It’s been a over a month since the iconic Baldurs Gate 3s’ early access release was made available to fans and players on PC by Larian Studios who have a string of incredibly successful RPG games behind their name. Today we’ll be looking at what fans and professional game reviewers have said about the early access so far on the web. Spoiler alert: the game is far from finished, and for various reasons the early access has received mixed feedback so far. Don’t expect to dive right into an RPG fantasy classic just yet, and also don’t expect to pick up from where the old Baldurs Gate story left off, as the story currently has no direct links to the original events in the series.
Where It Goes Wrong
Starting off with where the early access falls flat, there are reports of tons of bugs and also unfinished content that will spoil the immersion for players. To be fair, this is often completely expected in early access games, and Larian Studios certainly has quite a bit of time left to fix these issues. That said, it’s still not ideal for fans who bought the game early expecting to be able to get anything close to a polished first 25 hours of gameplay. It also sounds a lot more buggy and unfinished than many other early access products.
Gamespot went as far as to say that the Baldurs Gate 3 Early access is “rough and messy and often feels like it is just barely hanging together“, citing glitches and crashes that can make the game virtually unplayable. They were also quite critical of some other more fundamental elements of the game, including the tone of the games’ writing. They also had some minor issues with more technical aspects, including combat, which lacks a good tutorial, and a wonky difficulty curve that still needs a lot of balance.
Other reviewers felt that the game was hindered by sticking too strictly to the current D&D ruleset with too many complex systems slowing down gameplay compared to previous Baldurs Gate games, which used some shortcuts to simplify the D&D experience for players. Ars Technica was vocal about the game losing touch with the roots of D&D RPG’s and the Baldurs Gate franchise, going as far as to compare the game to a cheesy hollywood movie version of Baldurs Gate.
The sentiment that the game “does not feel like Baldurs Gate” is echoed across the internet my many users and reviewers who are big fans of the original Baldurs Gate games. This may not be as big of an issue for newcomers to the series, but for gamers who have been waiting almost 20 years for a new sequel, it could be incredibly disappointing.
What it Does Well
Despite its shortcomings, the Baldurs Gate 3 early access is by no means not without merit. Reviewers praised the game for its freedom of choice when it comes to combat and gameplay which allow you to interact and engage with the environment around you in creative and interesting ways. The in-depth D&D rules and skills, although they may seem cumbersome, also give the game a lot more depth. These systems also still have time to be polished out properly a lot by Larian for the final game, which could make for a more satisfying and intuitive experience.
Many have said that the graphics engine is the best they have ever seen in an RPG, including beautiful landscapes and dungeons that provide a level of eye candy rarely if ever scene in any kind of isometric RPG to date. Assuming they get other elements of the game right, this could make for one of the most immersive RPG experiences ever made.
Despite its criticisms, there are glowing reviews of the Baldurs Gate 3 early access across the web which praise the game for it its incredible attention to detail and the huge amount of content even in the limited early access world – if you look hard enough that is. This kind of attention to detail certainly seems to be a big selling point for the game with a staggering amount of reports of wild and whacky scenes and adventures, including one Steam user who gave the game a solid recommendation citing the ability to throw snot nosed goblin children into cages with angry bears. What else do you want, indeed? More steam reviews can be found on the official Steam page where the game has received over 25 000 reviews with most being “very positive” .
Although there have been a lot of frustrations from many reviewers on the Baldurs Gate 3 early access, least all the sentiment that the game doesn’t stay true to its predecessors, it’s clear that many players have also had an amazing experience playing the early acess despite all its shortcomings.
In the end only time will tell what the final game will look like, but there is certainly a lot of work to be done to please those who feel like the game is nowhere near deserving of the Baldurs Gate mantle in its current state. Luckily, Larion Studios have a great track record of listening to their fans and, despite the mammoth task ahead of them, its more likely than not that they will create a memorable Baldurs Gate 3 experience to be loved by all – provided the corporate powers that be at EA don’t interfere.