Baldur’s Gate 3 is a story-driven role-playing video game developed by Larian Studios and published by Wizards of the Coast. Set in the lush and vibrant world of the Forgotten Realms, it continues the iconic Baldur’s Gate series which has captivated gamers since 1998.
As an RPG, players create their own customized character and embark on an epic journey filled with mystery, intrigue and adventure. Gameplay involves exploring cities, forests and dungeons, interacting with colorful NPCs, and participating in challenging turn-based combat against foul beasts and sinister villains.
Available on PC and Mac, Baldur’s Gate 3 utilizes cutting-edge technology to bring the Forgotten Realms to life like never before. Stunning visuals, reactive environments and advanced AI systems give players an incredible degree of freedom to adventure their way.
Why is Baldur’s Gate 3 so popular?
Hailed as one of the most anticipated RPGs of the decade, Baldur’s Gate 3 has already garnered significant critical acclaim during its early access period. The game has won numerous awards, including Best RPG at Gamescom 2020 and the Game Critics Best of Show Award.
Fans of classic RPGs, especially those who played the original BG games, have been longing for a proper sequel for over 20 years. Baldur’s Gate 3 expertly captures the tone, atmosphere and game mechanics that made the series so revolutionary. It advances the genre with improved graphics and deeper systems while retaining the franchise’s soul.
For Dungeons & Dragons fans, Baldur’s Gate 3 is a dream come true. It implements the beloved 5th Edition ruleset flawlessly, giving players an authentic tabletop experience. The game’s writing, quests, characters and locations ooze D&D lore. Leading the adventure is the legendary game master himself, Dungeon Master Matthew Mercer.
With its pedigree, awards, loyal fan base and overall quality, it’s no surprise Baldur’s Gate 3 has already become a monumental success. This is the Dungeons & Dragons video game RPG fans have always wanted. The adventure has just begun.
Story and Setting
The Siege of Baldur’s Gate
The central conflict in Baldur’s Gate 3 revolves around a horrific attack on the famous city of Baldur’s Gate by the ruthless Mind Flayers. These parasitic psionic creatures have masterminded a full-scale invasion of the Sword Coast with the goal of subjugating all lifeforms and consuming their brains to expand their illithid empire.
During an event called The Descent, alien pods rain from the sky bearing grotesque mind flayer creatures and their terrifying war machines. Amidst the chaos, players take control of a hero who was captured and experimented upon by the Mind Flayers onboard one of their powerful nautiloid ships.
After a daring escape, the hero finds themself stranded in the wilderness outside of Baldur’s Gate with no equipment or allies. They make their way to the refugee camp and volunteer to investigate why the city has gone dark. Thus begins the player’s epic journey to save Baldur’s Gate and uncover the sinister machinations of the mind flayers.
Exploring the Forgotten Realms
Baldur’s Gate 3 transports players into the beloved fantasy land of Faerûn in the Forgotten Realms campaign setting. This vast, magical world features a diverse range of landscapes and environments to explore and immerse oneself in. Players can venture into cosmopolitan cities like Baldur’s Gate, trek through thick forests and primeval ruins, delve into perilous underground dungeons, and much more.
Throughout their travels, the hero will visit incredibly detailed locals etched with lore from D&D’s rich history. The famous city of Baldur’s Gate feels vibrantly alive thanks to immersive environments showcasing gothic architecture and reactive NPCs bustling about their daily lives. Venturing outside the city walls reveals the stunning natural beauty of the Sword Coast with sun-dappled forests, quaint rural hamlets, crumbling ruins and tranquil beaches ripe for adventure.
As an open-world RPG, Baldur’s Gate 3 empowers players with the freedom to explore Faerûn however they desire. The world features a living ecosystem with dynamically generated content meaning no two playthroughs will ever be the same. There are mysteries to uncover off the beaten path for inquisitive adventurers straying from primary quest lines. The Forgotten Realms has never felt more expansive and full of possibility thanks to Larian’s advanced environmental design and game systems.
Create Your Hero
Baldur’s Gate 3 features an incredibly deep character creation system that allows players to make truly unique protagonists. After selecting one of the available races and classes, you’ll customize your hero’s backstory, abilities, appearance and more to roleplay precisely the type of character you wish to become.
