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Review: Baldur's Gate 3 achieves generational greatness

Like Elden Ring did last year, Baldur’s Gate 3 stands out bereft of live-service elements to execute a clear creative vision. BG3 is a lovingly crafted game made by an incredibly dedicated and passionate team deadest on making the best choice-driven RPG ever. Six years of dedicated development and three years in early access has paid off; suffice to say, BG3 is easily the best choice-driven RPG I have played, and probably one of the best RPGs of all time.

BG3 is easily the best choice-driven RPG I have played and one of the best RPGs of all time.

Based in the Forgotten Realms universe (the world of Dungeons & Dragons for the uninitiated), BG3 is a lavishly produced CRPG with an incredible cast of characters, a complex story, and incredible gameplay freedom. You start out as an adventurer who has been caught by Mind Flayers, D&D’s Cthulhu-like race of psychic squid aberrations. They infect people with “tadpoles,” little parasites inserted through the eye that will eventually transform the victim into one of their own. To your surprise, something has delayed this transformation, and much larger forces are at work in the world of BG3.



Larian Studios has given players unparalleled options in creating your character. While they give you the option to start as “origin” characters, which are the set party members you run into along the way, you also have the freedom to create a custom hero. Admittedly, I was disappointed at the absence of non-human types like Kenku, Tabaxi, and Tortles. Other than that, the character creator is nearly peerless in creating unique and memorable player characters that look fantastic.

The consistency and quality of BG3 is frequently astounding.

Once you have your class and character set, you drop into the amazing world of BG3. What is so incredible about BG3 is the consistency and quality of the writing. Every character feels realistic, and I never ran into the typically annoying characters that plague so many other games with quippy dialogue and cringe-inducing voice acting (looking at you, basically every JRPG). It shows that Larian Studios has put so much time and effort into every line. This is bolstered by phenomenal voice acting, where, once again, I didn’t run into a single line that felt off or misread. The consistency and quality of BG3 is frequently astounding.



I imagine that BG3 must have been an absolute nightmare to develop, and the amount of player freedom is unparalleled. Mass Effect, The Witcher, The Elder Scrolls; none of these titles can hold a candle to the freedom Larian Studios allows players in BG3. Kill anyone, steal anything, approach quests in almost any fashion. I finished off major bosses by sneaking up and pushing them off cliffs, used necromancy to interrogate dead quest-givers to complete missed questlines, and convinced villains to off-themselves; the freedom is astounding. What is equally impressive is the sheer quantity and quality of the content on offer. BG3 is easily a 100-hour experience, but every quest feels hand-crafted, and there are no “fetch 10 pelts for me” moments or grindy, repetitive side-content. The world of BG3 is comparably small to the sprawling open worlds of its contemporaries, with acts focused on individual zones that usually feature a few major locations. These zones are filled with rich stories and tons of depth, all killer; no filler is an applicable term here. Gone is the bloat that plagues so many of BG3’s contemporaries.


Elements interact; blood and water can conduct electricity, grease can spread fire, every object has tangible physics, and creativity is rewarded at every turn.

Combat offers even more freedom than the story, with every attack having weight and physical impact on the world. Elements interact; blood and water can conduct electricity, grease can spread fire, every object has tangible physics, and creativity is rewarded at every turn. D&D 5E’s ruleset is painstakingly recreated, and the game’s systems are a joy to engage with. It can be challenging to understand at first, but players will quickly get the hang of it, and a generous, quick save system allows for all the save-scumming you could ever want.

BG3 doesn’t just deliver on writing, voice acting, and combat. The music and visuals are of equal quality, and the world of Faerûn is a sight to behold. Textures hold up to scrutiny despite having the ability to zoom in and out at will, and the scope and quality of assets are impressive to behold. The soundtrack fits perfectly, with the game molding its main theme to fit different tones and scenarios. Every part of Larian Studios magnum opus shows the same level of care and creativity.

BG3 is a highwater mark for choice-driven RPGs and the new standard to which basically every other major RPG will be compared. I feel bad for Starfield at this point and for game developers in general. Larian Studios has set the bar incredibly high. Still, I hope other publishers will see it as an example to let developers have time and creative freedom to make incredible games without all the bloated live service and microtransaction bullshit. Also, you can play this game in four-player online co-op or even split-screen locally on a single PC, and in this day and age, that may be one of the most impressive features in BG3. If you love RPGs, you owe it to yourself to play this game.

Pros:

  • Deep, engaging, and reactive combat

  • Incredible writing

  • Fantastic Music

  • Wonderful Voice Acting

  • Great Characterization

  • Unparalleled Player Freedom

  • Beautiful Visuals

Cons:

  • Some minor technical issues

Score: 10/10

Reviewer played the game on PC Baldur’s Gate 3 is available now on Microsoft Windows and will be available on PlayStation 5, and macOS on September 6th.

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