Star Rating:

Baldur's Gate 3

Platforms: PC, Xbox Series XS, PS5

Release Date: Wednesday 6th September 2023

Whether you’re a 'Dungeons and Dragons' fan or not, you’ll still likely be a 'Baldur's Gate 3' fan. While the game may not suit 'FIFA' fanatics or 'Call of Duty' try-hards, anyone who likes RPGs is bound to like 'Baldur's Gate 3'. 

First of all, the game simply works and runs excellently. We haven’t experienced any crashes, frame drops, bugs or glitches in over 100 hours of play. While some users online have reported some issues, compared to most other AAA releases of recent years, this is basically perfect. 

If you’re not familiar with D&D, though, you might find it a little bit intimidating at first. Even the character creation is incredibly deep. There are 11 races to choose from, such as elf, human, tiefling, and dragonborn, and each has unique characteristics and advantages over the others. For example, Dragonborn are resistant to elements such as fire or lightning, and Drow can see in the dark. Once you’ve picked your race, you choose your class. These are fairly standard like barbarian, sorcerer, rogue and cleric, and offer a huge variety of ways to play through the game. 

You also get to customize your character's appearance, of course. With all of the different options available as well as researching the classes, races and subraces, you might find your first hour in the game was spent on the character creation screen. It’s worth taking your time here because you’ll be spending an awful lot of time looking at your character. 

Once you actually start the game, you’ll find a beautifully realised world full of interesting characters and quests, each with multiple different ways to approach them. And you’re not necessarily one of the good guys either, in true D&D style you can choose exactly how you want to play and who you want to side with, including no one. Feel like the goblins are better craic than the boring druids and refugees? Why not take part in a massacre! Or if that’s not your style, you can trick the goblins into thinking you’re on their side while quietly taking them down from the inside. 

The combat is enjoyable but a little slow due to being turn-based. Inventory management can be a bit annoying but the “send to camp” can be used as a quick and easy way to drop some weight and get moving again.

Every conversation, every action, and every choice is totally down to you. That, above all else, is really what makes this game stand out. This game, more than any other, truly feels like you’re playing your own way through the story, and allowing you to quick save at basically any time also serves to promote experimentation. If you make a dialogue choice but don’t like the result, you can simply load and try something else. If you get ambushed you can load again and be better prepared for it. While “save-scumming” as it’s called is looked down on by some other players, at the end of the day it’s mostly going to be played as a single-player game, and it's your choice whether it's something you want to do or not. In fact, for newer players in particular it makes the game a lot more accessible than it would be otherwise. 

It can be a bit overwhelming at times, but 'Baldur's Gate 3' is looking very good as a game of the year contender. For another game to take the title it would have to be seriously spectacular.