Baldur's Gate III
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Baldur's Gate 3 Review: A Nat 20

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Baldur's Gate 3 Review: A Nat 20

Baldur's Gate 3 has been in early access since 2020, with the game using feedback from early adopters to shape the way that the game evolved over the years. Now, the game is finally out in its complete form, featuring all three acts of content, hundreds of hours of gameplay, and an almost infinite level of replayability, but does it hold up to scrutiny at all? We take a deep look at it after a substantial amount of playtime to find out.

Baldur's Great 


Baldur's Gate 3 is absolutely incredible. The landscapes are incredibly diverse, meaning that you'll never get confused about where exactly you are, and every location sticks in your memory well past leaving them. You've got complex characters around every single corner, really fun gameplay that never gets old, and a world that evolves around you.

On the surface, Baldur's Gate 3 doesn't seem like it's too complicated. It's very much like every other CRPG that you've ever played. Click on where you want to go and you'll go there, choose an enemy and you'll attack them. Where the complexity ratchets up is that you're given a plethora of options on what exactly to do depending on your level, and everything you do is at the whim of the dice. Everything. Do you want to open a locked door? Roll the dice. Do you want to pet an animal without them becoming hostile? Roll the dice. Do you want to activate a weapon that's so big it could literally turn your party to dust? Roll the dice. While it can sometimes get annoying when you're consistently losing dice rolls, there's always the sense that this is fair. The game CAN manipulate rolls occasionally, but never to the extent that you feel like it's punishing you for something that you couldn't have avoided.

Every single companion is incredibly well-written and intricate, with more and more of their story being uncovered as you play through the game. A personal favorite is Karlach, a Tiefling who escaped from Hell. A lesser team would make her the grimdark companion, somebody who is world-weary and who is easily angered by anybody who is vaguely hostile. Except Larian Studios does something brilliant and gives her the exact same personality as a Golden Retriever, extremely loyal, extremely cute, and who wears her heart on her sleeve. This level of love for their characters resonates through every single writing decision, every single companion quest, and even every single minor character.

I could go on and on about the sheer quality of Baldur's Gate 3 for hours. It's well-written, it's got absolutely brilliant characters, and the story is both in-depth and branches a huge amount depending on the wide array of decisions that you can make throughout the game. It's going to be extremely tough for upcoming RPGs this year to even come close to this, and it's probably going to be remembered as one of the greatest RPGs of a generation. 

Baldur's Gate 3 Steam Deck Performance

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Almost all of our playtime, with the exception of a few hours spent in multiplayer split-screen, was on the Steam Deck version of Baldur's Gate 3, which worked quite well with a few exceptions.

The main issue with the Steam Deck version of the game is that textures aren't really as sharp as they could be, due to the absence of certain tools such as FSR 2.0 (which Larian Studios has promised will be added into the game close to the release of the console version of the game on September 6). It doesn't hurt as much as it could, especially considering that the game runs at a rather consistent frame rate on medium settings, but it can get annoying at times. 

There's also the issue of loading times, which are noticeably worse than the PC version of the game. Luckily though these loading times are fairly few and far between, and will only become a major annoyance if you're constantly reloading a save.

Other than these, Baldur's Gate 3 runs pretty much perfectly on the deck. The controller support for the title turns it into a Mass Effect-esque third-person game during sections that you're not in combat, and once you're in combat it switches to turn-based. It's a frankly ingenious way of solving the problem presented by consoles, in that they can't exactly emulate the point-and-click nature of a PC CRPG.

Not As Flawless As It Could Be


Now, we move on to the negatives. They're not quite as numerous as they could have been, not by a long shot, but there are a couple of things worth mentioning. The first is that the game is extremely polished in the first act, which you'd expect given that it was in early access for a solid three years, but everything after that is noticeably less so. During my hours in the latter 2/3rds of the game, I noticed a lot of issues, both texture-based and bug-based. There's nothing game-breaking, and nothing that will severely damage your experience with the game, likely requiring just a reload of your most recent save to fix it, but it can get annoying when it happens multiple times over the course of eighty hours. 

The second issue is something that isn't unique to Baldur's Gate 3 and is prevalent across Dungeons & Dragons media, and it's the fantastical racism of the setting. If you've ever played Dungeons & Dragons or even tried the book that comes with the Dungeons & Dragons Starter Kit, Lost Mine of Phandelver, you'll probably have come across it with the way that Goblins are portrayed, but that's barely scratching the surface of the messed-up portrayals that Gary Gygax decided to put into the game. Baldur's Gate 3 falls into this trapping, with Act 1 presenting Goblin as an inherently evil species with no redeeming factors, and it continues to do this throughout the game with several other species. It's more of a fault of the source material than it is a fault with the game, and they do attempt to rectify this with certain revelations in later parts of the game, but even with that, something feels wrong about it all. 

Final Verdict

Baldur's Gate 3 is truly a game that only happens once every ten years. It's the culmination of years of early access and passion from Larian Studios, a deep love for the source material, and the desire to create something that speaks to as many people as possible. With an absurd amount of replay value and dozens of possibilities for where your character will end up, this is easily on the shortlist for Game Of The Year 2023, and an argument could already be made that this is one of the greatest games of all time. 

Score: 5/5

Reviewed on PC.

A review copy of Baldur's Gate 3 was provided by Larian Studios.