In a year with so many great games, Baldur's Gate 3 stands out with its great storytelling, awesome adventuring, and somewhat old school gameplay that still feels fresh today. If you're never played or heard of Dungeons and Dragons before, it can feel overwhelming at the start. The lack of tooltips to explain the classes available don't help. But, respeccing and trying out something new or tweaking your build is cheap and easy. The game encourages experimenting, and it's fun to do so. There's nothing better when you accidentally try something stupid to solve a problem, and it actually works.
- Level 12 cap, but you'll feel super powerful by the time you hit it
- Inventory management can feel tedious if you are a hoarder
- There's a sense of exhilaration after particularly tough fights
- Storytelling is top-notch and epic, cinematics are alright, but not the best
- Shadowheart is bae
The game takes place 120 years after Baldur's Gate 2, and features the same world of Faerûn. It has a plot revolving around brain-eating tentacled monsters called Mind Flayers. You can play either an original character, or one of the pre-made Origin characters. They have their own backstories to explore, and can be recruited as companions and romanced as well. If you do decide to create your own character, you can pick from a huge variety of races, classes, as well as how they will look. I spent way too much time here before even starting the game proper. Some builds can feel way too powerful, but that's not really an issue, since it's a mostly single-player game, after all. It has multi-player, but I did not try it out.
Baldur's Gate 3 is huge, and the maps are vast. Whether it's the wilderness, or a huge underground world called the Underdark, there's plenty to see and do. You'll journey through three different acts, though you can technically beat the game in the second. Despite playing for 89 hours, I've yet to finish the game. But that's because I'm determined to explore every nook and cranny. Even then, I'm pretty sure I missed out on stuff. I plan to do a second run, this time as a completely evil character to see how it plays out different. Larian, the developer of the game, says there are over 17,000 possible endings, which is insane. But it offers a lot of replayability, which also means value for money. You can also adventure with or romance different companions for a fresh experience on a new playthrough.
If you play D&D, then you'll understand how combat works. Otherwise, just know that it's turn based, and your four characters take on enemies such as other humanoids, monsters, or demons. As with any D&D based game, luck plays a factor, and if you're unlucky, the dice rolls can really mess you up. But thankfully, you can save scum, by quick-saving and quick-loading. Dice rolls also affect your conversation choices when using skill-based options such as Persuasion or Intimidation. Failure can lead to somewhat hilarious results, and may even trigger a fight. BG3 has a mechanic where you can use an inspiration point to reroll failures. Inspiration points come from your in-game decisions, and are dependent on your background.
Overall, Baldur's Gate 3 is a fantastic role-playing game that will keep you hooked for hours. Replayability is top notch, and it's possible that mods can add even more content. Larian also patches the game quite frequently to fix bugs, and has yet to commit on any possible expansion plans. But the game is already amazing, and definitely worth your time. It's currently available on PC, PS5, and will also come soon to macOS and Xbox.
Any purchase you make through our links may generate a commission. It supports our work, but does not dictate our editorial reviews. See our FAQ here.