Races in BG3 include popular D&D staples like Humans, Elves, Dwarfs and Halflings alongside exotic options like drow, githzerai and tieflings. Each race comes with intrinsic bonuses and special racial traits that make them suitable for particular builds and playstyles. For example, high elves excel at magic while stout halflings are lucky and dexterous.
There is no shortage of classes to live out your ultimate hero fantasy. Traditional warriors like fighters and rangers make for stalwart protectors. Rogues and rangers thrive on cunning, speed and precision. Spellcasters like clerics, warlocks and wizards wield reality-bending arcane forces. And more obscure options like druids and monks offer uniquely rewarding playstyles to master.
Your background represents your character’s origins and grants additional bonuses. For example, a charlatan background makes you manipulative while an acolyte background gives you religious knowledge. There are eight backgrounds to choose from covering various themes and vocations.
Allocating ability scores, selecting skills and feats, attuning player traits – every decision helps realize a truly distinct adventurer with strengths, flaws and personality. Customization offers near endless outcomes so no two heroes feel the same. And your choices meaningfully impact quest lines, NPC interactions, playable scenes and available tactics.
Tactical Turn-Based Combat
Combat in Baldur’s Gate 3 unfolds through turn-based tactical battles fought on isometric grids. Victories go to players who effectively outmaneuver opponents, exploit environmental advantages and coordinate teammates wisely. With such an emphasis on positioning and foresight, BG3’s combat provides engaging, provocative challenges.
Many factors determine success in battle. Carefully surveying environments allows you to identify terrain features providing defensive bonuses or environmental weaponry to utilize. Barrels can be exploded, fires ignited into walls of flame, icy surfaces turned slippery. Mastering spells like Grease, Fog Cloud and Entangle that alter battlefield conditions can turn the tide against formidable foes.
Sheer stats and weapon choice also impact strategy. Melee combatants must close distance safely to bring their swords and axes to bear as casters unleash destructive magics from afar. Choices of whether to focus fire vulnerable targets, crowd control deadly adversaries or shield injured allies present meaningful decisions with weighty consequences if mishandled.
Proper team coordination spells victory. Battle quickly grows chaotic so appointing a frontline tank, damage dealing striker, crowd controlling mage and healing support creates harmony. When melee fighters lock down enemies in place, deadly archers and spellcasters safely bomb them from max range. But enemies utilize coordinated tactics as well, flanking overextended heroes and targeting fragile sorcerers adeptly. Only by working together can triumphs be seized.
Companions and Party Building
Early into Baldur’s Gate 3, players meet several potential companions who can join their adventure if befriended. These colorful followers have their own motivations, quests and personalities. Recruiting allies not only aids you adventurously, but uncovering their stories fosters rewarding emotional connections. However, recruiting every companion quickly proves impossible due to conflicting interests within the group. This forces players to carefully choose comrades sharing compatibility or similar goals on their journey.
For example, the vampire spawn Astarion yearns for infamy and carnage while the pious cleric Shadowheart wishes to protect the innocent. Bringing them together risks constant infighting endangering the entire party. Or say you build rapport with Wyll, hero to the downtrodden, yet repeatedly make selfish decisions harming common folk. Eventually he may abandon your quest out of ideological differences. Interparty dynamics add richness through tension, harmony, romance or betrayal depending on the bonds forged.
Mechanically, effective party building ensures the team counters anticipated threats and tackles challenges from all angles. A frontline of durable fighters and paladins defends squishier damage-dealing rangers and rogues who pick off enemies safely from behind. Magic users like clerics and wizards provide sustained healing and destructive spells best cast from range. Overall balance and versatility is key to overcoming the myriad dangers of Faerûn. Assigning player roles, strengthening compatibilities and covering individual weaknesses – that is the key to constructing a legendary fellowship destined to save Baldur’s Gate.
Choices and Consequences
A Branching Narrative
Baldur’s Gate 3 empowers players with an incredible amount of agency throughout its 30+ hour main campaign and 100+ hours of side content. Choices both big and small ripple outwards, impacting the state of the world and diverging the narrative down radically different paths across multiple playthroughs. Saving a burning village wins you admirers just as easily as razing it brands you a villain, altering story beats and playable content accordingly.
