Baldur’s Gate is one of the most iconic CRPG games. With the first game releasing in ’98 and the second in ’00, it’s fair to say that fans have been waiting for the third game for a while. Personally, I tried Baldur’s Gate 2 many years ago, and it didn’t click with me. My younger brain just didn’t click with it, and for the life of me, I don’t remember why.
So with Baldur’s Gate 3 releasing after such a gap in time, I wanted to see how it would be for someone who isn’t familiar with the series.
It turns out it’s bloody fantastic. I’m sure real fans are rolling their eyes at me just for learning this now.
Now that’s an opening
It’s easy to forget how an incredible opening can make a real difference in early engagement in a game. So many games start with a cut scene that introduces you to the story, but it doesn’t have that wow factor. Baldur’s Gate 3 went a different way. A creepy Cthulhu creature is putting slug creatures into people’s eyes in his bizarre spaceship that is collecting other creatures with tentacles. Next minute, dragons attack the spaceship, and a chaotic battle ensues using portals to jump to other locales.
It was bananas, and I was engaged.
The story itself is something I want to dance around carefully. Basically you can create your own character, or nab one of the prebuilt characters to start your journey. Immediately I was happy as a person who can’t be bothered with character creators. The option is there if you want it, or do me and avoid the hassle of creativity. Anyway your character gets one of those slugs in their eye. After the weird ship thingy crashes, you are unleashed.
It turns out the slug thingy does some psychic stuff which means they are all connected. There should have been a transformation where they all become mind slaves, but because of the crash they don’t actually transform. Nek minnit you find more survivors and your party goes off on a journey to get rid of these gnarly slugs and free themselves. You get involved in other stories as you go along, and there are an insane number of side quests that you can get stuck into, but this is where I don’t want to delve into the story too much.
In short, it’s an awesome chaotic sci-fi/fantasy story. The sheer amount of detail added to side quests is insane and lets this game be as much or as little as you want.
Now this was interesting and took a while for me to get my vibes on. The game plays a lot like a CRPG where you are running around with your party in tow. How this works on console is you can either be controlling your character with the thumbsticks, or you can click around and they run there. Best of all, switching is seamless as hell. Generally I preferred controlling the character, but if I wanted to get to a place, instead of running around looking for the way, I could click it and the character ran there. It was awesome.
Then there is the combat which is turned based. Each participant in a battle has their spot in the queue of turns. You then have an amount of movement for each character to either run around, attack, or both. Given the way you explore I was not expecting combat to work like this, and after a couple of battles I was digging it.
Style in every way
Going into this, I didn’t even know that Dungeons and Dragons and Baldur’s Gate were connected. I know, I’m a bad nerd. But still, that meant I had no idea about the specialness I was about to encounter. The first clear connection is that the whole game is narrated. This caught me off guard at first as the decision in front of the character was being spelled out to me, but it’s so fun and so brilliantly done.
Then there are the dice rolls. When you have to do things like breaking something open or convince someone to do something, you don’t have a stat that says yes or no. Instead you roll a dice, and if the number is high enough, then you are successful. What your character attribute points do is boost that number. Need a 9 or higher? Well you may roll an 8, but get the two sweet, well placed, attribute points to make you successful. It’s so damn cool and clever.
Then there is the look and voice acting. The game looks and runs incredibly on PS5. Given the sheer amount of what is going on and the breadth of the game, I was expecting below average voice acting and graphics. Instead, the game looks and sounds incredible. How they have pulled this off, I don’t know.
Should you play Baldur’s Gate 3?
Whether you are new to the series, or a veteran player, the answer is Hell Yeah you should. This game is an absolutely incredibly built jewel of a game. Need I say more?
Baldur's Gate 3 is just an incredible feat of the game. You can get as little or as much as you want from this incredible beast!