Published on August 31st, 2023 | by Chris O'Connor
Baldur’s Gate 3 PC Review @baldursgate3 @larianstudios
Summary: Baldur's Gate is back, better than ever. Grab your party and go forth and forge your legend!
I can remember being a big fan of Baldur’s Gate when it came out… decades ago! Naturally I was taken with Boo and Minsc who provided much needed humour in a world often filled with darkness. So it was with hesitant optimism I approached Baldur’s Gate 3. It’s always a bit risky returning to a beloved game series after such a large gap… technologies change, developers come and go… it leaves a lot of variables. I am pleased to say that not only did Baldur’s Gate 3 live up to my hopes but it has exceeded them!
From the very start, the heart racing opening cinematic can’t help but grab your attention. Within moments of taking control of your character (after lovingly creating them of course… and oh the options you have to pick from), you are faced with some moral choices that will impact your journey… most notably, do you stop and try and save a fellow captive, or do you simply try and escape as quickly as possible. In a way that is one of the things I love about these sorts of games… the fact that you are presented with choices that can have a significant impact on your playthrough and will define the sort of person your character will be.
For fans of the Dungeons and Dragons universe that this is set in, the use of dice for certain actions/events will be a welcome sight. You also have modifiers based on your character/parties skills that can help sway the roll of the dice in your favour. Much like the old RPG books with dice and paper back in the day… it can be tempting to roll the dice, then reload if things don’t work out… but as you won’t always know when a dice roll might come up, that could mean backtracking quite some time… also a lot of the fun comes in letting your fate be determined by the dice and you can certainly do that.
Visually the game is striking and whilst the pre-rendered cinematics are truly striking… the in game visuals aren’t far off. The audio also does a fantastic job of aiding the immersion with atmospheric sounds making sure you don’t forget some of the horrible locations you might find yourself… or the nasties that lurk within.
I think what really cemented the joy of the experience for me was when (reasonably early in the game) made my way down into a well which turned out to be a phase spiders nest. No trouble… just knock off the spiders… oh wait… there’s a queen! What was potentially certain death facing an enemy with far more health than my party combined, suddenly became a manageable assault when I realised we were fighting on an elevated column and I had a spell that could push my enemy off. A couple of shoves and I was victorious! That is indeed one of the strengths of the game. You can explore where you want but you may come up against situations that seem beyond your ability. Some may well need to be left till later… but others, with a bit of lateral thinking may just be achievable and the sense of satisfaction is delightful.
I have missed having a deeply immersive RPG that I could really get my teeth into and Baldur’s Gate 3 is a perfect fit! I can define my character… win my parties favour (or ire) by my words and actions and I can grow with them in a world that is rich with history and life. This is what CRPG should be… immersive and capable of causing you to turn around and realise that it’s not only now night time… but it’s well into the early hours of the next morning… but you just had to see what was behind that secret stone door… and then you just had to help the merchant who just couldn’t have made it through without you.
Absolutely highly recommend. If you were a fan of the originals… jump in without fear of being disappointed. If you are new to CRPGs, grab a copy and start here… it’s layered but you can explore at your own pace and learn as you go… easy to start, not too tricky to “master”… or at least manage.