By: Christopher Vreugdenhil
It is no surprise that Baldur’s Gate 3 has swept the attention and hearts of most of the gaming community. This comes with a large portion not even touching the game, but buying it out of support for the studio and the game’s significance to the community. That certainly isn’t the case for me, though! Between letting my partner play the game (sharing is caring), work and school, I have not logged many hours into the depths of the game, but have consumed enough content myself and through others to give my honest first impressions.
First and foremost, let’s talk character customization, my favorite part of any game. You can go with one of their prefab characters, including one named dark-urge for those who want a more chaotic run, or create your own from scratch! I made one from scratch, and I have to say, I am a little disappointed.
Dungeons & Dragons is known for its customizability options when creating a character, but I found my favorite tabletop class, the artificer, missing entirely from the class options. While this is understandable because of the implications that come with artificers, I thought that this was a slight oversight.
I also found the actual, physical customization a little bit lacking, needing to download extra mods created by the community to create a character that I truly liked. I would have liked to push and pull the many body parts to create the optimal character, similar to a game like Black Desert Online, but I was still able to create a fun character that I could play as and customize my character’s stats.
One thing I did really enjoy was the fact that you could choose your racial bonus, instead of being constricted by the race you chose, which is one of the most recent add-ons to D&D in general with the release of Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything.
The actual game is very fun. The amount of things you can choose to do (or not do) is insane. I feel like there are more and more secrets being found every single day, with whole areas being hidden from a good chunk of the playerbase. The co-op is also a welcome sight, without the stipulation for it to be an online game, which is a common gripe for video games now-a-days.
I have played the game on standard difficulty and found myself actively needing to plan to win my first actual fight outside of the tutorial. The hits feel weighty and satisfying, and the misses feel that much more devastating. The game also addresses some pretty heavy topics, including racism, refugee crises and religious power.
However, my favorite part is by far the companions you can romance. They are by no means two-dimensional and have the potential to grow beside you as you progress through the campaign. Karlach, a muscled tiefling, is by far my favorite: she’s cursed, so you cannot touch her without burning, but she still has the personality of a golden retriever.
My partner’s favorite is the mysterious and murderous Astarion, who is definitely toxic and a vampire, but is extremely charming. The many chat opportunities and interactions back at your camp that you can have with each leaves you looking forward to every long rest you take.
In my eyes, Baldur’s Gate 3 is truly a dating sim with combat to spice up the story – but no less fun for it!