Review RPG

Baldur’s Gate 3 – Review | Fun with Flayers

The name Baldur’s Gate was on the lips of every PC cRPG enthusiast since the dawn of time, a testament to writing and immersion. Taking the world of Dungeons and Dragons with its ruleset and allowing players to effectively craft their own experience while also having a tightly written narrative. Now 20 years on since the last main installment of the legendary series, Larian Studios invites you to return to The Forgotten Realms and carve your name in the annals of history in Baldur’s Gate 3.

Baldur's Gate - Woman

A tale as old as time

I am sure any long time fan of the Baldur’s Gate series and by extension, Neverwinter Nights/Icewind Dale will tell you, the intro sections weren’t the most extravagant. Almost to a fault, they were rather basic jumping-off points to your tale, Baldur’s Gate 3 is more than happy to start this one at 100 mph!

Once you have done the character creation which I will tackle later on, you find that your character has been captured by Mind Flayers and you are infected with a parasite aboard a Nautiloid ship. As luck would have it, this ship comes under siege and you manage to fight your way out and along with Lae’zel your quest to remove the parasite and halt the Mind Flayer invasion thus begins. 

The intro section is such a fantastic set-piece that really creates a sense of urgency within this world, whereas its predecessors kind of muddle along, taking a wealth of hours to present such a dangerous foe and event. Baldur’s Gate 3 throws you into the thick of it and it works just oh so well. 

The story then slows a little bit while you start to breathe in the world and its inhabitants. Set 100 years after Baldur’s Gate 2: Throne of Bhaal, there is some familiarity for veteran players but newcomers will be far from lost. This being is a cRPG you are going to be reading a lot. Novels and NPCs are full of lore drops and interesting tidbits to helpfully shape the world and the events within the main narrative. Not all that glitters is gold and naturally the odd quest here and there will be nothing more than a way to earn gold and EXP but there are some great tales to discover in these lands too.

We come to our first but and this is a theme that will permeate through this piece of writing, being as that the game is in Early Access you are only given Act 1 of what is a 3 Act title. While the game has a phenomenal start to it, I cannot guarantee the momentum will continue as even some games with the best starts can fall down in the later acts. 

There is also the fact you’ll be jumping in and out of this world consistently until completion unless you hold off to do a straight run through. As with episodic games, the wait can, unfortunately, kill attention just as quickly as a cliffhanger can generate it.

A beauty known throughout the land.

Graphically Baldur’s Gate 3 is strong. The character models are an absolute treat to look at, facial animations really add to the storytelling and animations are crisp, for the most part. Conversations can start with various animations but will always boil down to that awkward standing around chatting unnaturally stance that plague the genre.

The environments and the number of details and effects are staggering. The introduction section shows off the engine with the lighting coming from fires, the environment crumbling, and it shows just how dark and foreboding the designs can get. Dungeons and Dragons is the granddaddy of the western RPG world and its world and creature design is proudly displayed with care and respect in Baldur’s Gate 3.

You’re only as good as the skills you keep.

Baldur’s Gate 3 is developed by Larian Studios and they have used their expertise developed over the past 2 Divinity games to bring you a truly A+ Dungeons and Dragons experience, far superior to previous attempts. 

Baldur’s Gate 3 is based on the 5th Edition Ruleset with some slight alterations where the developers felt that it would otherwise hinder the gameplay experience. This also means every action you take, every battle you face, and every single choice is governed by the gods of the dice. This means that no matter how proficient in one thing you may be, it can still crumble quite quickly if the background dice roll says otherwise. 

There is also a mindblowing amount of freedom within the game that previous titles can only dream about. Say for example you need to get into a building and are offered a quest in order to gain access. You could kill the said person, take their key, and get in yourself, you could do the quest, you could find alternative means of entry or you could pickpocket their keys. The game and its tools allow you to create your own unique narrative and experience. 

The biggest upgrade I found is by far the Wizards and magic users. Rather than being ranged glass canons and buff/debuff specialists, these units allow you to get creative with your approaches. Skills to allow further jumping, environment bending and other sneaky tricks to help you and your party get the upper hand. You could also use them as ranged glass canons, the game allows for an amazing range of creativity. 

Talking of combat it takes a turn-based flavor once again decided by the gods of the dice and action points which you’ll have to keep a keen eye on to guarantee success in these realms. There is an extra degree of strategy when the environments can directly change the course of victory, oil can be set on fire, rocks dropped off a cliff or traps triggered. There are plenty of ways to gain the upper hand, the high ground, and the decisive victory.

Baldur's Gate 3 - Character Creation

It isn’t always smooth sailing within the realms.

The game starts you out with rather mixed character creation. On one hand, the decoration of it all is unbelievable, the number of races and customizations you can make means you can truly create any character you wish to play. Race is also well done as it will play a factor in how the story plays out and NPCs react to you. 

The other hand comes in the fact there are only 6 preset character classes. These are Cleric, Fighter, Ranger, Rogue, Warlock, and Wizard. While this is a decent selection and there are subclasses within them, the developers have said that even more will launch with the full game release which means if your favorite isn’t in this release, either you’re waiting or you’ll be making do. 

Again as previously mentioned, the game only comes with Act 1. Now while this is only the opening act of the game, it is still a hefty 25 hours minimum and packed full of content. Think of it as a tasty and bountiful sampler of what is to come. The nature of early access also means that the time spent in-game is going to have a certain degree of roughness, quests not activating, NPCs disappearing, animations being strange, basically the usual for a title before the full release.


I loved my time with Baldur’s Gate 3. It reminded me of just how good cRPG titles are, and it is easily the most open and engaging one I’ve played all year. As it is in early access and with the type of game it is, I doubt I’ll be heading back into the world until completion now. The episodic release in my opinion is a real pace killer for the genre and Act 1 ends as it is really heating up. 

While I have all the faith in the world and Larian has a fantastic track record, Baldur’s Gate 3 has taught me that not everything is certain and the high asking price for full access does dissuade me from saying that as of this moment it is an essential purchase. If the game continues the path it currently treads, at full release time this will be an easy GOTY contender. As it currently stands, it is a really good pitch with a long way to go.


Platforms: PC

If you would like to see more RPGs, you may be interested in our review of Mortal Shell.

Many thanks go to Larian Studios for a PC review code for this title.


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