Is Baldur’s Gate 3 a Crit Hit or Nat 1? D&D fans appreciate the rarity of both.
By E. V. Barnard
Where to even begin when talking about one of the most highly anticipated sequels of all time; especially one that’s been 20 years in the making?
There is a lot to get into here so let’s just tear right in. First of all, I’m going to do my best to deliver a spoiler-free review, but readers beware nonetheless. For those worried about potential spoilers, I’ll give my recommendation right off and explain my thought process after.
If you’re a fan of tabletop roleplaying games and D&D in specific (5e rules only here, sorry 3.5 fans), give this game a shot the second it hits full release. I’ve never felt so much like I was playing an actual TTRPG as I have while playing Baldur’s Gate 3.
The downside of this is that you lose that magic after the first playthrough. However you’re still left with an amazing game with an excellent replay value to it after that.
For this reason I highly recommend that anyone interested go ahead and get the game on full release, rather than ruining the surprise by peeking at your present before your birthday.
.With that out of the way, let’s go over some of the highlights from my time spent with this early access gem, shall we?
The character creator, while impressive in a character class sense, was extremely lacking in the character model customization front. With a choice of around a dozen hairstyles, half a dozen faces and a vast choice of 2 (that’s right TWO!) extremely similar voices, you’ll find yourself looking like one of a very few unique members of your chosen race.
I’m holding out hope that Larian Studios will fill out the choices before final release.
The story, without giving away spoilers, does not seem to have any connection to the previous entries in the series. It seems more like the start of a fresh new campaign, complete with new level 1 characters to kick things off.
I get the sense that this, like Baldur’s Gate 1, is the first arc of a larger story. One where mysteries are posed, solved and replaced with new ones leading us into the next chapter.
Looking at the gameplay
Next up is the gameplay and there’s lots to cover here so lets get to it. There were some impressive features that particularly intrigued me. For instance I loved every single skill check I had to make.
They all felt very much the same as my experiences sitting around a table with friends and rolling physical dice.
The momentary anticipation, the exaltation in victory or sense of woe in defeat; it all comes together to replicate the experience to near perfection.
The tactical advantage gained from proper deployment and a little preparation also reminded me of it’s tabletop counterpart. It was often the deciding factor between killing or being killed.
You’ll find a seemingly endless list of things to do, people to talk to and plenty of fun locals to check out.
Enemies, friends and choices
In true Baldur’s Gate fashion, the one place not seen was the titular city itself, which really made the game a fitting entry into the series. You’ll find enemies well beyond your ability to handle, friends you would never have expected and the kind of choices that makes an rpg worth playing.
While I did run into a number of glitches and game crashes, don’t expect to see them at full release. Most of what I’ve seen so far involves the dialog cutscenes. Stuff like lips not moving, character models twisting themselves into odd positions etc.
Game crashes happen most often during savegame loading screen or large battles with lots of enemies and effects to render. All said there’s not a lot of bugs or issues to clean up, which should mean a quick release of the full game.
This one’s destined to be a must-own for any serious RPG fan on full release, thanks to the compelling story and engaging gameplay.
Additionally it’ll also hit the mark for any D&D fan for it’s near flawless translation of 5e rules into a well packaged video game.
I’ll be eagerly awaiting the day I can once again explore the Sword Coast with my motley crew. We have a big job, checking out every nook and cranny in that wasn’t ready for Early Access.