If you’d told me a few months ago that I’d be knee-deep in the world of Baldur’s Gate 3, I would have raised an eyebrow and said, “What’s a D7D?” But here I am, thanks to my boyfriend’s unwavering enthusiasm for this epic RPG.
As someone who used to think the term “critical hit” referred to spilling coffee on my laptop, I’ve embarked on a journey filled with magic, monsters, and endless character choices. So, join me as I dive headfirst into the world of Baldur’s Gate 3, and let’s see this game from the eyes of a non-gamer. What do you think? Was I able to survive in a realm where dragons are more common than morning coffee?
Keep reading this article till the end to find out…
Baldur’s Gate 3: A Fantasy World Like No Other
Baldur’s Gate 3 is a game that’s all about letting your creativity run wild and immersing you in a world where your choices really matter. Developed by Larian Studios, this game takes the essence of Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) and turns it into an interactive experience that will blow your mind.
First things first, what’s the deal with Baldur’s Gate 3’s sudden rise to stardom? Well, it’s a tale as intricate as the game itself. But if we were to break it down into bite-sized pieces, it’s all about the immersive experience it offers.
Imagine a world teeming with history, where larger-than-life characters roam, and epic quests await your every decision. That’s exactly what BG3 serves up on a silver platter. From the moment you start, you’re thrust into a rich fantasy realm that’s as vast as it is captivating.
Graphics And Everything Else: My First Reaction And Thoughts!
The first thing that came to my mind while playing this game was “it’s a wild ride!” Just imagine: you’re in this fantasy kingdom, doing quests, and taking on some seriously evil baddies in turn-based battles.
You’ve got weapons and spells, like poison spray and fire bolts, at your disposal. When you hit enemies, you’ll hear those satisfying impact sounds, and sometimes it gets pretty intense with cries of pain and explosions. Oh, and the blood-splatter effects leave quite the mess on the ground.
But here’s the kicker: there are some seriously gory scenes in cutscenes. I am talking about decapitations, disembowelment, and even brain extraction. And if that’s not enough, there are some moments of nudity, too. You might come across characters with everything on display, and there are a few scenes with topless characters getting a bit frisky, but don’t worry, it’s not super explicit.
In one part, you even get to make some tough dialogue choices that involve extracting information from a prisoner using some not-so-pleasant methods. Most of the gruesome stuff happens off-screen, though, so it’s not too in-your-face. If you are a non-gamer like me, be ready for some wild moments in Baldur’s Gate 3!
Embracing Ambiguity and Player Choice: What I Felt About Baldur’s Gate 3!
Larian Studios, the brilliant minds behind Baldur’s Gate 3, have an affinity for the ambiguous, the gray areas of storytelling, and this game thrives on player choice. This isn’t your run-of-the-mill RPG; it unleashes you into its world right from the get-go.
Everything in Baldur’s Gate 3 is interactive, and the problem-solving feels akin to those exhilarating moments in a tabletop Dungeons & Dragons session.
Unlimited Choices, Unlimited Fun
Ever wished to infiltrate a guarded, locked door and crack open an ornate chest? In this game, the possibilities are as limitless as your imagination. You could cast an illusion spell to create a diversion, have your nimble rogue pick the lock while sneaking back out unnoticed, or employ your warlock’s unique abilities, like the enigmatic monster slayer Wyll, who harbors some dark secrets.
Wyll might teleport into the room and out again while you engage the guard in conversation. Alternatively, if subtlety isn’t your style, you could take a more direct approach: eliminate the guards, break the door down, or use a magical Knock spell to swing it wide open. And believe it or not, these are just a few straightforward options to consider.
Elevating Interactivity: A Cut Above the Rest
The game’s encounters are a testament to its open-ended nature, and it shares this quality with another contender for the title of Game of the Year, The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom. Both games set a new standard for interactivity within their worlds, encouraging players to devise imaginative solutions— an approach that distinguishes them from the contemporary crop of Ubisoft-style open-world games that often inundate players with mundane tasks and shallow quests.
Depth and Complexity: An Engaging Narrative
As you progress through Act 1 of Baldur’s Gate 3— around 20 hours in, to be precise— you’ll realize that depth and complexity define this game. Just as it challenges you with intricate interactive systems and logic puzzles, it also respects your intelligence as a player.
Shades of moral ambiguity pervade your group of heroes (or should we say anti-heroes), and their relationships with the communities you encounter during your journey. The dialogue is sharp and often humorously witty, making role-playing through the game’s exquisitely animated social scenes an absolute delight— a journey that is further enriched by the game’s wonderfully diverse cast of characters.
Choices, Choices: Crafting Your Path
In Baldur’s Gate 3, your choices in social interactions are as diverse as your options for dealing with that well-guarded chest. When you discover your conspicuously pale adventuring companion, Astarion, attempting to bite your neck in the dead of night, you have a range of responses at your disposal.
You can react with hostility, issuing an attack, or perhaps you’ll take a more diplomatic approach, warning him off. Or, if you’re feeling unusually generous, you might offer him a bit of your own blood, just this once.
Diverse Companions: Characters You’ll Love (or Not)
Each character in your party is deeply flawed and charming in their own way, especially Karlach, the tiefling jock who has escaped the hells and is ready for some fun. The only character who might not win you over so easily is Gale, the power-hungry wizard.
This choice feels appropriate for a couple of reasons: he’s the token human in a diverse cast of characters, and, after all, who needs Gale when you’re a wizard yourself? It’s worth noting that you can even pursue romantic relationships with these intriguing characters, complete with intimate scenes.
