Baldur’s Gate 3 is Better But Still Not Worth Full Price for Early Access

I finally managed to get through a significant chunk of the Baldur’s Gate 3 early access game. There’s clearly still a lot more to go, based on the number of objectives that still remain in my to-do list, but I will admit that some of the fun I had while playing the game has vanished now that I’ve reached the maximum level for this early access version of the game and my power can’t grow ever greater. It’s not that I need to be more powerful to continue playing the game or to get through specific bits of content since I’ve absolutely wrecked every fight I’ve come across by abusing mechanics or stockpiling potions, I just want to keep accumulating experience points and right now I can’t. They just pop up on screen and then vanish into the ether.

I still have a lot of mixed feelings about this game, but they’re all in regards to the studio’s development practices and decision to rely so heavily on community testing. Outside of that, most of my feelings are fairly positive. The story they’re telling is interesting, it feels fun to play D&D The Video Game, and most things outside of resource management feel impactful and important. They’ve even come a long way in regards to improving how D&D’s rules and mechanics are interpreted for the video game and all the expectations that go along with it.

For instance, in D&D there’s a pretty hard limit to the number of encounters you can do in a day. Sure, you can do more if they’re all against weaker creatures, but ultimately you run out of resources and will need to rest. The tabletopg game has even managed a pretty decent formula for how to figure out the right number of encounters for a group of players. In a video game, though, players expect much more combat to happen between the times they need their characters to rest. After all, if there are all sorts of nooks and crannies to explore, there need to be things to find. Sure, the game makes it easy to take rests when you need them since there doesn’t seem to be anything going on in the world that you could miss by taking too many rests and (so far) I’ve never been attacked while making camp, but it’s also pretty clear that you can go a long time between rests so long as you manage your resources (HP included) well.

This isn’t a problem, though. It’s just the difference between a tabletop game and a video game. Better to adapt it well than to try to port it completely from one media to another without making any adjustments. And while I think that maybe they should have simplified the world’s mechanics a bit to get it to match up better with D&D 5e than with the other games this studio has put out, I recognize this is a personal preference.

I think the characters and the dialogue is one of their strongest points. It is hard to say for sure, though, since I keep getting distracted by visual glitches like dialogue scenes and cutscenes failing to launch, or when whoever I’m talking to gets possessed and turns their body all the way around while their head stays facing me, or when I can’t see what is supposed to be happening on screen because one of my companions popped into existence right in front of the camera half a second after the cutscene launched, or when one of my companions (and only one) is always lurking behind me in every dialogue scene when I talk to other companions in my camp. Creepiest of all, he’s also in the background behind me when I’m talking to him.

All-in-all, this is very much a game still in early access and while it is approaching a point where it feels less like I payed for the privelege of testing their game for them and more like they released it early so they could hire staff to complete it, I still think it’s not worth your money. Wait for release if you haven’t bought it. And if you have, always wait four to six months after each major patch so they’ve actually fixed some of the bugs they introduced when they tried to fix all the bugs from the release of said major patch.

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