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There’s a remarkable type of moment found in games like Dungeons and Dragons that players love. It’s when you and your group get up to the most ridiculous hijinks, we’re talking absolutely full-force manic energy where you know you’re pushing the boundaries, and it pays off. Maybe that means a big bad guy fell for your flirtatious charms, or you managed to win a fight based on a pure technicality allowed by your DM: those moments where you push the limits of a game and your creativity is rewarded.
Larian Studios’ Baldur’s Gate 3 allows you to do just this, and so much more. It’s a game that not only welcomes you to test its limits, but it challenges you to see just what you can get away with. There are various outcomes for each questline, you can create long-lasting influences on your companions, and the choices you make will forever alter your game.
Baldur’s Gate 3 is, in my opinion, a new breed of RPG. Heavily inspired by the tabletop mechanics of D&D and its unique worldbuilding, it carefully trails the beloved genre of high fantasy video games while keeping true to all the best parts. It is a sandbox RPG that became viral online for its character creation choices. It’s absurd, it doesn’t take itself too seriously, and it allows you to forge your own story without completely railroading you into choices. And somehow, it made me actually enjoy turn-based combat.
You have the option to forge an adventurer group consisting of a range of companions, the main ones including Gale (Tim Downie), Astarion, (Neil Newbon), Karlach (Samantha Béart), Lae’Zel (Devora Wilde), Wyll (Theo Solomon), and Shadowheart (Jennifer English). These companions have unique dynamics with one another, are each romanceable (be careful – they can get jealous!), and have vital backstories that unravel over each act of the game. You can aid them on their personal journeys, playing a role in their growth depending on your decisions.
You and your companions face a dire mission that unites you all, and Baldur’s Gate 3’s vast branching plot can take you in multiple directions depending on where you roam. The overarching tale can be somewhat altered depending on your playstyle, but the main story is that you’re an adventurer traveling throughout Faerûn to cure yourself of a unique ailment you share with your companions and many others. And this affliction could pose a very serious and intentional threat that you are concerned with.
Set out over three generally defined acts, Baldur’s Gate 3 is a big ol’ twisting story with various side quests and outcomes. In fact, it’s so big that the studio head of Strange Scaffold, Xalavier Nelson Jr., tweeted, “Like a lot of people, I’m deeply excited about what the lovely folks at Larian accomplished with Baldur’s Gate 3.” He then went on to tweet, “This is not a new baseline for RPGs – this is an anomaly.” And in its sheer size and length, it definitely is. You can stumble across interesting side quests that tell their own eccentric mini-stories and become completely sidetracked in an instant. And by the end of your gaming session, you haven’t even progressed the main story!
With expectations often set high by players to make choice-based games that truly let you form and reshape storylines, it can be difficult for developers to create games that are so easily altered by player decisions. As such, players often feel they have the ‘illusion of choice’ rather than actual choices. But Baldur’s Gate 3 is refreshing in that you truly have to think about your decisions while playing because you know they can come back to haunt you in obscure and roundabout ways. Your choices really matter.
Baldur’s Gate 3 is also a game that is praised for welcoming a diverse range of players. No matter your sexual orientation, gender identity, or ethnicity, you’ll find customisation options and gameplay that suit you. And your choices are respected throughout the game, becoming part of comprehensive customisation choices which reflect modern-day players. This game embraces and welcomes all sorts of players, which only further fuels its rightful popularity because seeing yourself portrayed in games matters.
So if you’ve been eyeing the Baldur’s Gate 3 hype and wondering if you should play, I encourage you to jump in and immerse yourself in all the chaotic fun that this game offers. You’ll find a teeming community that shares every inch of your excitement.
Available on PS5, PC, GeForce Now, and in development for Xbox, you can join the adventure now!