For many PC gamers, the full release of Baldur’s Gate 3 will likely be the most significant game launch of 2023 – forget Starfield, forget Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom.
The game is developed by Larian Studios, who was previously responsible for what is considered one of the greatest PC role-playing games of all time, Divinity: Original Sin 2. Baldur’s Gate 3 continues the beloved Dungeons & Dragons video game series whose last entry was released 23 years prior, and which was previously developed by Bioware (Dragon Age, Mass Effect).
Like Divinity, Baldur’s Gate 3 promises countless possible solutions to all of its encounters and challenges, which can be flexible and surprising – almost as if you were playing an in-person Dungeons & Dragons campaign. It reportedly has over 17,000 possible endings, due to the sheer number of player-driven choices, and is a game that will supposedly take close to a hundred to complete just once – and several more to see everything the game has to offer on roads not taken.
At the time of writing, the full version of Baldur’s Gate 3 has only just been made available after a small portion of it was available in Steam Early Access for a number of years, but the game is seeing close to half a million people playing it according to SteamDB.
But what about the critical consensus from games media outlets?
Games publications and critics were only provided access to the game only days before its full release, and given its absolutely enormous scope, few outlets have published definitive assessments of the game. Most have opted for ‘review-in-progress’ impressions, which is common practice that makes sense for this title. But that hasn’t stopped some outlets from making definitive conclusions about the game.
GamesHub’s full review of Baldur’s Gate 3 can be expected in the following weeks, when we’ve had ample time to reasonably assess the full breadth of the title.
But here’s an early wrapup of some of the scores Baldur’s Gate 3 has been given so far.
We Got This Covered – 4.5 Stars
Writing for We Got This Covered, Ash Martinez remarked that ‘you don’t need a wisdom check to know that ‘Baldur’s Gate III’ is a formidable front runner for game of the year.’ The review largely remarks on the beginning of the game and makes cursory assessments on its core systems, praising its cinematics and its ‘classic’ Dungeons & Dragons premise, describing its character creation, dice rolling skill-check mechanic, and turn-based combat.
Martinez also spends a portion of their review on technical issues, noting that they are ‘wide-ranging,’ with drops in framerate, one instance of a crash, and buggy non-player characters.
‘If you love turn-based games, this one is for you,’ Martinez concludes. ‘If you love fantasy, it’s for you. If you are even remotely curious about either of these genres, Baldur’s Gate III is for you. Hell, even if you aren’t interested in those things, do yourself a favor and pick it up. It’ll be worth it just to see a masterpiece in action.’
ZTGD – 9.5/10
Terrance Johnston was upfront about his 45 hours of playtime in his review for ZTGD, which he says was only enough time to see his party at level 3. Still, he seemed enamoured by the stories his troupe had managed to find themselves embroiled in. ‘BG3 has a central narrative which has been amazing from what I have experienced thus far,’ he said.
Like Martinez, Johnston also made mention of technical issues, including some problems he had with the game’s camera and controls during combat scenarios, but ‘in a game this massive there are some blemishes to be expected,’ he reasoned.
‘The freedom that players will have in Baldur’s Gate 3 is something that doesn’t come along very often,’ he said, and remarked that ‘I adore this world and everything the team has created here.’ He concludes by saying ‘I can’t help but compare it to a great session of Dungeons and Dragons with your friends, it’s something that when done correctly will stay with you long after you have finished a play session.’
TechRadar Gaming – 5 Stars
Jake Tucker, Editor in Chief for TechRadar Gaming (TRG), began by gushing about the dog that you meet in the early hours of Baldur’s Gate 3, leading him to praise Larian’s rich characters and strong stories.
While he takes issues with some of the mechanics that have been adopted a little too faithfully from Dungeons & Dragons – specifically, the Spell Slot system that only lets you use a selection of spells once per day – but ultimately praises the way Baldur’s Gate 3 replicates the flexibility of the tabletop role-play experience.
At the end of his review, Tucker admits that ‘I I won’t pretend to have finished the game’, having only played it for a total of 50 hours over a few days. But he concludes ‘I’m happy enough with what I’ve played to score it and recommend it thoroughly.’
‘If it turns out that Baldur’s Gate 3’s final twist is that it ends as a kart racer, with you driving through the streets of the titular city itself like a modern-day Carmaggedon, then I’m sorry I’ve steered you wrong. Otherwise, for most players, this is one of the best RPGs ever made, and I stand by the score it’s received.’