Virtually every quest features multiple solutions depending on whether you prefer diplomatic persona, bloodthirsty warmonger or virtuous hero. The fate of critical characters lives or dies based on your decisions. Peace treaties can be brokered between warring factions – or manipulated to further inflame conflict for your benefit. Players control the direction of their adventure thanks to a reactive world and far reaching consequences.
The game features different endings based on core choices regarding allies, romantic options and major factions. Will you pursue redemption or vengeance against those who wronged you? Do you protect the innocent or exploit the weak to further your own power? Does your moral code allow sacrificing comrades if it achieved the greater good? Wrestling with dilemmas like these results in personalized, bespoke endings chronicling the legacy your hero leaves upon Faerûn.
Outside critical main and companion quests lies engaging side content expanding lore and rewarding exploration. Foiling an assassination attempt backstage at Baldur’s Gate’s theater opens unique romance opportunities. Braving a vampire den reveals the fate of lost adventurers. Investigating fairy ring mushrooms in the forest transports you to a reality bending realm. For those straying from the beaten path, surprises await off the radar.
Dialogue plays a central role throughout Baldur’s Gate 3 not just for advancing quests but allowing players to deeply roleplay their protagonist. Conversations with NPCs unlock backstories, side missions and relationships while expanding freedom to behave heroically, villainously or anywhere between. Will you befriend ragtag refugees or extort them for money? Can a silver tongue convince enemies to become allies? Do your inquisitive questions pierce through secrets and lies?
Personality traits, abilities, reputation and even appearance unlock new conversation options illuminating deeper layers of the narrative. An intimidating barbarian elicits different responses than an eloquent sorcerer or streetwise rogue. Persuasion, deception, intimidation – your hero approaches diplomacy however you envision them. And Larian’s advanced dialogue UI clearly displays chances for success or failure for more informed roleplaying.
Baldur’s Gate 3’s emphasis on player freedom permeates nearly all interactions. While outcomes vary based upon myriad factors, the choice ultimately rests in your hands. Compassion and idealism try understanding rioting citizens’ plight. Pragmatists bypass obstacles through bribery or seduction. And cynics manipulate disputes to their selfish advantage. Achieving goals in Baldur’s Gate relies not upon one panacea, but the multifaceted approaches you personally approve. In dialogue, exploration and combat alike, player agency reigns supreme.
Visuals and Sound Design
Stunning Scenery and Environments
Baldur’s Gate 3 sets a new visual benchmark for the genre with its meticulously detailed settings and spellbinding art direction. Larian leverages advanced graphics technology like photogrammetry and raytracing to construct staggeringly beautiful, realistic environments rife with intrigue and secrets. Overhead cities bustle with hundreds of individually scheduled NPCs as shafts of light pierce Gothic architecture. Ancient ruins emit mist seeping through vines and gnarled roots blanketed by thriving fauna. Each locale feels like a living snapshot into the vibrant, magical realm of Faerûn.
From the maritime grandeur of Baldur’s Gate to pastoral farmlands along the Sword Coast; mystifying realms in the Underdark to otherworldly pocket dimensions – locales are universally brought to wondrous life. Intricate radical props like bubbling alembics, musty drapes and debris-strewn armories add authenticity. Volumetric lighting casts moody godrays or luminous pools cascading through thatched tavern rafters. Detailed weather systems like crackling thunderstorms or blizzards transform exteriors visually and mechanically with slippery surfaces or impaired visibility. Such painstaking environmental craftmanship makes Faerûn’s beauty into a captivating protagonist unto itself.
And beauty often hides sinister threats. Shadows drape decrepit temples concealing undead horrors. Tranquil forests shelter bloodthirsty were-creatures. What first appears safe frequently becomes something far more interesting for players to unravel. Through environmental storytelling, scenery contextualizes quests with visual flair. When design and narrative intertwine so expertly, locales evolve beyond rendered backdrops into characters sharing revelations central to your journey. For explorers keen on reading environments like living histories, adventures manifest unprompted simply wandering Faerûn’s picturesque countryside or decrepit crypts and detecting tales untold.
