Baldur’s Gate 3 is a story-rich, party-based RPG set in the Dungeons & Dragons universe, where your choices shape a tale of fellowship and betrayal, survival and sacrifice, and the lure of absolute power.
Baldur’s Gate is a series that has defined the genre for decades, and its legacy looms large. With the release of Baldur’s Gate 3, Larian Studios embarked on a monumental journey to craft a successor worthy of its storied past. However, beneath the grand ambition and nostalgia, the game has encountered significant challenges.
Gameplay: A Familiar Blend with a Twist
In terms of gameplay, Baldur’s Gate 3 treads familiar ground, especially if you’ve dabbled in Larian Studios’ previous titles. The core resembles Divinity: Original Sin 2, spiced up with elements from Dungeons & Dragons 5e rules. There’s a strong adherence to D&D mechanics, with limited actions per turn and constraints on movement. What truly stands out is the emphasis on environmental interactions, encouraging players to experiment and find creative solutions to challenges.
Character Customization and Choices
Character customization is robust, offering a variety of races, classes, and subclasses. However, the options for changing the appearance are quite limited. Of course, Baldur’s Gate 3 got a lot of attention because the game also has nudity to some extent, and users can choose different-looking genitals for their character, with or without pubic hair.
The game beautifully weaves your choices into the narrative, affecting interactions with NPCs and companions. Notably, the inclusion of character identity options, such as pronoun selection, demonstrates sensitivity to diverse player preferences.
The Tale of Two Acts: Brilliance and Decline
The story begins on a high note, immersing players in the intriguing world of Illithid Nautiloid ships. The first act is a masterclass in storytelling, where choices hold genuine weight. However, as the game progresses, the significance of your decisions wanes. The second half of the game feels rushed and less impactful, leaving players yearning for the depth they experienced earlier.
The game is plagued by problems
Perhaps the most glaring issue is the presence of persistent bugs. Performance issues, memory leaks, crashes, problems with audio, broken combat system, disappearing UI, disappearing characters, some of the companions essentially lack a decent story, broken inventory, broken trading system, non-matching dialogues, missing cutscenes (if you don’t long rest every now and then), and many other issues which may ruin your gaming experience. These technical hiccups disrupt immersion and test the patience of even the most dedicated players.
The condition in which Larian published Baldur’s Gate 3 is, to put it mildly, simply miserable. It’s more of an Early Access game than a finished game. Asking people to pay full price to test your game is a deplorable thing to do.
Remember Cyberpunk 2077’s disastrous launch? Well, believe it or not, Baldur’s Gate 3 might have outdone it. But here’s the kicker – you look at the reviews, and they’re 10/10. Seriously? Something as broken and unfinished as this can’t be a perfect ten.
No, I can actually see why people love this game. The story is good. How many RPGs with turn-based combat and a really good story have come out in the last few years? Now add nudity, romance, sex scenes, bear sex, squirrels and people will run to buy your game. And that’s exactly what happened here. If CD Projekt had kept its promises and offered more romance, nudity and sex scenes in Cyberpunk 2077, then the game’s faults would have been overlooked. Let’s be honest, aside from the PS4 (and PS5) and Xbox One versions, there was nothing wrong with that game. It wasn’t drowning in thousands of bugs like Baldur’s Gate 3 at the moment.
The Paradox of Choice: Illusion vs. Impact
One of the most disheartening aspects of Baldur’s Gate 3 is how player choices, while plentiful, often feel inconsequential. Whether you opt for heroism or tyranny, the ultimate outcomes remain eerily similar. This paradox of choice leaves players yearning for more meaningful consequences.
Conclusion: A very promising game
In the end, Baldur’s Gate 3 is a very promising game. It has a strong foundation in the Dungeons & Dragons ruleset, and it features a world that is both expansive and detailed. The game’s characters are well-written and engaging, and the story is full of twists and turns.
However, the game is not without its flaws. While it carries the weight of its legendary predecessors, it stumbles on its path. The game’s promising start and captivating companions are marred by technical hiccups and a narrative that loses its shine. It’s a title that beckons with potential, but one that still needs substantial refinement. There are still too many bugs and performance issues that need to be addressed.
Despite its flaws, Baldur’s Gate 3 is a game that is well worth playing. It is a clear labour of love from the developers at Larian Studios, and it has the potential to be one of the best RPGs of all time.
Once the developers have fixed the game and finished it, Baldur’s Gate 3 is sure to be a must-play for any fan of RPGs. It has all the ingredients of a classic: a compelling story, well-developed characters, and a rich and detailed world.
I recommend waiting 6-12 months before buying the game. By that time, perhaps Larian had managed to fix a game, add the missing parts, and of course, the price of the game would be cheaper by that time.
Initial release date: 3 August 2023
Platforms: PS5, Mac, PC
Developer: Larian Studios
Publisher: Larian Studios
Reviewed on: PC