It is difficult if not impossible to add anything new to all that has already been said or written by any specialized site in Italy and around the world about Baldur’s Gate 3 over the course of these months. Larian Studios’ RPG, a digital transposition of Dungeons & Dragons, is truly incredible in terms of the extent of the game world, the narrative, the direction and interpretation of the characters, the freedom of approach to gameplay…I could go on and on. However, despite this awareness, my mind continued to grind thoughts.
In the end, to celebrate the arrival of Baldur’s Gate 3 on Xbox Series X/S, I came up with a piece of writing focused on one of the countless experiences I had after creating my Warrior Asgaroth (here, by the way, is the Guide to Baldur’s Gate 3 Classes). I want to tell you about the exact moment when love blossomed with the game (without making spoilers), when I was first naively speechless thinking, “Now we’re getting it“. And, mind you, it won’t be who knows what game changer moment-in fact, therein lies the beauty: it is in the simplicity that Baldur’s Gate 3 amazed me in a way that only Disco Elysium – to stay in the genre – or Elden Ring (we’ll get to that in the very last paragraph here) had managed to do.
Discovering Baldur’s Gate 3
There is one element that won me over more than any other in Baldur’s Gate 3, the sense of discovery: getting lost in the first act map was the best mistake I could make because every interaction, every little deviation from the main path manages to add more to the adventure, whether it is a short talk or an interaction with the game world (here you will find 5 Tips for starting your Baldur’s Gate 3 campaign).). And so the quests start piling up one after another: without making any distinction between main and secondary, I dive right into the adventure
I am not in a hurry, I don’t want to be in a hurry, because everything has to be brought to completion with the calmness necessary to read every single line of dialogue in the work. The meter of hours runs and I find myself having played ten without even realizing it. As I wander without a clear destination along with Shadowheart, Astarion and the Wizard Gale, I arrive at the Emerald Grove. Here, after talking to the inhabitants, I activate a couple of closely related quests: kill the three Goblin leaders of a Village not far from my location and find a key character, a Druid, who, perhaps, could save my life.
Well, no problem, I have no idea how to kill such strong enemies but I will find a way once I reach the location. On my way to the Goblin Village, meanwhile, I discover valuable pieces of a giant narrative mosaic and meet new and interesting creatures. Gradually, that screen separating me from the game world begins to thin as Asteroth becomes more and more in my image and likeness: the decisions made by my virtual alter ego – the selectable responses in conversations are almost unlimited – coincide exactly with what I would have done in a given situation, whether it be forming an alliance, establishing a relationship with an NPC or positively welcome a request for help.
The arrival at the Goblin Village
Upon reaching the main entrance to the Goblin Village, the welcome is not the best. However, thanks to the skillful dialectic of Shoadwoheart and some luck in rolling the dice, we finally manage to set foot in this ‘nice’ suburb overflowing with alcohol and ugly green pointy-eared little creatures far from friendly, who, drunk as the Irish on St. Patrick’s night, dance to the rhythm of a ballad played by a poor bard which is in danger of being burned at the stake (and which, if we wish, we can save, yet another Baldur’s Gate 3 side mission that comes, more or less, out of nowhere).
I head toward the objective, interact with a few Goblins to retrieve information useful for the mission, and finally reach the entrance to the dungeons as marked on the map. I save the game – saving will be the order of the day, especially if you are inexperienced players – and approach the scene I am witnessing from a distance: before me is a bear in prison and Goblins that, ignoring the great danger they are in, they continually tease the beast, certain that those bars would be enough to protect them. Not even time to try to reason with them, the animal drops the door of the slammer sanctioning the beginning of the confrontation.
The bear is my ally, a plus point of some importance – at that point in the campaign, I was really poor in combat but remain confident because with time you will learn each mechanic well, even the most complex one – and you have no idea how much it can gas you to see him in battle as he ferociously disembowels one goblin after another. Basically, he cleans up after himself while my party is limited, at best, to giving the flick of the wrist to those ‘poor’ unfortunates. Having won the contest, we approach the ferocious beast. You don’t know what might happen but you are aware that you have reached a turning point in the plot.
The bear transforms to reveal his true identity: a key character, crucial to continuing the adventure. Now, the more experienced will have it all figured out right away but it matters little: the muscles of my face gave birth to such a happy expression – not even if you were a 12-year-old playing your first game of Dungeons & Dragons – as surprised In understanding who I was facing. “Sh*t, it’s him!” I exclaimed loudly. I took out my cell phone to send a couple of messages to a friend, who was already quite far along in the game, so as to make him aware of what had happened. The short and comprehensive answer was, “you have entered into the spirit of Baldur’s Gate 3“. That’s it, sooner or later, however, I will also have to find a way to get out of it.
The community effect returns
Undoubtedly, this story yields much more when played out rather than reported in black on WordPress. Nevertheless, my brain at that moment literally exploded and I had the first of a long series of WOW effects that would then continue to hit until the end credits. In general, there is an attention to detail in Baldur’s Gate 3, in the commas of every storyline we come in contact with, that it is impossible not to give a big round of applause to the care that Larian Studios has put into its effort, a production endeavor that took a full three years.
As we come to the conclusion, there is one final, still unresolved issue related to Elden Ring to which I wanted to draw attention. I still well remember the game’s day one and the months following the release of the From Software title: every day there were at least three or four Whatsapp notifications with which my friends would report to me on their progress in the work, which bosses they had just taken down after hours and hours of spilled sweat (perhaps suggesting to each other the strategy used), not to mention the three-minute recordings containing outlandish theories about the Ancestral Ring. Replace Elden Ring with Baldur’s Gate 3 and the result remains the same.
My phone is going crazy all the time these days with improbable two-minute audios about the latest developments, the more classic “where are you at?” or “where did you go through to get to that place?” because, as you can imagine, there are so many possible paths to follow. Baldur’s Gate 3 succeeds in bringing players together, even from a distance, to exchange advice, information; it’s one more reason to feel each other over the phone, and it is perhaps the most powerful – not gameplay – related aspect of Larian Studios’ entire work that is closest to my heart. A video game that shortens distances. That said, as the good Matteo Regoli wrote in his review of Blue Eye Samurai:
On Freaking News we are not snobbish enough to make assigning a perfect grade a media event, and on our channels it can happen to see several of them pop up even in the same year
In this case, we spend it on Baldur’s Gate 3 without any second thoughts.