Immersive Soundtrack and Sound Effects
Baldur’s Gate 3’s ambient sound design and rousing orchestral score synergize beautifully to resonate feelings of grand adventure, exploration and fantasy fulfillment. Rustic taverns resound with lively bard songs, clinking tankards and crackling hearths underscoring communal camaraderie. Nature’s ambience soothes the soul wandering mist-laden waterfalls surrounded by chime-like bird calls. Ominous subterranean spaces echo faint, unnerving skittering that keeps you alert. Sound constantly reinforces setting and storytelling alike.
Dynamic combat audio adds impactful intensity. Steel swords clang violently amidst battlefield chaos. Fireballs whoosh past your head igniting terrain that crackles and burns. Oozing abominations squelch with vile globs of acidic bile. Spells chant arcane words of power before unleashing calamity. Body horror transformations twist bone and sinew to appropriately disgusting effects. Larian’s masterful audio design ensures each grisly encounter feels thunderously spectacular.
Voice acting also brings characters to life immeasurably. Hearing Shadowheart’s biting sarcasm or auntie Ethel’s grandmotherly affectations humanizes allies, enemies and strangers alike through vocal cadence and word choice. Nuanced line reads by talented voice actors sell emotional beats heightening story investment that much more. During poignant moments of betrayal, sacrifice or romance, excellent voicework resonates through raw dialogue as though friends and lovers spoke the words themselves.
Masterful music, seamless ambient tones and distinct vocal flavor unite creating an acoustic dreamscape filling your mind’s eye with wondrous imaginings and heroic inspiration. Sounds echo beyond mere game effects, reaching deeper into our shared experience by mimicking emotional moments with fidelity and vulnerability. Through Baldur’s Gate 3’s incredible audio landscape, Faerûn transforms from fantasy to personal memories forever etched within now.
Why Baldur’s Gate 3 is a Must-Play
After experiencing Baldur’s Gate 3 firsthand, Larian Studios has undoubtedly crafted an all-time great RPG dripping with ambition, passion and acute attention to detail. Through polished turn-based combat, a reactive open world, unprecedented freedom of choice and best-in-class production values, this definitive Dungeons & Dragons epic provides hundreds of hours of unmatched adventure.
At its core lies an intricate narrative web of branching, interconnected quests allowing players to leave their personal mark upon Faerûn in profound ways. Will your hero rise as the city of Baldur’s Gate’s noble champion or flee the besieged city to focus solely on unlocking the mysteries of your strange psychic powers? Do you defend refugees from ruthless bandits or extort them for profit? Can romance blossom with compelling companions or will mutual hatred end in bloodshed? Myriad decisions small and large all converge, creating a tailor-made journey where heroes walk the path laid before them by fate and self-determination hand-in-hand.
Baldur’s Gate 3 rewards exploration and experimentation thanks to overcomeable challenges andmeaningful build diversity. Savvy environments like towering ruins or deepest caverns hide secret paths and treasures for cunning adventurers. Customizable subclasses, abilities, equipment and party synergies empower wildly unique strategies. Theorycraft powerful hero combinations and bold tactics to obliterate lethal foes in spectacular fashion during combat’s elegant dance of death. Only by testing unorthodox strategies do the game’s deepest complexities reveal themselves through triumphant eureka moments.
And few virtual worlds realize such incredible sense of place quite like Larian’s living, breathing Forgotten Realms. Gorgeously rendered scenery bursts with vibrant color or brooding atmosphere that contextualizes your ever-changing adventures. NPC schedules, seasonal cycles and dynamic weather make Faerûn feel occupied by life beyond the player’s sphere of influence. Populated cities, brooding forests and ancient dungeons all shine as characters themselves due to unparalleled environmental artistry and sound design.
For those craving soul-stirring journey full of fellowship, sacrifice and self-betterment, Baldur’s Gate 3 stands tall as the quintessential fantasy epic tailored expressly for you. Lands rife with enchantment await exploration by mutable forces of nature like your unprecedented hero. Let imagination guide you towards glory or infamy only limited by the scope of human potential and daring. This long-awaited return to beloved Sword Coast at last provides adventures, friends and mysteries awaiting amongst Faerûn’s beckoning beauty. Heed destiny’s call. Your quest begins now.