A Harmonious Blend: Combat and Social Elements
The game seamlessly blends its combat and social elements, although if you’re new to Larian’s games, lack D&D knowledge, or haven’t ventured into tactical turn-based RPGs before, the battles might pose an initial challenge. However, some familiarity with these areas of expertise should suffice for an enjoyable challenge that isn’t overly frustrating— at least based on my experience so far.
Character Creation: Crafting Your Hero
Baldur’s Gate 3 excels in offering you the freedom to create your own custom character, but it also provides the option to play as a companion character with a pre-written plot, class, and background. If you choose to build a custom character, or opt for the “dark urge” plot playthrough— an especially harrowing, horror-esque alternative storyline— you’ll embark on a journey starting from scratch.
D&D in Digital Form: A World of Options
The game was constructed on an adapted version of D&D’s current ruleset, providing access to all the same class options, numerous race choices (elf, half-orc, human, and more), and even the core set of subclasses.
This extensive range of choices means there are countless ways to play, and since you’ll be part of a party with three other companions, each with their unique race and class combinations, virtually any choice you make should fit well within your group dynamic.
As a novice D&D player myself, I found controlling the entire group to be a surprisingly enjoyable way to become more proficient with martial classes— a departure from my usual preference for magic casters like wizards and clerics.
Early Choices Matter: Shaping Your Journey
The early choices you make in Baldur’s Gate 3 have a significant impact on your gameplay, just like in a traditional D&D campaign. A barbarian excels as a front-line fighter but isn’t known for their silver tongue.
A bard, on the other hand, can heal, cast support spells, and talk your party out of trouble as needed. A wizard possesses extensive knowledge of the arcane inner workings of the world, all while amassing scrolls containing every spell the game has to offer.
My Personal Journey: Wizardry and More
Being fond of complexity and currently playing a wizard in my own D&D campaign, I chose to begin my playthrough as a wizard in Baldur’s Gate 3. Given that Divinity: Original Sin II heavily rewarded stealth and pickpocketing, I also invested in these skills— an unconventional choice for a wizard archetype.
The game allows for more flexible multiclassing than a traditional D&D campaign, and you can even pay to change your class build on the fly. These design choices encourage experimentation, and there’s little reason to opt for an optimized build over something that promises fun.
However, I do recommend bolstering your charisma for social interactions and keeping a sneaky character in your party to maximize in-game shenanigans.
Spells, Strategy, and Satisfaction
By selecting the Friends cantrip (a low-level spell that can be cast for free), I can gain advantage when trying to talk my way into or out of situations, deceive others, or persuade an NPC to see things from my perspective.
The game beautifully simulates a real D&D game when your character faces in-game challenges, allowing you to roll dice and add any relevant perks you have (like Friends or Guidance— another essential cantrip) to enhance the outcome.
The sound design during these moments is impeccable, and even after over 20 hours of gameplay, I still find the virtual dice’s clattering anticipation enthralling.
Exploration and Discovery: A Living Game World
Before diving into the game, I was concerned that the map might lack the freedom and exploration I desired. However, Baldur’s Gate 3 has consistently proven me wrong.
What initially appears to be a straightforward ground-level map in the early hours of the game unfolds into something far more complex and interconnected than I could have imagined.
Secret areas hide rewards behind locked doors and around sandy inlets, making exploration deeply rewarding. There’s no filler content here.
Interconnectedness and Secrets: Like FromSoftware
It’s remarkable, at least in Act 1, that the map hints at a FromSoftware-like approach to interconnectedness, particularly as I discovered a massive underground area. It dawned on me that an optional boss fight I had undertaken in a swamp earlier concealed a secret portal into this underground zone— a portal I only entered hours later, from a completely different corner of the map.
Baldur’s Gate 3 won’t hold your hand; you can genuinely overlook substantial areas, characters, and side stories. Consequently, every major discovery feels more meaningful than in a typical game that practically drags you toward its secrets with giant, glowing breadcrumbs.
Exclusively on PC (For Now)
As of now, Baldur’s Gate 3 is exclusive to PC and is already smashing records. With over 800,000 players simultaneously exploring its world over a single weekend, it has vaulted into Steam’s all-time top ten chart. The upcoming PlayStation 5 launch is bound to generate even more interest, and I hope anyone who’s considered giving this game a try will take the plunge.
Performance and Bugs: A Few Hiccups
From my experience thus far, the game runs flawlessly on extreme settings, even on my mid-range custom PC. My rig boasts a high-end CPU, but due to the 2020-era GPU shortage, I’m equipped with only a 1660 Super for graphics. While I’ve encountered a fair share of bugs, none have been game-breaking, and I’m hopeful that these will be ironed out in due time. Until then, the quick save function serves as your unsung fifth party member.
Bottom Line: Baldur’s Gate 3 Is A Gaming Milestone!
Baldur’s Gate 3 stands as an incredible milestone in the world of gaming. It’s an unexpected hit that combines the classic elements of computer RPG gameplay with the current cultural resurgence of Dungeons & Dragons.
All of this is presented with stunning high-end graphics, setting new standards for the entire industry. Even if the later acts don’t quite match the brilliance of the early ones, I can’t envision anything tarnishing my opinion of this game in the next 60+ hours of playtime.
Much like other standout titles of recent years such as Tears of the Kingdom and Elden Ring, Baldur’s Gate 3 makes players feel clever, igniting their imaginations and evoking a profound sense of wonder in a vast game world brought to life— complete with dragons, drow, and all the wonders of Dungeons & Dragons.