I recently picked up the early access copy of Baldur’s Gate 3 and though this blog is a place where I want to discuss table top gaming and the hobby, I really feel this PC game has a place here. My reasoning for this is because unlike Larian Studio’s previous Divinity: Original Sin series, this feels less like an isometric video game and more like a table top game.
What do I mean by this? Well mechanically it seems the studio has tried to faithfully recreate the core mechanics of the table top game. Say for example you want to intimidate an NPC. You need to pass a skill check by rolling a D20 dice. Meet or exceed the target number and your attempt to intimidate will succeed. Bonuses are added depending on how skilled your character is and these bonuses increase as your character levels up. Hitting a target in combat also works via this same mechanic, as does any other number of skill tests. Baldur’s gate emulates this mechanic with on screen dice rolls and I’d say it does an excellent job, with each roll truly feeling like random chance. This can get a bit frustrating at times and in a few places I found it virtually impossible to pass simple dice rolls which should have been easy. On the flip side, I’ve also had stints in combat where the enemy, try as they might, just could not land a blow and constantly failed to beat my armour class. It’s a roller coaster of joy and frustration which any tabletop RPG player will be familiar with and though I wouldn’t want all my RPG video games to work in this way, it is the ONLY way I would want a D&D based video game to play. (With the natural 1’s and natural 20’s intact!)
Mechanics aside, the graphics are stunning and the world really does feel alive in that you are not tied to a path. In the tabletop pretty much anything can happen and although some restrictions must be in place as this is a video game, it seems that so far Larian have done an excellent job of giving the player options.
It’s not all sunshine and rainbows however. The game is very much in early access and there are a large number of bugs. I’ve had multiple animation issues, A.I. glitching and even a few crashes. Combine this with the fact the game can be incredibly punishing/ doesn’t always autosave and it can be a bit frustrating. To counter this, I would suggest anyone who is planning on joining the early access save at regular intervals. That way if the game does crash or something goes terribly wrong, you can reload and hopefully wont have lost too much progress. (I learnt this the hard way.)
I’m 6 hours into the game so far and feel like I haven’t even scratched the surface. This is definitely a game I will be looking to play again and again, with different characters and approaches to problems and despite the early access issues, I can see a very entertaining game underneath. If you have played D&D and are a fan, I’d recommend picking this up but be aware it is an unfinished product. That being said, well worth your attention.
Now if you excuse me, I have some goblins to hunt…