baldur’s Gate, this was the one time I had to eventually tone down my graphics and give the game a minute or two to load before I could wander around and start playing correctly. The size of the city and waiting for all the graphics to populate properly were tiresome. Still, it was smooth sailing when everything worked until I loaded into another area and had to start the process over again.
Act 3 is where a lot of the ambition builds up for Baldur’s Gate 3, and it goes over a bit. Holding that city together all in one system is challenging, and I could feel it as I wandered around. However, I can proudly say that while this was apparent, I had far fewer problems than I anticipated I would deal with, given the hype around the game or what the developers had been sharing.
The final fight was undoubtedly a dungeon master’s dream of putting together an epic showdown for a Dungeons & Dragons party ready for their last battle to take back Faerûn. This battle was a challenge, not only in size but the number of obstacles my team faced as they reached the end. It was like an over-ambitious dungeon master who had these grand plans for a massive battle, throwing out all the stops to prevent me from finally taking over. I imagined the person running my Baldur’s Gate 3 breaking out a huge dice bag to roll every attack the enemies unleashed on my party. It almost became exhausting to watch as several enemy hordes descended on my group of four characters.
Even if the overly ambitious climatic ending felt a little much, the overall story connecting this battle with my companions and side stories was satisfying. The conclusion was fantastic, even if only some buildings were not properly generated in time while the cinematic played.
Baldur’s Gate 3 is a phenomenal success that I didn’t believe possible with an ambitious project like this. If anyone would do it, Larian Studios were the best choice. They’ve proven how vibrant and exciting this genre can be if you trust the developers to take their time, double down on what makes a game so much fun, and use an exciting system without taking too many creative tools away from players. Letting them go wild and thinking about how this could change the narrative and the world has been an incredible experience.
I still cannot wait to fire up my second character. I will return to Baldur’s Gate 3 with my Dragonborn Paladin under the Oath of Vengeance. There are still all the stories I want to experience with other custom characters, try out the Dark Urge, or even play the game as Karlach, the best tiefling ever.
10 / 10
|+ Creativity is only limited by the players and what they want to try|
|+ Endless replayable from so many unique angles|
|+ Elegant combat and in-game systems to make every fight satisfying and unique|
|+ Rich and deep story down to the smallest side quest to the major plot|
Gamepur team received a PC code for the purpose of this review.