Nothing could have prepared me for the chaos in Baldur’s Gate 3. As someone who has played Divinity: Original Sin 1 and 2, I walked in confidently but left each session feeling a little bit more defeated than the last. Everything you think you know about Baldur’s Gate 3, you don’t.
The game takes every type of terrible situation and throws it straight at you, and you have to find a way around it or through it. You’d best hope to God you have someone in your party who can roll well, because even after spending time in Larian’s previous RPGs, Baldur’s Gate 3 crushed me beneath its metaphorical boot session after session – and I keep coming back.
Spoilers follow for Baldur’s Gate 3.
From zero to one hundred
Preparation counts for a lot in Baldur’s Gate 3, but once it goes off the rails, combat can go horribly wrong in an instant, especially when you run into the intellect devourers.
Larian warns you that they’re formidable foes, and they aren’t lying. One tap from them and my party of two was wiped out in an instant. In less than thirty minutes, I was slain, even on the balanced difficulty – was I really this bad at the game?
As I grew into defining my character, and accruing more party members, I started to feel a little more confident – perhaps even a little on the cocky side, buoyed by victories against smaller groups of enemies.
And yet, before long, I was save scumming and reloading my saves constantly as every fight led to me being dealt terrible hands.
Any confidence I had left from the hundreds of hours I had spent in Divinity: Original Sin 2 had dissipated and I knew that I had a lot to learn while playing Baldur’s Gate 3. Whilst I haven’t played much D&D, I had the basics down from what I had played from it and thought it’d be enough to carry me through. Yet, my knowledge still wasn’t enough when it came to huge fights and I was running out of abilities to use.
Goblins, it’s always Goblins
Goblins are quite frankly, the bane of my existence in Baldur’s Gate 3. Just when I thought I had it in the bag and knew I was about to get jumped from my knowledge of Divinity: Original Sin 2 and characters just loving to get the jump on you, everything would go so incredibly wrong whenever they showed up.
The Goblin camp is the perfect example of this, with my character locked in a room with Gut, the Priestess.
My other three teammates were outside, ready to fight… except, they were terrified, their weapons were on the floor and then they were covered in grease. They were falling over, Astarion was prone, and then they were set on fire. Combat had descended into comedy in record time.
I didn’t think it was humanly possible for a team fight to go wrong so quickly, but it did. They were all dead by turn five, and my character was triumphant over Gut and had the misfortune of opening the door, just to get walloped by the rest of the Goblin squad.
I went for a different tactic and tried attacking them in the main room. “I’ll get the jump, this time.” Again, I was wrong. Instead, Gut used telekinesis to drop a huge statue on top of Shadowheart and Lae’zel, and they died instantly. Time to reload my save again.
I didn’t think it was possible to be this bad at Baldur’s Gate 3, but apparently, it is. None of my many hours in Divinity: Original Sin 2 could have prepared me for this, even my hours on the hardest difficulties. The games are so far from each other. Everything that could go wrong, went wrong. It was almost comical, and I tried to laugh as I sat with my head in my hands.
So, if you think that you’re prepared for the brutality that Baldur’s Gate 3 has for you, you aren’t. And yet, I load up again and again. Surely the dice will be on my side next time, right?