In general, the original idea for the article was the disgusting optimization of Baldur’s Gate 3, which, whether on Vulkan or on directX, ate exactly as many resources as it was allocated. Because of what, the dear RTX 3070 warmed up to the red, that the GTX 1060 on the second PC. At the same time, the game began to eat all the resources right from the boot screen … But by limiting the power supply in the MSI afterburner, I forgot about this problem, and plunged into … And what is it at all?!
The hype around the development of Baldur’s Gate 3, its early access with the first chapter, cutscenes, and everything that was in the media field, surprisingly passed me by. And I started to get acquainted with Baldur’s Gate 3, literally 3 days before the release. Google and YouTube, literally after the first request, began to helpfully slip me various promotional materials, videos, trailers … And even then the first suspicions arose about the game.
No there were no doubts about the qualifications of the developers, but remembering the sad fate of oblivion after morrowind, it caught my eye:
Abundance of rollers.
Throwing a dice to pass a test.
Prescribed characters that talk …
It would seem … It’s all great! It’s everything we dreamed of. Real, living Faerun… just like Neverwinter. But suspicions only intensified.
Causes of doubt
What does the abundance of commercials and prescribed characters mean? Over-directed. Less choice. Less interesting dialogue. After all, everything needs to be said. Animate, which is just a ton of work. And that means that they will most likely sacrifice something. We have encountered similar
Why is dice bad? Yes, because it is the most common random number generator. And unlike a real game, absolutely nothing depends on the player. And that is why all these years, all the developers who tried to use DnD and similar systems as a basis, moved away from throwing dice.
Somewhere good. Somewhere not successfully (Recall the clicks of locks until the check is passed, or all the same save / load). The game industry has been moving away from dice for 20 years, and has evolved into something that is much more playable than pseudo-random number generator animation.
What is the output
And at the end it turned out that all my fears about the commercials turned out to be groundless.
But with Dice, everything turned out exactly as he was afraid. A completely unnecessary gimmick that only slows down the Save/load process of passing the check, due to the fact that it is necessary to view the animation. Although you can put a “Plus sign for efforts”.
In terms of variability, the game was great. Like a narrative piece. Perhaps it can be compared … with the second Witcher. Everything is the same gloomy-fabulous, and not yet as sleek as in “Witcher 3”.
There are certainly questions to the modern world order of Faerûn. But to be honest, I stopped following the history of the Forgotten Realms back in the time of the second crisis of Mystra, which means that a lot could really change in the Forgotten Realms.
And yet, while I was wary of the novelty of the narrative, the real problems of Baldur’s Gate 3 crept in unnoticed.
Disappointing implementation of D&D 5th Edition
Larian Studios doesn’t need a Dungeon & Dragons system at all. Neither in the fifth, nor in the third, nor in the second, nor in any other edition.
All that was taken for the game were some cosmetic things, without which the game felt neither better nor worse …
What are we talking about? Well, about the damned dice … But this is nonsense. But also about the ultimate simplification of the D&D system itself. Of course, the 5th edition itself is much simpler than the 4th edition, and even more so AD&D, which players of early role-playing adventures are used to.
But! If all that is taken from D&D is just checks (which you can do without) and the spell slot system. That such D&D can be called cosmetic.
No multiclassing for lower complexity
Chicane? Undoubtedly. But why cut off part of the experience for players of lower game difficulty, especially if you remember that on a lower difficulty, it is very difficult to assemble a non-viable build.
By the way, about build building… Of course, in the old Baldur’s Gate, there was a level limit, and this was fixed only by the release of IceWind Dale (well, or BG2, whichever you like more). But the main limitation in the levels was due to mathematical and plot. And no one interfered, mow down the goblins until they were blue in the face in order to fill the 20th level, and become equal in strength to Baal himself.
In BG3 they tell you straight out… You can’t become equal to God… Sit at level 12…
Well, what can I say … Everything is like in the good old X-com, or Heroes 3. First, you make all the moves. Then the opponent makes all the moves. Then you again. Then the opponent. Of course, this is a good implementation …
But already 25 years ago it was considered an atavism, and they tried to paste in a crooked, but Real-time. Which was already in BG, and later in Arcanum. Of course it was optional.
But why, all these years, has the industry tried to move away from step-by-step? Not because it slows down the process quite a lot. Even final fantasy 15, a representative of the eastern camp, where turn-based play has been cultivated since childhood, stepped over itself and switched to real-time with a tactical pause.
