It sounds like the wet dream of all old-school roleplayers and D&D fans: Baldur's Gate 3 is actually in the making and therefore within reach, even if no release period has yet been mentioned. However, this time it's not BioWare on the keys, but Larian Studios, which managed to clean up with Divinity: Original Sin 2. A very promising mix, we think. In Nuremberg, the team around Swen Vincke presented the title with live gameplay of an early pre-alpha version for the first time.
We were shown the game from the start. After a very chic staged intro sequence, the character creation makes it immediately clear that you have a whole cornucopia of possibilities at your disposal. A total of 15 races like Drow, Humans, Githyanki, Dwarfs or Half-Elves are waiting for you to go into battle individually. Of course, you can also fall back on eight D&D classes from the 5th edition so far, with a few more to follow. In addition, there are original characters with special presets and a background.
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Swen Vincke resorted to a high elf-vampire mongrel named Astarion, stuffed a few more points into the six attributes and off we went. The game takes you to Moonhaven, east of the city of Baldur's Gate. The intro kicks off with the attack of an illithid ship, controlled by a rather unappealing humanoid with plenty of tentacles in the face – a mental flare. The attack is repelled by dragon riders in a wild chase.
The ship crashes and Astarion finds itself in the game world. He was on board with other prisoners, but survived the crash. With small side effects, because it quickly becomes clear that the half-vampire does not immediately sizzle in the sunlight. The Mind Flayer's experiments have apparently had their effects thanks to the Slaad tadpole that the unwanted host has planted in his skull and will still have unpredictable effects.
Our original character Astarion quickly meets another survivor and the two of us go in search of a healer. You can control up to four characters later in a party, but hire significantly more companions. Characters that are not required are waiting for you in camps, where you can regenerate and rebuild the party. You can also interact with the characters and have conversations in the camps. The companions also maintain their relationships with one another. Or bitch when they can't stand it. Whether and how other characters join you sometimes depends on quests and dialogues, in which you can always make profound decisions.
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Platform: PC | Date: Feb 26, 2020 "data-lightbox =" 23e8d0a7d44b8f5037dda9177f947e2c.jpg ">
There is definitely enough role play in Baldur's Gate 3. As was already evident in the dialogs, the game provides you with plenty of options and decisions. If you want, you can even let off steam as a real villain, but then you also have to accept the corresponding consequences and the reactions of the environment and its inhabitants.
By the way, you can not only play Baldur's Gate 3 alone, but also with your friends. Up to four players can participate, and there is also couch co-op for two players. The other players simply take on the roles of the characters in the party. The host's score is decisive. If he wants to continue without or with fewer players, the "vacant" characters are simply taken over again by the AI. Of course, this means that you can play with up to four players in multiplayer.
What is striking about the dialogue sequences is that they are not staged with statically depicted cardboard mates. The dialogue sequences focus on different camera perspectives. The previous English voice output is very convincing, but also the slightly reduced, but authentically acting gestures and facial expressions. When asked about this, Vincke confirmed that it was important to the team to make the discussions appear credible and dynamic. Even the background of the characters is taken into account in the dialog sequences, various skills and attributes also open up additional dialog options such as intimidating, threatening or much more.
You will also discover a lot of attention to detail in the surroundings. Baldur's Gate 3 does not rely on an open game world, but sometimes semi-open areas in which you can move relatively freely. A classic minimap provides the necessary orientation. The new version of the engine already used in Divinity: Original Sin 2 allows many details and natural-looking landscapes. It is interesting that there is a lot of verticality, characters can climb or jump on elevations in the landscape, which plays an important role in the fights.
As in Divinity, many objects from the surrounding area can be used in Baldur's Gate 3. For example, you can stack boxes to get to previously unreachable levels. You control your party through the game world in real time, but you can switch to a turn-based mode at any time by pressing a button. The fights are completely turn-based. Larian Studios dispenses with the former real-time with pause system, which does a great job for the tactical demands of the fights.
Verticality is again used here, because a good positioning of the characters can be decisive for the fight, especially for magicians and ranged combatants who receive noticeable bonuses from an elevated position. To keep the chaos manageable, the rounds are always party-based and consist of movement and action phases. Elements can also be used again. If you shoot a barrel of water, for example, so that the opponents have wet feet, and then shoot a lightning spell in the puddle, the opponents will be shocked properly. One thing is already certain: the fights will be very crisp and tactical. It is good that nothing is lost when party members bite the grass. As long as one survives, the others get up again after the fight.
At the same time, sneaking or splitting up the party is also possible to avoid fights or to find alternative ways in the area. Quite often there are traps or puzzles to solve. The exploration of the game world away from the main quest should also be rewarded, among other things, by hidden secrets or side tasks. Looting and leveling, however, plays a subordinate role. There are powerful objects, but as usual in the D&D rules, everything goes a little slower.
Larian Studios worked closely with Wizards of the Coast to apply the D&D rules as accurately as possible, but modified for the sake of playability. This is noticeable at the latest with the abundant skill checks, which take place among other things in dialogues by visible dice, but rather in the fight behind the scenes. In any case, none of this seemed too static, but rather integrated in a meaningful and understandable way.
Inventory and interface were a little provisional in the presentation, but here too you can see that Larian is worried. While each character has their own inventory, you can open them side by side at any time to transfer items from one character to another. This is much clearer than a common inventory. It will certainly be interesting to see what the HUD and interface will ultimately look like.