Baldur’s Gate 3

Baldur’s Gate is officially back – and it's back with a bang. The BioWare classic returns this month for a third instalment and is already available on Steam. In fact, an early version of the game, released last week, had over 70,000 concurrent users on release day.

Based loosely on the board game Dungeons and Dragons, Baldur’s Gate has, for the past few decades, expertly brought the D&D magic to the virtual realm. The original PC version was released in 1998 and has been something of a cult hit ever since. Developed by Bioware and published by Interplay Entertainment, its appeal has endured right into the modern-day, facilitating the need for a fresh, new instalment.

The game may only be available on early access currently, but that hasn’t stopped several fans and critics alike from already posting their feedback. The feedback, thus far at least, has largely been positive. Edwin Evans-Thirlwell, the Eurogamer reviewer, claimed that Baldur’s Gate 3 is as “vibrant, engrossing and starling as you’d expect from the minds behind Divinity: Original Sin 2”. Larian have taken the reins from Bioware for the newest iteration, a tricky task indeed, given the fondness that fans have for the original.

The biggest challenge of all for Larian was treading the balance between paying homage to the original Baldur’s Gate - and putting their unique spin on it. But with quests and turn-based clashes that reward thinking outside the box, they may just have pulled it off. The game gives the impression of wanting to leave an imprint on the user from the outset – evidenced best by the opening scene, in which your character becomes a squid-faced mind flayer.

It doesn’t get any less surreal from there - but then again, nor should it. Small additional features from D&D have also made it into Larian’s digital world, including the ability to shove people, sometimes into the abyss. The vast sandbox world that has been created is exactly what you’d want from a game of this nature, giving players ample opportunities to experiment within the relatively wide parameters.

In addition to being able to shove characters, you can now also throw objects, stealthily slink around, make superhuman leaps and ignite your weapon as if it were a torch. Once again, the new features give players far more utility and ways to approach the game than in previous renditions. You can also check out Unibet Casino for other online gaming options.

The rules and systems are generally derived from D&D, but the presentation is a lot closer to that of modern cinematic RPGs. Baldur's Gate 3 is best optimised as an isometric RPG, but it benefits greatly from close-up cinematic dialogue and engaging cutscenes. The mo-cap animations and detailed character models make the game's denizens more expressive and charismatic, which only adds to its overall emersion.

In terms of how it directly compares to previous editions of Baldur’s Gate, it will simply come down to individual preference. Larian is very much going its own way, crafting a new game for a new generation of players. While this fresh approach and modern spin on a cult classic may not be to the suiting of everybody, the game is, at the very least, well put together and well thought out. With generally positive reviews and a high number of first day players - Larian can surely reflect on a successful first week.

Tweaks and changes will inevitably come, which will only refine what is already an excellently assembled game. When it comes to resurrecting a much-beloved series, the pressure and expectation is always going to be immense from the moment it is announced. And yet, aside from the odd bit of shaky tech, Baldur Gate 3 appears to have passed its first litmus test with flying colours.

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Last Updated: Nov 25, 2020