Initial release date: August 3, 2023
Platforms: PlayStation 5, Mac operating systems, Xbox Series X and Series S, Microsoft Windows
Genres: Role-playing video game, Adventure game, Strategy video game
Mode: Multiplayer video game
Composer: Borislav Slavov
Developer: Larian Studios
Publisher: Larian Studios
"Review Copy Provided By Larian Studios"
Imagine, if you will, that you and your weary band of adventurers have just survived a grueling battle, and all you yearn for is respite. You come across a barn, which seems like the perfect place to recover. However, as you approach, the sounds from within grow louder and more distinct until, upon opening the door, you're greeted by a scene of wild, unrestrained fornication! This unexpected and comical scenario perfectly encapsulates the essence of Larian Studios' latest offering, Baldur’s Gate 3, a game where every choice you make propels you through a world filled with ludicrous, poignant, and astounding moments. A spiritual successor to Larian's previous blockbuster, Divinity: Original Sin, Baldur’s Gate 3 is an immense RPG adventure overflowing with captivating locations, engaging narratives, and fascinating characters. These elements often lead you down unexpected paths, whether it's dealing with wrathful deities, lovesick elves, or belligerent dwarfs. Despite dedicating over 45 hours to the game and only reaching level 5, my escapades have been incredibly diverse, including, but not limited to, infiltrating a cult, accidentally massacring a group of Tieflings (blame the dice rolls), being an unwitting voyeur to an intimate encounter, and purging a glade of malevolent druids—all before setting foot in the city!
One of BG3's standout features is its comprehensive character creation suite. Players can meticulously craft their ideal character from a selection of 11 races and 31 sub-races, while also choosing their gender (with a non-binary option), voice, and even genitalia. This level of customization means players can truly create a version of themselves or a character they've always envisioned and guide them through the sprawling Forgotten Realms.
The adventure commences on a ship commandeered by mind flayers, or Illithids, creatures notorious for their formidable psionic abilities. You, along with other captives, have been infected with a tadpole that threatens to transform you into a mind flayer. As you attempt to escape an assault by a githyanki war party, you traverse various realms before returning to Faerûn to seek a cure for the infection. This journey introduces you to a diverse cast of characters and presents a plethora of dilemmas, all narrated in a style reminiscent of a D&D session. This approach makes BG3 a superb entry point for those unfamiliar with the D&D universe. The combat mechanics are turn-based, with participants rolling for initiative to determine the order of actions. Players must strategically employ their arsenal of weapons, spells, and cantrips, often exploiting the environment to gain a tactical advantage. Although I encountered occasional control issues during combat sequences, these minor imperfections did not detract from the overall immersion of the experience.
Having been in development for nearly a decade, with three years spent in early access, BG3 is impressively polished. While there are sporadic graphical glitches and camera challenges, particularly during combat in areas with significant height disparities, these minor annoyances pale in comparison to the game's vastness and complexity. One of the game's most remarkable features is the freedom it affords players, enabling inventive problem-solving and guaranteeing that no two playthroughs are identical. However, this also implies that casual players may not experience the entire content, as the developers estimate a single playthrough requires approximately 70 hours. While this level of depth and intricacy is exhilarating for devoted RPG enthusiasts, it may deter casual players from the genre if it becomes the norm.
In summary, Baldur’s Gate 3 captivated me entirely. It ignited my curiosity about my party members' hidden agendas and the repercussions of utilizing mind flayer powers. Larian Studios deserves commendation for creating a masterpiece that lingers in your thoughts long after playing, akin to a memorable D&D session shared with friends. Although its sheer size may not be suitable for casual players, Baldur’s Gate 3 is a triumph for RPG connoisseurs.