Today's Baldur's Gate 3 Demo Shows It's Still Got That Divinity Style - And Difficulty

Today's Baldur's Gate 3 Demo Shows It's Still Got That Divinity Style - And Difficulty

Hello Underdark, my old friend...

Today during the D&D Live 2020 event, Larian Studios showed off more gameplay from Baldur's Gate 3. Larian Studios co-founder Swen Vincke stepped into the driver's seat for a live 90-minute playthrough, taking players from an early encounter in a goblin camp all the way to the Underdark. Along the way, it was clear that the Baldur's Gate 3 carries the same difficulty as Larian's previous titles.

Divinity: Original Sin and its sequel aren't hard for sake of being hard. Instead, those worlds are very systemic: players can create sheets of ice by casting a frost spell on a puddle, or turn those same puddles into blood and draw them in for a vampiric heal. Divinity: Original Sin is about knowing your skills and the current terrain, and using it to rain down pain upon your enemies.

Unfortunately, this also means that your plans frequently go off the rails, either because of enemy abilities or because you didn't think about a skill interaction. There's nothing like setting up for an explosive combo, and having an enemy use a fire spell ahead of you, sending everyone to die in a burning blaze. I can't tell you how many times I've died trying to pull off some wild combination. Larian's games want you to roll with the punches, and think your way out of a bad situation.

Vincke's playthrough of Baldur's Gate 3 today carried that same energy today. Things started off poorly, when a Goblin Booyahg hit Swen's party with an exploding Fireball as the opening salvo. Swen then had to walk through the burning ground to get to the sorcerer, leaving him on the rooftops with very little health. His main character died shortly after, leaving the rest of the party to struggle to reach their compatriot. The fix was creating a mist around the body, preventing the enemy archer from hitting him until everyone else could rally.

The rest of the demo included Swen lighting an exploding barrel on fire with his mage too close, the mage taking falling damage after burning a web bridge he was standing on, Swen's main character dying from a Drow Wizard and his friends in the Underdark, and many, many missed rolls and saving throws. It's very much the litany of failure I personally found in Divinity: Original Sin 2, but with the addition of dice rolls and Dungeons and Dragons lore.

Larian is looking to release Baldur's Gate 3 into Early Access in August, though the COVID-19 pandemic has slowed down development a bit. In an interview with GameSpot following the DND Live stream, Vincke explained that the Early Access version of Baldur's Gate 3 will be the game's first act, which is apparently as big as the entirety of Divinity: Original Sin 2. "You can compare it, I think, to Divinity: Original Sin 2's amount of content and probably more. That's early access, the actual complete game is going to be much bigger than that," said Vincke.

Early Access players can play as one of six classes, including Wizard, Warlock, Fighter, and Ranger, with several sub-classes. Beyond the Early Access period, we still don't know when Baldur's Gate 3 will see a full release.

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Mike Williams

Reviews Editor

M.H. Williams is new to the journalism game, but he's been a gamer since the NES first graced American shores. Third-person action-adventure games are his personal poison: Uncharted, Infamous, and Assassin's Creed just to name a few. If you see him around a convention, he's not hard to spot: Black guy, glasses, and a tie.

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