Baldur’s Gate 3 Early Access Review

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Ever since video games made their permanent move from the arcades to our living rooms, the genre of Role-playing games has been a fixture of gaming culture. Of course, in recent years we have seen an influx of open-world RPG adventures that have redefined what the conventional RPG looks like in this modern era of gaming. However, back in the early days of gaming, with emphasis on the nineties, in particular, an RPG was very different indeed. These titles would often model themselves after the tabletop games of the time with Dungeons and Dragons usually acting as a blueprint.

While we’ve seen a decline in this method,  not all developers have given up hope for the turn-based, D&D style of RPG. We have seen wonderfully crafted games such as Dragon Age, Divinity, Pillars Of Eternity and Dragons Dogma keep the torch burning for this retro style of play. Thankfully, this trend looks to continue with Larian Studios aiming to galvanize this genre and bring the D&D culture back into the gaming sphere. They will aim to do this of course, through Baldur’s Gate 3 Early Access.

Baldur's Gate Early Access

Sink Or Swim

While many games of this nature start slow and gradually ramp up to a climax in the narrative, Baldur’s Gate 3 Early Access avoids this trope altogether. The game immediately drops you into the action with a story this involves otherworldly psychic squids, interdimensional travel, a plethora of mythical creatures and innumerable twists and turns right from the word go. It’s a refreshing approach to see, especially with Larian studios at the helm. Their own title Divinity 2: The Original Sin was particularly suspect of not pacing their story effectively. So this high octane start that keeps its momentum throughout is excellent to see.

Vaerûn Is Far From Vanilla

There is always a fear that when creating a world that is quite as vast and ambitious as Vaerûn that the place can seem rather bare. With so much space to fill, developers can often recycle assets, have large open spaces with no points of interest and try to lock the player in a more linear style of play, which of course, goes against the D&D playbook. Thankfully though, Larian Studios have absolutely knocked the ball out of the park with the visuals on show.

Baldur's Gate Early Access Character Creation

The character models are extremely detailed and diverse, the environments are choked full of interesting landmarks, high-resolution textures and stunning vistas that are only supported with incredible lighting and visual effects.

While Baldur’s Gate is still in early access, there are many areas which are locked away for now. But this only makes us more excited to explore them when the developers finish their work on these points of interest.

D&D Ideals Are Front and Centre

Baldur's Gate Early Access Map

It would have been very easy for Larian Studios to create an open-world RPG with a good number of quests, a handful of interesting characters and classes and call it a day. However, the ambition of these developers has to be celebrated here. The team have made this gameplay as close to a D&D campaign as they could manage with an emphasis on thinking outside the box to get things done. Do you want to kill a major character from the moment you meet them? Then have at it. Do you want to complete a quest through the most unlikely means possible? Roll for it. It’s a system that truly makes you feel like you’re in control of your own story. Sadly though, at this current moment in time, it isn’t without its problems.

Plenty Of Work to Do

The game may encourage the player to play with an added sense of freedom and creativity. However, when put into practice, the current game build can’t always facilitate this. On several occasions, you will likely outsmart the game’s code and leave yourself in a position where you are unable to progress with the story, ultimately leaving you frustrated and needing to start again. Then you’ll have instances where the game will not be aware of your actions and make reference to characters that you have killed earlier in your run.

On top of this, there are some really irritating bugs and glitches that will completely ruin the immersive experience that the game provides when functioning properly. The lip reading has not been animated for many stages of the game and the AI makes some real blunders. These aspects are much more forgivable but do make it hard to justify the $60 price tag that the game asks of the player.

baldurs gate 3 early access

In addition to this, the class system is rather underwhelming at this moment in time with only the most basic classes being available to choose from. Just picture some generic medieval classes and I’m sure you won’t go far wrong. You’ll have the choice of Cleric, Fighter, Wizard, Ranger, Rogue and Warlock. They all boast stats and abilities that are very predictable and we can only hope that the game will add many more diverse options to the game at a later date.

The Verdict

baldurs gate 3 early access review

Score: 6.5/10

At this moment in time, it is very hard to justify buying this game for $60 given all the faults in the armor. The game does have a great story so far, plenty of content to delve into, a great combat system and it looks great for the most part. However, it’s rather hard to look past the glaring problems with the AI, the rolling system and various other cosmetic issues. For a fan of the series that has been chomping at the bit to return to Vaerûn, this offering will probably be just enough to draw you in but for more casual players or those hoping that this game will be your entry into the D&D style gaming genre, we would suggest you hold on until the game is much more refined. It’s not quite ready yet, but Baldur’s Gate 3 Early Access certainly has promise.

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