RPG genre is one of the most appreciated and criticized genres in the gaming industry depending upon how well the RPG aspects of the game play out in the whole adventure. If the aspects keep you engaged with the characters and the story, then you will have a good time of several hours but if the game doesn’t let you engage with the characters and immerse in the designed world, it would upset you completely.
In the case of Baldur’s Gate 3, the Larian Studios have done a splendid job of showing what the actual immersive RPG looks like in the modern era of gaming. Even though they took over 2 decades to create a sequel to Baldur’s Gate 2: Shadow of Amn. The amount of content, characters, and possibilities that have been added to stick with the storyline plays out so well in a tabletop design that it even beats the quality of third-person over-the-shoulder RPGs out there.
Story and Endings
The story plot of Baldur’s Gate 3 begins 140 years after the event of Baldur’s Gate 2 and is divided into two Acts. The game starts by letting players choose the protagonist from the seven pre-made characters or create a new one by selecting a Race and a Class that benefits accordingly in the playthrough.
As the first act begins, players will find the protagonist captive inside a Mind Flayer Nautiloid ship and implanted an Illithid tadpole, a parasite that transforms the host into a Mind Flayer. Fortunately, Githyanki monsters attack the ship before the transformation begins and the protagonist and another character get to fight their way out of the ship.
The protagonist reaches back to Faerun continuing to find a way to remove the Illithid tadpole from the body. As you progress in the main quest line and meet characters, the protagonist will meet Goblins. They worship an odd body called the Absolute which is believed to be the creator of Mind Flayer. Here, players will be able to find a character named Halsin who will help them remove the parasite which will lead to the ending of the first Act.
As players move to the second Act by selecting a respective choice at the end of the first Act, they will reach the Shadowcursed Land and learn that the Absolute is indeed an Elder Brain, creator of Mind Flayer. Players will have to complete the main quests of the second Act to get different Netherstones which will allow them to control the Elder Brain.
Upon reaching the ending plot of the story, players will get the two main choices leading to 2 different main endings. Players can either control the Elder Brain to remove its curse from the city to save everyone or they can control it to transform all the victims to make them their army. Although these are the two main endings of the game but there are 17,000 different ending variations that players can experience based on choices throughout the playthrough.
The gameplay of Baldur’s Gate 3 is designed in a classic Tabletop style which might not be everyone’s cup of tea but the RPG aspects of the game completely nullify its gameplay style for anyone who doesn’t like tabletop style. From the point where players get to create their characters from a plethora of options and designs, it can be observed that the character immersion in this game will be beyond anything ever seen.
Each Race and Class has its advantages and disadvantages that play out in the actual playthrough. It allows players to experience the same moment with different outcomes/variations for whichever Race/Class they have chosen. Not only that it vary in the actions but it also varies in the dialogue which increases more appreciation for the developers and the voice actors for all the voice lines that they would have to create and combine with all the possibilities.
There are several possibilities to complete the quests in the game due to various Races/Classes and their abilities. As an example, when players get the main quest to rescue Halsin from the Goblin Camp, it can be done in endless ways. If you are playing as a Drow then you can disguise yourself to get inside the camp easily whereas other Races can come up with unique ideas to sabotage the Goblins. You can give booze to the Goblins to make them pass out, put grease on the stairs to make them fall, control spiders to attack the Goblins, or even seduce the Priestess Goblin to get out if you get caught and thrown into the dungeon. This is only one quest where players can come up with anything they set their mind to and there are very rare chances that two different players might complete the quest in the same way.
One of the other great aspects of the game is the character writing. All the characters in Baldur’s Gate 3 are written fantastically and can have a dialogue sequence different every time you talk to them. The characters play their role perfectly and when it comes to strengthening your relationship with the characters, you can expect a series of events. I like that the characters don’t become repetitive even when you ask them the same thing over and over again and it certainly enhances your overall experience.
Many of the characters that you meet in your playthrough will either welcome you or even hate you at the start depending on the Race you are playing but all of it can be sorted if you manage to persuade them. Persuading the characters can unlock various paths for succession ahead but all of it depends on the roll check (dice). The roll check is not only for the characters but even for unlocking the locked chests through which you can get various useful items. Several properties can help you win the roll check one of which is Luck.
Moving on to the combat aspect of the game, it is smooth and responsive in every way even when you try to use an item from your inventory in a certain scenario. The combat in Baldur’s Gate 3 is turn-based where you and all the characters in your party will get to attack on the respective turn and each character can move up to 9 meters from the previous location.
You can only attack within the limit of 9 meters and if you have attacked an enemy while moving fewer meters, you will be able to move ahead after the attack. If you are low on HP, you can consume the Health Potion to regenerate a few hit points but it will count as your turn, the same goes for reviving any downed character in your party. However, the combat becomes more interesting while using the various items in the environment to tackle the enemies. During your playthrough, you will get to loot several fallen bodies, chests, etc. that will offer random weapons, health potions, and items. Utilizing the items in the environment can be crucial to success in the fight if you are undetected.
The online multiplayer and couch co-op experience of Baldur’s Gate 3 are both smooth and impressive. Playing it with friends certainly makes the adventure more fun as the immersion in the game increases extensively. The couch co-op starts the game on a split screen whereas, the online multiplayer lets the players play on the full screen.
Sound and Visuals
Baldur’s Gate 3 is a very complex game with an extensive storyline, ideas, and elements. Combining each aspect of the game in a soundscape that represents the game is a very difficult task but it has been crafted beautifully and it portrays all the aspects perfectly. Both the directing and designing of sound throughout the vast world of Faerun are done marvelously and when it comes to the soundtrack of the game, Borislav Slavov did an astonishing job. The Voice Acting for all of the characters in the game is brilliant and the brilliant work that the voice actors have to put in each of the characters can be heard throughout the playthrough.
The visuals and the animations of Baldur’s Gate 3 are also splendid and add a great touch while greeting the character as well as unraveling the story moments. Faerun is designed both beautifully and lively which can be heard and seen clearly.
Verdict – Score 10/10
Baldur’s Gate 3 is without a doubt the best game that came out in 2023 and the Game of the Year Award was completely deserving. It is because the amount of work that developers have put into it shows and inspires players to seek all the possibilities that are in it. The replayability factor in Baldur’s Gate 3 is certainly higher than any other games that I played throughout the year.
If you haven’t touched Baldur’s Gate 3 or looking for the best RPG experience then it is the best game that you should get your hands on. We highly recommend you try it and if you don’t like to play Solo then invite your friends and start the adventure right off the bat in Co-op experience.
Baldur’s Gate 3 is available on PlayStation 5, PC, XBOX Series X|S, and macOS.