Is Baldur’s Gate 3 2023’s strongest Game of the Year Contender?

Molly Steele

Larian Studios’ action-rpg has brought Dungeons and Dragons to life in this jam-packed third franchise instalment.

Larian, known for their Divinity series, has breathed new life into turn-based role-playing games, with critics and players leaving raving reviews for the table-top-inspired game. With such care and dedication put into the development of this game, is it any wonder that the studio has received such a claim? In a year with such intense competition, like Resident Evil 4, Tears of the Kingdom, and Final Fantasy XVI, Baldur’s Gate 3 has proven itself a worthy successor to its predecessors.

As any DnD fan would know, a rich story and colourful characters truly complete a campaign, and Larian certainly delivered. Players have a range of companions to accompany them on their journey through Faerûn, each with unique personalities, goals, and backgrounds. From a battle-hardened, blood-thirsty githyanki to a wizard with a diet consisting of magical items, players can customise their party to their heart’s content. Or, they can turn their adventure into an authentic DnD experience by inviting friends through the multiplayer features.

For some, the fun doesn’t even start with the recruitment of companions but instead with the extensive character creation system. Players can fully immerse themselves through character customisation from class and subrace to physical appearances. Narrator Amelia Tyler revealed at EGX London that she recorded 17 different narration styles to suit each type of character.
Of course, combat and battle are the areas where the excitement lies for most players unless you decide to feed all your skill points into your charisma stats, in which case you probably prefer to talk your way out of any problem. While turn-based combat can often feel slow or uninteresting, Baldur’s Gate 3 avoids this situation with a varied system. Each fight can feel totally different when approached by various characters and their abilities. Some players may turn to the arcane arts with warlocks or wizards, while others prefer to face their problems with a weapon in hand by using barbarians or fighter classes. In any case, if all else fails, Eldritch Blast always helps one out in a pinch.

Surpassing the expectations of both studio and audiences, Baldur’s Gate 3 became the best-selling game on both Steam and on the day of its early access release in August of this year. The game sits comfortably as a contender for Game of the Year with a 10/10 IGN review, a 96 from Metacritic (which it shares with Tears of the Kingdom), and, of course, an unpredictable outpouring of love from gamers and industry members alike. With a pending “Ultimate Game of the Year” nomination from the Golden Joysticks awards, it’s clear that Baldur’s Gate 3’s success is still a very much ongoing process.

Sci-Tech Editor, Molly Steele