I’m Still In The First Act, But Ready To Play Baldur’s Gate 3 Again

I’m Still In The First Act, But Ready To Play Baldur’s Gate 3 Again

Baldur’s Gate 3 offers so many tiny decisions, and I can’t wait to see what I choose in my second playthrough.

I wrote recently about how playing one CRPG makes me want to play every CRPG. In the case of Baldur’s Gate 3, playing it is making me want to play Baldur’s Gate 3. All over again.

On some level, Larian’s massive role-playing game takes the same approach as a lot of other choice-driven games. Much like in The Outer Worlds‘ opening questline, the first act of Baldur’s Gate 3 presents you with two settlements that are at odds with each other: the druid grove and the goblin camp. As you might expect, you can choose to ally yourself with the goblins or the druids. But the game introduces you to the conflict so organically that it may not even feel like you’re making a choice until you’ve already made it. That’s because you’re actually making dozens of little choices along the way.

I didn’t realize I was allying with the druids… until I had already allied with the druids. I mean, I intended to, sure. But I thought I would get to it eventually, once I had explored more of what Act 1 had to offer. In doing so, I stumbled upon the goblin camp and, while trying to rescue a Druid named Halsin, ended up killing a goblin leader which meant inadvertently declaring war on the entire goblin population. Getting out meant goblin genocide. I don’t feel good about it, but I undeniably chose it, one tiny decision after another.

Baldur's Gate 3 Halsin at camp

This is the beauty of Baldur’s Gate 3. Unlike in The Outer Worlds — a game I also love — you don’t often hit a moment in dialogue where you have to choose between two monumental options. Instead, you make those decisions slowly and steadily, like a trickle of water carving out the Grand Canyon. In this case, the Grand Canyon is the trail of goblin corpses I left behind.

And the decisions I’ve made in the first act will have ripples that extend throughout the rest of the game. Because I sided with the Druids, I got Halsin in my party. But if I had worked with the goblins, I would have spent the rest of the game with Minthara. This is the way Baldur’s Gate 3 does choices. By doing something, you’re necessarily not doing something else. When I first got to the Druid Grove, I only had Shadowheart in my party. Iexperimented with fighting Kagha to protect the Tieflings, but quickly realized I couldn’t handle the battle with only two party members. I went back out and quickly found Lae’zel and Astarion, but the game is fine with you moving forward with half a party. That’s still the case. As I head toward the end of Act 1, I still haven’t met Gale.

In this way, choice in Baldur’s Gate 3 feels a lot like choice in the real world. Growing up in rural Michigan, I made plenty of choices, but they were different choices than someone in Los Angeles or London would have to make. You make plenty of choices in BG3 by just going where it seems natural to go and doing what seems best from the options presented to you. Those options will be different for someone else because each playthrough is the product of every player’s own unique choices.

Gale Baldur's Gate 3 Image

This makes the prospect of replaying Baldur’s Gate 3 all the more appealing. If I play again, I’ll have a wildly different experience, not just different choices. I’m already thinking about it, wondering which decisions I’ll make next time and if I’ll even be aware that I’m making them. Often when I replay an RPG I make the same choices the second time. Not on purpose, but because I naturally gravitate to the same options I naturally gravitated to the first time. That sort of defeats the purpose of replaying this kind of game. The sheer number of variables in Baldur’s Gate 3 has me convinced that when I replay it, I’ll make different decisions, even if I don’t mean to.

NEXT: In Defence Of Baldur’s Gate’s Worst Boyfriend: Anomen

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