Baldur’s Gate III is a great early access option
Baldur’s Gate III, the eagerly anticipated role-playing video game, has been released. Kind of. It’s in early release. Which is to say that the software runs, and a lot of the pieces are in place, but it’s not exactly finished.
With early release, developers—most of them are smaller, independent studios—are hoping to get their game in the world to raise a bit of money and create a bit of buzz. The money helps keep development going as the game is polished. Meanwhile, the buzz helps to generate more sales when the game gets its final release.
So it is with Baldur’s Gate III, developed by Larian Studios and very much in the world of Dungeons & Dragons (the Fifth Edition). While the game is available on MacOS and Windows, I’ve been playing the early release on Google’s Stadia streaming service.
A fully realized world
Larian says that what’s available now is about a fifth of the final game. Given that this early access will give you between 20 and 30 hours of gameplay, you’ll get a sense of how massive this game is.
Despite that, this is a fully realized world with a compelling narrative that will appeal to old-school D&D fans. The dialogue options are extensive and this is how much of the story is told. It’s also how you can recruit companions to be part of your adventure.
While you choose your actions, sometimes the game will literally give you a rolling D20. This is a nice nod to the tabletop origin of the game.
You can play as one of six classes: cleric, fighter, ranger, rogue, warlock, or wizard. Multi-classes will be part of the game later, but are not available yet.
Some bugs and glitches
Because this is an early access, there are some bugs and glitches. However, fixes for these things will be rolling out regularly.
Whether you want to dive into Baldur’s Gate III early will depend on a couple of things.
If you don’t want to wait for the full game—it could be a year away—you might want to give yourself a chance to enjoy this rich world.
But note that your saves will not carry over. That means any characters you create and advance now will not come with you when you start playing the final release. So if you become attached to your creations, or you don’t want to spoil any of the early story, maybe you should be patient.