Baldur's Gate III Review

Dan Webb

There are some games that can place a developer firmly in the elite bracket, especially when it comes to RPGs. The Witcher 3 did it for CD Projekt RED, Mass Effect 2 did it for BioWare, and Skyrim did it for Bethesda. That's not to say the games each studio created prior to these explosive take-off points weren't excellent - they were - but the aforementioned titles set a new standard in the field.

Baldur's Gate 3, then, for Larian Studios, is exactly that. Having obviously learned more than a few lessons from the impressive Divinity: Original Sin 2, Baldur’s Gate 3 is the next evolution for this clearly talented developer.

First things first, if you've not played the first two - which is understandable considering when they actually released - you won't feel lost. If you have played them, there are some nice Easter eggs to discover during your journey.

Baldur's Gate 3 sees you step into the wonderful world of Faerun, a picturesque continent with the hustling-bustling city of Baldur's Gate at its beating heart. This land of goblins, gods and a whole host of nasty beasts is under threat by a mind flayer scheme, that will see you and a band of wildly unique adventurers come together to save civilisation. You know, standard fantasy-RPG fare. I say standard, yet Baldur’s Gate 3 is anything but.

As was the case with the original, Baldur's Gate 3 is a turn-based CRPG (with the C standing for classic), but it's so much more than that. Anyone who's played Larian's Divinity: Original Sin 2 will know exactly what to expect, but the truth is that its latest endeavour in taking on the popular Dungeons & Dragons 5E is above and beyond its previous efforts.

Gameplay-wise, Baldur’s Gate 3 is horses for courses when it comes to CRPGs and the 5E movement. It’s all about core stats, classes, party composition, support roles, tactics, and a lot of D20 dice rolling. What makes Baldur’s Gate 3 so special, however, is its rich world full of fantastic characters, insane possibilities, and a dazzling wealth of content - it’ll simply blow you away. 

Every quest, every person, every object, every conversation in the world feels deliberate. It feels like it serves a purpose, and I’m not sure I’ve ever experienced that in a large open-world RPG. And when you start to get into the mindset, you’ll be talking to animals and corpses in no time, and really getting a feel for the land.

The entirety of Baldur’s Gate 3 feels handcrafted and chock-full of a million possibilities, and because of the classic D&D dice rolling mechanics, you never know what you're going to get. We're not just talking about their outcomes, either, but how you approach them leaves everything up to the imagination. The truth is, if you can think about doing it, you can probably do it, and our 150+ hours with the game astounded us from start to finish. It’s truly a magical experience.

Around every corner of Baldur’s Gate 3 there's a story to be told and something that will truly shock you. Our most memorable example of this was when we turned the tables on a genie who was trying to hustle us at a circus game. When he wasn’t looking, we popped on a cloak of invisibility and pickpocketed his lucky ring, which he was using to rig the game. After we won, he clearly was on to us, and to punish us for our deceit, we got teleported to a far off land full of dinosaurs (and a legendary weapon for our troubles). This isn't part of the story. It's not even a mission. It's just something to interact with in the open-world - and we suspect most people would have just walked on by after this encounter, without conniving to get the best of him.

That’s the beauty of Larian’s latest CRPG. There’s no filler here. There are no fetch quests. Everything has its place and a tale to tell, no matter how small. Like saving an Owlbear cub numerous times. And each quest or side-story can have further implications down the road, and these vastly vary, depending on how you interact with the world. The fact of the matter is, that from an actual content perspective, I’d argue that Baldur’s Gate 3 is nigh on flawless. Sure, there’s a few quests that can test your mettle - especially the timed ones and stealth ones - but the satisfaction you get from successfully completing them is unrivalled.

While Baldur's Gate 3 is as close to perfect as you get from an actual D&D video game experience, it nonetheless has its foibles. Mostly bugs - which often required loading up previous games to fix them. These range from quests bugging out if you didn't do them in a particular order and items going missing from your inventory, to some dodgy texture pop-in and some wonky AI pathfinding. While they don't ruin the experience at all, they do take the shine off what is perhaps one of the best games I've played in the last seventeen years. Credit where credit is due though, as I did have criticisms regarding Divinity: Original Sin 2’s balance in terms of difficulty - Baldur’s Gate 3 doesn’t have any such issues, thanks in part to the sheer size and amount of content on offer. If you’re struggling, just go away and come back later.

There’s no doubt in my mind, though, that Baldur’s Gate 3 is anything but the best game of this generation, and perhaps not just the last ten years, but of all-time. It’s that good. The sheer amount of handcrafted, unique content on offer is a staggering achievement on its own, and it truly makes you feel like you’re playing your own custom-crafted D&D game. With a fantastic story, only made better by a wonderful cast of characters and phenomenal soundtrack; genuinely memorable side and main quests, it’s as close to perfect a CRPG that you’ll ever play. How you play it is entirely up to you, but I can guarantee you, whichever way you play it, it’ll stay with you for a long time. You really need to experience it, even if CRPGs aren’t your thing.

Baldur's Gate III

Baldur's Gate 3 is an open-world RPG like no other. The insane depth, originality and ingenuity on offer truly sets a new standard for not just RPGs, but video games in general. A few bugs aside, it's as close to perfection as we've seen in quite some time. Baldur’s Gate 3 is a truly outstanding video game.

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Simply outstanding. From the fantastic voice acting to Borislav Slavov’s original composition. It's faultless in this regard. It really is.


Because of how close you can pull the camera into the action, Baldur's Gate 3 has the detail you'd expect from a third-person RPG, not an isometric CRPG. It's pretty wonderful in truth.


There's still a few quirks in combat when it comes to movement and camera that were present in Divinity: Original Sin 2. However, they're more niggles than massive complaints in what is otherwise a wonderful experience.


The biggest compliment I can pay Baldur's Gate 3 is that I'd be hard pressed to point out any filler content. Everything has a purpose. Everything feels handcrafted, and I don't think I've ever experienced anything on this scale in an open-world RPG.


The trophies are easily the worst bit. They're not bad, but if you go in blindly, you'll miss a lot of them... and you absolutely should go in blind. You're looking at multiple lengthy playthroughs too, which isn't awful as it's a fantastic game, but it's not ideal. Good luck with the permadeath, one-save Honour mode, too! Ouch!

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