Known for their mastery in crafting compelling role-playing experiences with the Divinity series, Larian Studios has recently elevated their game to a whole new level. Their latest game, Baldur’s Gate 3, doesn’t just build upon their established expertise in game design; it revolutionizes it. Utilizing the rich ruleset of Dungeons and Dragons, this game sets a new benchmark for the studio and the entire RPG genre. Baldur’s Gate 3 is a game that has set a new gold standard for the genre and is arguably the best game I’ve ever played.
The story in Baldur’s Gate 3 is outright incredible. From the onset, you play as a character you have created or chosen from pre-made origin characters. You are infected by a tadpole that will eventually turn you into a Mindflayer. You will encounter other characters who have also been infected and form a party to take down a shadow organization and either take power for yourself or be the saviour everyone has been waiting for. That is as deep as I am willing to get into with the story because this is one of if not the best story told in Dungeons and Dragons, and to spoil any of the plentiful surprises would truly subtract from your experience.
Here’s the thing: Baldur’s Gate 3 offers around 1,700 different endings. This variety stems from the multitude of world-altering choices presented throughout the main storyline and side quests. The narrative I experienced felt meticulously tailored to my character and their decisions, and your experience could be vastly different. Even the moment-to-moment gameplay can vary, depending on your playstyle and how you choose to interact with the world.
Most impressively, it all runs smoothly. During my 80-plus hours of gameplay, I encountered no technical issues—except for a minor slowdown when I detonated about twenty barrels of fire in a goblin camp. But that was to be expected; it was as if a nuke had just gone off.
“Baldur’s Gate 3 is a game that has set a new gold standard for the genre and is arguably the best game I’ve ever played.”
That’s just how Baldur’s Gate 3 operates. Every minute of this masterpiece is filled with opportunities for unique experiences. Whether you prefer a straightforward, combat-heavy approach or enjoy discovering quirky and thrilling alternatives, the game accommodates you. From high-ranking leaders to lone goblins, you can engage with characters in ways that have significant impacts on the game—if you can imagine it, you can likely make it happen.
Moreover, each party member is richly developed with deep connections to the game’s world, making every minute spent with them feel meaningful. Whenever I made camp, I would check in on them, leading to profound conversations and strengthening our bonds.
Naturally, I gravitated towards certain characters, like Shadowheart, Astarion, and Lae’Zel, whom I consistently included in my party. I went to great lengths to keep them happy, although the reverse is also true. Upset them enough, and they might leave your party—or you could even choose to eliminate them if you’re so inclined. But that’s an option best reserved for those with a monstrous disposition.
The gameplay is also a work of art. Its core rules are based on the ruleset for DnD 5e, which, if you are familiar with, you can truly work the game to a point where you are taking advantage of every single second of the game. But for those of you who are not, it still maintains this incredibly high level of customization that you won’t feel like you are missing out on anything. Want to play as a rogue and pilfer your way across the land, swindling everyone and using your charisma to turn foes into friends? It is possible.
“Baldur’s Gate 3 is a generational game, and I feel fortunate to have been here to experience it.”
I was mid-game, and without spoiling too much, I talked a very tough boss into killing his underlings, then himself. The amount of player adjacency is off the wall. Not only is the agency off the board, but a lot of your fate outside of combat and inside boils down to a series of dice rolls, which adds a ton of tension when trying to talk a clearly out-levelled foe into thinking I was insignificant and not to waste their time with me.
In the game’s early stages, I gained a significant advantage by simply pushing enemies off cliffs—a bonus action available to all players and reliant on your strength-based strategy. However, that’s not to say the early game is a breeze. It’s actually quite challenging unless you quickly master the nuances of party composition. To Larian Studios’ credit, Baldur’s Gate 3 allows you to assemble a full party of four within just a few hours of gameplay.
This game is a dream come true for fans of narrative-driven experiences with branching story paths. However, it can be overwhelming for newcomers to both Dungeons & Dragons and the Baldur’s Gate series. The sheer number of choices presented from the get-go can be daunting unless you already have a preferred class and race in the D&D context.
Fortunately, Baldur’s Gate 3 addresses this issue elegantly. Built into the game is a special vendor named Withers, located at your base camp. With this vendor, you can not only respec your character’s level-ups, but you can also change your class and start anew. The only limitation is that your character’s physical appearance remains fixed. This could be a drawback for players like me, who design characters to match their classes.
Even after investing countless hours, I’m eager to dive back in, this time with friends. We’ve decided to all play as Bards, singing and performing our way through the game while embracing the chaos. This flexibility is what makes Baldur’s Gate 3 so unique. Whether your ambitions are grand or modest, the game likely has a way to make them come to life. I’ve never encountered a game that so robustly tests my creativity while delivering such a fulfilling experience.
Baldur’s Gate 3 is a masterpiece in every sense—be it gameplay, story, or music. It’s rare for a game to feel as though it was tailor-made for a specific player, but this one does just that for me. The developers skillfully prioritize player agency, managing to weave an incredibly tense and, at times, deeply emotional narrative. Baldur’s Gate 3 is a generational game, and I feel fortunate to have been here to experience it.