Baldur’s Gate 3, one of the best video games that has come out this year. The game is set in the iconic Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition (D&D 5E) universe and is a great replica of the tabletop fantasy game. However, while Baldur’s Gate 3 excels in capturing Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition (D&D 5E), it still faces the same problems as most video games. Let’s talk about it.
The Pros and Cons of Baldur’s Gate 3
While Baldur’s Gate 3 remains loyal to D&D 5E’s rules, it introduces unique features that set it apart from D&D 5E.
- Solo gameplay: Players can play the game without having a group of friends or a dungeon master, since the game functions as both the DM and your companion. You no longer have to worry about scheduling and planning the next campaign session with your friends, praying that everyone is available to play. With the solo gameplay, you can play anytime you want—just open your PC and you’re good to go. As a bonus, you don’t have to worry about annoying character players during a campaign.
- Character creation and ability checks: The game has simplified the character creation of D&D and made the process of leveling up very easy for new players. You don’t even need to consult the rulebook or do math equations midgame. You can just relax and hope your ability checks and dice rolls are in your favor.
Video Game’s Limitations
Despite the pros of Baldur’s Gate 3, there’s still a glaring issue: it forces players to follow the rigid system of D&D 5E, making the game limit a player’s creative decisions.
- Freedom and Flexibility: Baldur’s Gate 3 is built on D&D 5E’s system. Its rules rely heavily on ability scores and standardized rules. Compared to other tabletop role-playing games, D&D 5E has often been criticized for limiting a player’s freedom. Many actions in the game are mostly done with specific ability checks, which can limit the player’s freedom. DMs who want more flexibility in their campaign will modify a lot of the rules to accommodate their players, which is why there are a ton of homebrew RPG systems inspired by the D&D 5E.
- Limiting player’s creativity: Unlike tabletop gaming, where players can cherry-pick rules and mechanics from other tabletop games, Baldur’s Gate 3 strictly follows the D&D 5E system only. Players seeking a more adaptable and fluid gaming experience, unfortunately, must accept the limitations of this system within the game.
Adapting the Rules of Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition
Despite its limitations, Baldur’s Gate 3 still offers a lot of options and experiences to choose from. Players can still find clever alternatives to solving obstacles in the game. Like persuading their way through situations that would otherwise lead to combat, such as convincing guards to allow a goblin fugitive to escape or outsmarting bandits with threats, showcasing the game’s capacity for rewarding creativity.
Larian Studios has done an amazing job in recreating the core gameplay system and world-building aspects of D&D 5E to their game. They have seamlessly adjusted a ton of spells and actions for the fans’ gaming experience.
Baldur’s Gate 3 changes how the players use bonus actions, unlike in D&D 5E. The game makes sure that every character is able to use their bonus actions all the time, no questions asked.
For instance, shoving a character is categorized as a bonus action, in contrast to D&D 5E, where it’s treated as an action-based attack instead. Even jumping, a component of movement in D&D, becomes a bonus action. The many possibilities that you can do with bonus actions not only will help you during combat but also allow players to perform a succession of actions, like attacking an opponent twice before forcefully shoving them off a ledge.
D&D 5E limits a lot of aspects of spellcasting, particularly regarding bonus actions. If a spellcaster uses their bonus action for a spell, they cannot cast another spell, except for cantrips. Which is a bit annoying and limiting for players.
However, Baldur’s Gate 3 introduces a game-changing mechanic. Players are free to cast any spells, but with the only exception that they are held back by their one action and bonus action and their spell slots. This adjustment gives a huge advantage to sorcerers, who can use the Quicken Spell Metamagic to cast nearly any spell as a bonus action.
Preparing Your Spells
In D&D, spells can only be prepared at the end of every long rest. But in Baldur’s Gate 3, the game completely disregards the restriction. They let players change their prepared spells outside of combat. This ensures that spellcasting characters are always prepared before entering combat.
Fixing the Ranger Class
Rangers have often been called ‘the weakest class’ in D&D 5E due to the underwhelming unique features available on the tabletop game. In Baldur’s Gate 3, the class is modified to fit the game, making early-game choices more impactful and relevant.
However, a Ranger’s Favored Enemy no longer provides out-of-combat benefits in Baldur’s Gate 3. Instead, the game gives a melee-focused type called Ranger Knight, which gives Rangers an advantage on their melee attacks. The Natural Explorer ability is also reworked to offer passive combat advantages, such as resistance to fire damage.
While D&D 5E has tactical combat, its positioning rules are easy and simple to follow. In contrast, Baldur’s Gate 3, they have a different approach when it comes to combat positioning. The most significant change is the accuracy bonus when you are on a high-ground advantage. Characters that use range attacks will have a significantly improved accuracy from higher positions, however, attacking upwards gives a disadvantage to players to miss their target.
Rogue’s Unique Bonus Action
Another significant change in Baldur’s Gate 3 is the Thief Rogue subclass bonus action. In D&D 5E, the Fast Hands ability allows Thief Rogues to perform various bonus action activities like using items, disarming traps, or picking locks. In Baldur’s Gate 3, this ability becomes an extra bonus action, which gives a huge tactical advantage to Thief Rogues during combat.
While Baldur’s Gate 3 follows the turn-based gameplay aspect of D&D 5E, the game modifies the initiative system. In D&D 5E, creatures take turns individually, even if they’re next to their allies in the initiative order.
However, in Baldur’s Gate 3, they enable allied characters to act simultaneously for every turn. This not only reduces downtime but also opens up strategic possibilities for the players.
Feather Fall is very different in the game. Unlike in D&D, Feather Fall is a reaction spell that is used when characters are already falling, which prevents fall damage by slowing the descent of a creature.
However, in Baldur’s Gate 3, that mechanic is thrown out the window. Feather Fall becomes a bonus action spell with a duration of ten turns. While this prevents rescuing falling allies in combat, it does extend the effect of the spell and can be used by multiple characters.
In D&D 5E, characters can take a short rest, regaining hit points and refreshing their abilities, provided it is uninterrupted. However, in Baldur’s Gate 3, they simplified the mechanics of short rest and changed it completely to fit the game. Players can instantly take a short rest before and after combat, recovering half of their hit points and abilities. This can only be done twice before a long rest. Luckily the bard’s Song of Rest exists in Baldur’s Gate 3, this can be used to add as a third short rest.
While D&D 5E‘s long rests require a safe eight-hour period without any interruptions, Baldur’s Gate 3 introduces a camp supplies mechanic instead. Long rest can be accessed from nearly any location you are in. However, you need at least 40 supplies when taking a long rest, which encourages players to carefully plan their rest periods and find supplies in the game.