An Audio Descriptive Version of this blog is available below
It's already been said everywhere else... but this game is GOOD... I mean REALLY GOOD!
As a voice actor, I have a different take on reviewing things and I really look for and recognize different aspects of games that other reviewers may not. And hey, this is just my opinion so I recommend checking the game out to form your own. The format of my reviews now covers the following facets of games: Gameplay & Performance, Story, and Voice Acting.
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This review is Spoiler & Drama Free for your reading pleasure! Enjoy!!
What even is Baldur's Gate? And why is it a 3rd?
Well, Baldur's Gate is a location within the canonical world of Dungeons & Dragons, yes that "nerdy" tabletop game you may have heard about or heck even played back in your day. I say "nerdy" because that's what D&D used to be. Now, it has transcended the phrase into the ever-present popular culture icon millions of people love, play, stream, larp, and more.
And hey, there is nothing wrong with being a nerd. (Definitely not me being a Dungeon Master the night before my wedding with all of my groomsmen.)
Baldur's Gate is also the title of a video game series that is derived from said location in said game of Dungeons & Dragons. D&Dception if you may.
The previous game, Baldur's Gate 2: Shadows of Amn, was released on September 21, 2000. So to say Baldur's Gate 3 was a LONG awaited sequel is an understatement.
Point & Click?... more like point and FIREBALL!!!
To say I was surprised by the gameplay of Baldur's Gate 3 is... well let's take a step back. I've never played a "point-and-click" style RPG or game before BG3. I've never had an interest in them as I believed they would be too slow and cumbersome. That being said I've always loved RPGs, LOVE D&D, and am always happy to try something new.
Baldur's Gate 3 isn't your traditional point-and-click style game, especially when it was adapted to a console. Could you play the whole game that way? Yes, but it would be a much slower and different game comparatively.
The open worlds of Baldur's Gate 3 are vast and full of secrets in every corner. Because of this, the open setting is free to roam like your traditional game. Once combat hits, it turns into a turn-based RPG, and feels like you are sitting at a real D&D table with way more options than your small mind can creatively comprehend as you can see from the radial menu shown from the console version of the game. (Ok, not your small brain, but smaller ones like mine 😅).
The turn-based style is not the only thing that feels like you are sitting at a tabletop. Almost EVERY interaction has the chance to go south quickly via ability checks and the best part of the game...DICE ROLLS!!
Rolling clicky clacks as some would call it is a staple in the tabletop role-playing game (TTRPG) landscape. In D&D the D20 is the iconic die that is used for all skill checks, saving throws, and attack rolls. Larian Studios, the developer of BG3, has done a wonderful job interweaving the table-top rules and only gamifying what really needed to be in order for it to be a smooth ride for the players, all 1.3 million of them as of December 2023.
You wake up in a Room, WAIT no I mean Tavern, dang it no it's a Nautiloid Battle Ship!
The crazy thing about this heading is that it happens at every D&D table, with maybe the exception of the Nautiloid Ship. The realm of fantasy TTRPG and D&D is certainly used to wild adventures that go off the rails quickly. Baldur's Gate 3 is no exception to this rule either. You can almost do ANYTHING! Larian Studios has almost thought of EVERYTHING! It's absolutely mad...but again I'm getting ahead of myself.
From the character creation screen after the stunning opening sequence, you are provided with a plethora of options for just the character specs itself, as you do in D&D proper. 12 Character Classes, 18 Races/Subraces, Skill Point Dispursment, and the holy grail of character aesthetic customizations. From horns and hair to genitalia, you can make the character look however you'd like.
IGN has a wonderful guide to start here. From there you are thrust into the adventure of a lifetime! Escaping an alien spaceship, figuring out what the heck happened to you, gaining allies, gaining enemies, and making choices that TRULY affect the outcome of the game. Railroading is not a thing here. Every choice you make could have a butterfly effect to have something happen somewhere else, even in a different part of the game's 3 Acts.
The story is the most engaged I've been in a game in a long time, and still is, as I'm on my 3rd playthrough. If something is scary, go check it out. Could it kill you? Probably. Is it worth it for the adventure of a lifetime? Most Definitely. And hey you can always reload 😉 The writers and story development team outdid themselves by making the minutiae of a video game exciting. You don't want to miss a single thing, but you will, and that's okay. It will bring you back again and again to try a new way of playing, thinking, and exploring. There are secret doors, buildable items, secret conversations based on race and class, and so much more that you'll always find something new when playing.
Speaking of conversation options, let's talk about an important bit from my perspective the voice acting...
Has Baldur's Gate Changed the Game?
I could talk for HOURS on the voice acting, choices, writing, and mass amount of content in this game but Ian over at Legendary Drops has done a fantastic and eloquent job at describing what they have done. Check it out below:
Pretty Eloquent right?
The Verdict on Baldur's Gate 3
Baldur's Gate 3 has revolutionized not only RPGs but Video Games as a whole. The love and care that Larian Studios has infused into this game have shown that not only is it possible to be better in the industry, but that fans and critics alike will flock and rally to you as a developer and success will happen. Other studios will need to take note, for the future of gaming development quality has arrived.