Rolling for initiative with Baldur’s Gate 3
The six years that Larian Studios invested in the game’s development has tackled the daunting challenge of emulating this freedom of tabletop RPGs.
CHENNAI: You have no memories of your past. I suppose that is what you could expect from a place called the Forgotten Realms. Who can you trust? Where are you supposed to go? How can you rid yourself of this pulsating headache? As it turns out, you have been infected by a Mind Flayer, who placed something squirmy in your head.
You hear tales of a healer who might cure you. But you can’t do this all by yourself. The Tieflings in the town have trouble trusting you. And the goblins? They bully you. It’s hard making allies when you admit to everyone upfront that you have a tadpole in your head.
Baldur’s Gate 3 is a testament to traditional role-playing games, drawing heavily from the Dungeons and Dragons 5th edition handbook. For those familiar with conventional tabletop RPGs, the essence of these games lies in the player’s imagination, guided by the whims of the dungeon master.
You could choose to get bogged down with the intricate lives of people in the many towns of the Forgotten Realms, or just rush through to finish just the main missions. The six years that Larian Studios invested in the game’s development have tackled the daunting challenge of emulating this freedom of tabletop RPGs.
And it begins with character creation. BG3 allows you to choose from over 12 classes and 12 races, making character creation an engaging gameplay experience in its own right. In RPGs, the character you create deeply influences your journey. For instance, navigating the world as a crafty sorcerer who deceives everyone they encounters contrasts the experiences of a barbarian, ever-ready to confront even the most trivial challenges with fury.
Crafting a personalised character can be daunting. While it might be tempting to read the entire D&D rulebook in search of the “perfect” build, it’s worth noting that perfection doesn’t always equate to enjoyment. I prefer dedicating time to giving my character the best face tattoos and lipstick shades. For more intricate character traits such as skills and backstory, there’s always a large range of presets provided by the game. The way I see it, roleplaying is more about my story than my stats.
After all, numerous other elements shape the game’s outcomes, from the sequence in which you tackle events, die rolls, or even a simple misinterpretation of dialogue options — like accidentally choosing to “kiss” the Mind Flayer instead of “kill” (no joke, that happened to me).
I cannot overstate the ripple effects of dialogue choices and dice outcomes in BG3. Once, a rushed conversation with a sorceress led me to unintentionally offend her. The result? A brutal confrontation with her horde of redcaps, caught my team entirely off-guard. For those diving into this game, I’d strongly advise saving the game before any significant conversation.
And a warning — any conversation could be significant. If, like me, you sometimes struggle to read the room. But even with the setback of losing hours of progress, BG3’s expansive world ensures that no two playthroughs ever feel the same, making a revisit is still rewarding.
As video games go, Baldur’s Gate 3 is not tailored for beginners. I spent a good 15 hours before realising that sorcerers aren’t exactly frontline fighters, and are better positioned flinging potent spells from a safe distance. Although I typically avoid extensive rulebooks, this game might nudge you towards one, especially if you opt for a complex race/class combination.
There’s a simple workaround: BG3 boasts a seamless cooperative multiplayer mode. Teaming up with seasoned friends can ease the game’s learning curve. Currently available on PC and PlayStation, Baldur’s Gate 3 promises an adventure and a unique story worth experiencing every time you dive into it.