Baldur's Gate 3's Early Access launch already has exciting turn-based combat and some genuine storytelling greatness, but it might be worth waiting to enjoy the full thing with fresh eyes.
Looking back on my time with Baldur’s Gate 3, I recalled the several times that I had stopped to message my friend (and the co-host of my Baldur’s Gate-focused show Mages & Murderdads) to talk about something I found cool, like being in a swamp and being able to roll a nature check to find out its dark secret.
What's most telling that this will be a great game: only about 20 hours of unpolished gameplay are available to play—and yet when those hours are over, there's an immediate desire for more. If roughly one fifth of a game with limited character creation and so many bugs can do that, then the game in question is going to be something special when finished. The only real struggle will be waiting for the next chunk of Baldur's Gate 3 to hit Early Access.
While the issues I have are minimal and I am sure there are more that can be brought up, I very impressed with Larian Studios’ ability to listen to its player base even in early access. They are quickly releasing major and minor hotfixes for early access. Larian Studios is taking the time to do it right and while we do not have an official launch day just yet, I am eager to see how early access improves.
Given that it lacks a lot of content — only the first act is available and the level cap, at the moment, is just level 4 — you’re going to feel that your journey ended abruptly. Worse, if there are future updates that might change quests, tweak a few issues, fix items and dialogue, or add new classes and mechanics, you might end up starting with a new game just to experience what you missed out on.
If it were not for this job, and having the self-control of four year old at a birthday party (or games journalist presented with a plate of miniburgers at a press event), I would would want to see this enticing story play out in full. Don’t feel pressured to gather your party and venture forth, but based on what I’ve seen, I think that party is in for one hell of a ride when they do.
It's very promising and seems to be heading in the right direction, but should you buy in now? There's a good 25-30 hours of adventuring to be had, full of memorable fights and characters, but you won't be seeing the game at its best. It's already fun, but it's a bit janky, save wipes are guaranteed and, more importantly, you can't yet make a gnome illusionist, so really what's the point?