Baldur’s Gate 3 Early Access Review
I’m going to level with you here, Divinity: Original Sin 2 is one of my favourite games of all time, so Baldur’s Gate 3 has a lot to live up to. The replayability and chaos of Divinity are what makes it such a fast favourite for me, and I’ve got over 300 hours in it as a result. I also don’t have much of a history with Baldur’s Gate. Despite recently starting to play D&D, I’ve got no nostalgia for it or the series, so Baldur’s Gate 3 is in a weird place for me.
Well, despite how weird the place may well be, I’m thrilled to say that Baldur’s Gate 3 is already pretty spectacular.
It’s very much an Early Access game though, and you can tell it’s not complete, but it’s not being sold as such, so I’ve no issue with that. There are some technical hiccoughs which can impede and occasionally sour your fun, but even in the short time I’ve been playing the game, and keep in mind that this is all before release, it’s been updated to iron the vast majority of those out. They’ve even made it somehow prettier, which is quite the feat given how good I thought it looked anyway.
Let’s kick this off by talking about the character creator. You’ve got an option of eight races, subraces within them, and six different classes. That’s not the final line up, more will be added as the game goes through development, but even with just these, it feels like you have countless different configurations to mess around with. On top of that, you can then choose different schools for the magic classes and then different spells from those schools. The physical classes have fewer options, but that changes as you level up.
The game opens with all manner of bad things happen and a tutorial. I don’t really want to talk about anything past the tutorial aside from saying that it’s excellent and I’m enjoying it a lot, so we’re going to talk about the gameplay within the tutorial itself.
After gaining control of your character, you have to navigate around a very creepy ship. Now, I thought things were creepy before I started hearing a brain calling out to me, so you can imagine my surprise when that exact thing happened. I decided to investigate said brain, and failed a perception check while, uh, talking to it. Thankfully, I passed a different check that allowed me to figure out what it was and even gain an ally from the whole thing, which is nice.
You then move around and end up in a fight against some imps. Now, this is meant as a way to explore the abilities your class and one of the companions have, plus the little one you’ve somehow convinced to help you, if you’ve managed to convince them to help you. That means it’s a great chance to check out the verticality of the game by shoving enemies around, or even try dipping your weapon in some fire to deal extra damage. It’s also a great chance to check out the throw ability. You see, you can throw things in your inventory if you want, but you can also throw things in the environment.
I found myself irked by an imp that had moved out of range of myself. With no ranged attack options with this character, I wanted to figure out a way to kill it without having to use another turn. I wasn’t worried about it killing me, not at all; I just like to be efficient. So, I wondered if I could yeet the dead imp at my feet at its friend across the way. It turned out that not only could I yeet that imp at my feet, but that it was effective enough to kill his friend.
At this point, you’ll probably have already started installing the game, but if not, let me assure you that the rest of the game has plenty of these moments.
If Divinity: Original Sin 2 was a science lab full of sticky liquids, explosions, and unending fires where careful consideration could lead to a brilliant breakthrough, then Baldur’s Gate 3 is a playground, where the only thing holding you back is your imagination.
I’m astounded by how much fun I’m having with a game that’s not even finished. I play a lot of Early Access games, so I’m not surprised to find one that works, but I just wasn’t expecting the level of interactivity that I found here. Baldur’s Gate 3 is already an incredibly entertaining experience, and although you might not want to play it until it’s complete, I defy anybody not to want to play it through multiple times when you can approach everything in so many different ways. I, for one, can’t wait to review the full version whenever that ends up coming out, and I’m expecting to give it a perfect score once it’s complete and the bugs have all been set on fire or charmed.