I’ve been playing Baldur’s Gate 3 for the past month or so, since it came out on the Xbox. People have been praising this game since August so I was pretty excited to get into the game. I am a huge D&D and TTRPG fan afterall, so the prospect of bringing that to a videogame seemed pretty exciting.
I’ve just hit Act 3 this past week and I think I am about 60-70 hours in. If I am being honest, I dont think I like this game very much and it almost entirely boils down to the combat.
But before we really get into that, let’s talk about some other things in the game that just don’t seem to connect with me. The game is very heavility influenced by the actual D&D roleplay mechanic system. Unforuntely, that brings all of the similar trappings that come with playing D&D, but without the benefit of having the ability to get contextual information or clarification form your dungeon master. Roleplay is probably my favorite part of D&D and Baldur’s Gate on the whoile does a pretty decent job of this. However, it obfuscates the skill checks and rolls in most roleplay or social situations. I very often will find myself in a conversation which results in a roll, but I have no way to know which character may be most appropriate for the situation or context. Furthermore, when a roll like Persuasion is required I have no idea what the stat for the chracter that I have select is. If the game didn’t explicitly have a dice roll in these situations, I probably wouldn’t care, but if it is going to show me that actual roll, every…single…time at least let me see what my modifier is before I select that as a dialog option.
Contextual clues are the biggest frustration I have with this game. There have been way too many situations where I am walking around the world where combat will just suddenly start, or worse yet, I think it will, and it doesn’t resulting in a conversation that has to preempt combat. Just today I wrestled with a combat scenario against some Githyanki in a hidden library. I must’ve run this combat 6-7 times. After getting obliterated the first time I tried to sneak and get surprise on the enemy for an attack. every single time I would get a spell off and then the conversation would trigger and then waste the concentrate or spell I just cast. I had a nearly identical level of frustration with the combat that occured at the entrance of the Moonrise Towers in Act 2.
I basically had to “cheese” the combat to get an upper hand due to the action economy. Almost every combat has significantly more combatants than your party.
Let’s continue our conversation though on that Githyanki fight and the way it was structured. There were two portals on the sides of the room, summoning in more Githyanki each round. Those portals were placed just sor perfectly to be out of reach of any of my spells like Fireball, etc. This is frustrating game design, because it is almost impossible to know that those exist until you fail at a first attempt of combat. There was no way going into that room to know how to position my characters and accommodate for that specific setup. So many of the combat encounters have this same sort of thing and it is just driving me away from wanting to continue to play.