Baldur’s Gate 3 – Preview
Follow Genre: RPG, CRPG
Developer: Larian Studios
Publisher: Larian Studios
Platform: PC, Stadia
Tested On: PC

Baldur’s Gate 3 – Preview

Good: Good writing and gameplay
Bad: Obviously very buggy
User Score
4.5
(2 votes)
Click to vote
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Rating: 4.5/10 (2 votes cast)

After many years of silence, a new entry in the Baldur’s Gate series has released in Early Access, where it will remain for about a year. As a sequel to what is considered one of the best RPGs ever made, Baldur’s Gate 3 is not short of expectations to live up to. So, what does it have to offer at the moment?

Baldur’s Gate 3’s story begins with the player being one of many prisoners in an alien monster’s ship, where a parasite has been implanted in their brain. Luckily, as the ship is abducting civilians from a town it comes under attack by some enemies, forcing it to teleport into hell.

Here the player first gains control of their character, allowing them to explore the ship. After defeating groups of demons attacking the ship, players arrive at the helm. Having no other option but to trigger the teleportation yet again to leave hell, the ship ends up crash landing in an unknown area, where the player gets catapulted out of it and saved by a mysterious power.

From here on the rest of the story mostly depends on the player and their decisions, although a lot of paths will focus on attempting to find a way to remove the parasite inside the player’s brain. Allies may be found or ignored along the way, bonds be forged or broken, all left to the player’s devices.

The game’s graphics are pretty good and will become even better once all the graphical issues and bugs are fixed. Every single NPC is unique and different from each other with even irrelevant ones having personal details. The locations are well made and distinguishable as well as varied, ranging from ruins to alien ships and everything in between.

All this also applies to the sound, with a particular SFX for every single different attack (although admittedly a lot are similar) and varied music to be found. That said, there are issues with sound as well, such as certain cutscenes being completely muted and the sound levels wildly fluctuating in general.

Baldur’s Gate 3 is a roleplaying game, a CRPG to be more specific, the C standing for classical. Similarly to the previous entries in the series, it uses a modified Dungeons and Dragons ruleset, this time being that of the 5th edition. What this entails for those unfamiliar with the tabletop game, is that characters have several stats that affect how certain actions will be rolled.

Using the word “roll” is no figure of speech here either, since every attack or dialogue option is decided by rolling the bones, general 20-sided die. Whatever result comes out of this roll will be modified for better or worse by the player’s stats.

Depending on the class, spell or abilities of each character, their rolls will be affected by different stats. Where a rogue may use dexterity to attack, a warrior will use strength, so on and so forth. Stats that may work for one character won’t work for others, though defying the general stat system may just as well be part of the fun and charm of the game. Working with all the characters is one of the most important parts of the game, since where one may fail at a task, another may succeed.

Sadly all characters that can join the party, besides the player character, come premade, meaning their class and stats are mostly defined. That said, they can still be built to fit different roles, even if there’s not the same amount of freedom to alter them. At the moment there are 5 characters that may join the party, although more likely than not, some will be added before release.

The customization is not limited to the builds though. The player’s character and their “fated one” can be designed from the ground up with slews of different options. Everything, from beards to horns, can be chosen and altered. There are some issues here and there though, mainly certain colors barely changing anything and how a few decorations work.

Combat is handled through a turn-based system, with character order being randomly rolled at the start. Depending on the class, each character will have different skills, although the current cast can be divided into spellcasters and non-spellcasters. Spellcasters utilize magic spells with limited shared uses per day; once they are depleted, only minor spells may be used. On the other hand, non-spellcasters do have abilities as well, similarly having limited although these aren’t shared and only require a short rest to recharge.

What is common to both types of characters is the action system, which limits what can be done on each turn. Each character has an action and a bonus action, with most effects requiring the first. The latter can be used for minor things such as disengaging, hiding or drinking potions. Certain classes can also obtain more actions and bonus actions for a limited time, opening windows of opportunity.

The way hits are decided in combat is fairly simple: Standard attacks need to roll higher or equal to the enemy’s defense. Magic works similarly to this, although certain spells roll against particular stats instead of defense.

If a character is defeated during combat, they are not automatically dead or gone. Instead, they are knocked down and start rolling “death saves”; four successes or failures will get them back up or kill them, respectively. To speed up the process, another character may use the “help” action to get them back on their feet and working.

Most other mechanics in the game are similar to what has been already mentioned. During conversations, sometimes players will have to roll skills such as persuasion or intimidation, which rely on the other party’s stats. There are also passive rolls that occur as the player travels through the world, allowing them to understand or find things.

With all the mechanics out of the way, it is time to address the elephant in the room: bugs. As one may expect from any Early Access title, Baldur’s Gate 3 has bugs, a lot of them. They range from simple visual bugs, such as bridges disappearing or cameras going into walls, to bigger stuff such as softlocks. Dialogues may repeat, combats start for no reason, characters teleport or fall to their doom, and so on. As development progresses these will get ironed out, after all the game is out now, so it can be tested. This doesn’t make the bugs less annoying though, so discretion is advised.

Conclusion

Baldur’s Gate 3 is shaping up to be a great game with very solid gameplay, writing and design. The current version is very rough around the edges, making the £49.99/€59,99/$59.99 important to keep in mind before purchasing. This is not to say the game is not worth it, but anyone considering getting it right now should be informed of what to expect before going in; the current release still needs a lot of work to be complete.

Personal Opinion

“Funnily enough I started playing DnD 5e with my friends not too long ago, so starting Baldur’s Gate 3 I knew how almost everything was going to work. I have to say it lived up to my expectations, although certain things, such as a few archetypes not existing on level up, were slightly disappointing. Alas, the game doesn’t use the complete 5e ruleset, but rather a modified one, so not everything is identical. I’ve seen players comparing the game with Divinity over the previous entries of the series and while I cannot confirm or deny since I haven’t played Divinity, those interested should look into it. Would I recommend Baldur’s Gate 3? At the moment I’d say it’s worth waiting, unless you have a craving for the game. Waiting a few months or until the release will net you a more polished experience and possible discounts. That said, if you want to jump in right now? Go get it; it’s very fun even if ridiculously messy.”

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Rating: 4.5/10 (2 votes cast)
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Baldur's Gate 3 - Preview, 4.5 out of 10 based on 2 ratings

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