But Larian decided simply. If we are making a “tabletop RPG”, then it must be “tabletop in everything” and ignore the achievements of the entire gaming industry over the past quarter century.
A trifle, but unpleasant … Of course, we had the opportunity to copulate with goats for a long time, and all this was perceived rather as an element of fun. But “Body Type 1” and clearly aggressive fem-characters, in medieval Faerûn, are perceived as something alien.
I won’t spend much time on this… Just know that Larian has given enough time to this…
But that is not all! Introducing the Hero
It seems that considering all these shortcomings, I think that Baldur’s Gate 3 is a bad game, with an undeservedly inflated rating. But no, it’s not the worst game, it has its fans. There are peaks of online steam.
But I scold her only because in my memory, there is Baldur’s Gate, which came out a quarter of a century ago … and had much greater virtues … Or perhaps it’s a duck effect?
Let’s turn away from Larian and look at bioware. For the sake of the purity of the experiment, I had to raise a pirate flag and install a virtual machine, and put the original Baldur’s Gate on it.
Horror! Oh my god, how could this be played? And no, it’s not about pixel porridge, I was ready for it … But literally after a couple of hours of the original Baldur’s Gate, I was ready to idolize the creation from Larian, and apologize for everything that I said earlier.
But let’s go in order…
After the really limited D&D 5 character builder in Baldur’s Gate 5, seeing the familiar outlines of the original builder, I was really excited…
But the jubilation was short-lived. After all, the subtleties of the second edition were forgotten over the years … That did not prevent them from being just as confusing.
Which class to choose? Why is it necessary to roll dice for the number of characteristics? Is it really that important?
What an abundance of spells. How to understand all this? Why not just build a killing machine?
And the main problem of the character is that an incorrectly assembled character will not die immediately, but only at the moment of meeting the first bear, before that he will be led by the hand … And what does this mean?
That in the case of an incorrectly created character, you lose at least an hour of time (if you are playing for the first time and do not skip half the story by going to the foster father immediately) before you realize that he is not viable.
Of course, you can take a character template, or create a simple tanking class, and not bother much. But the whole buzz of D&D and Baldur’s Gate was precisely in the possibility of creating an uber car from an ordinary cleric?
Thac0 came to the game adaptation directly from the tabletop role-playing game. And he himself was such an unfortunate decision. That already by the third edition of D&D it was replaced … and by the 4th it disappeared altogether.
But in Baldur’s Gate, you have to remember that bigger isn’t always better… Also, even a big enough THAC0 doesn’t guarantee you good hits and hits.
After all, in fact as in Baldur’s Gate 3, everything is controlled by a pseudo-random number generator. But thank God, at least all calculations are made behind the scenes, and not by throwing a virtual die in the middle of the game screen.
That’s the first thing that catches your eye after you’ve created a character… Namely, the interface… Which takes up half, if not more, of the space on the screen. And this is by no means a joke.
And the quest log. Where to go, who to find? Literally after a couple of hours of playing, I caught myself thinking that instead of using the task log in the game, I started to keep my own … Paper, because paper was much easier to understand than the horror that Bioware offered us for a quarter of a century back.
Lack of variability
But this was a surprise. After all, variability, on the contrary, seemed to be a key part of the old RPGs. But apparently, in addition to the duckling effect, the Mandela effect also helped to idealize the old Baldur’s Gate.
Later, I remembered that the variability is rather the merit of the second part of Baldur’s Gate, and its peak generally belonged to Arcanum, a project not at all connected with the forgotten kingdoms and released much later.
And against the backdrop of great linearity, and also the unwillingness to tell Baldur’s gate the history of events (key events, including most of the lore associated with the main plot, are not just possible, it is easy to miss on the first playthrough, and after seeing the final credits, not understanding what happened at all) , the story told by Larian, combined with that limited but still variability, is perceived as a serious step forward.
Lack of interaction with characters.
All interaction between the characters in Baldur’s Gate 1 came down to exactly two factors.
If your reputation does not match the worldview of its individual participants. They may leave your group. If you kick out one of the paired joined participants. The second one will also leave the group.
But if one of the participants dies. The second one will remain… The most striking example is a pair of “chaotic evil” characters that appear literally outside the walls of the candkeep.
Of course, you can chalk up any shortcomings of the old Baldur’s Gate to the fact that they were pioneers in the genre. That then no one understood how to make games in a conditionally open world. That they were the first to try to implement D&D (no) in the computer experience.
But the fact remains. Areas with dialogues are separated from areas with fights… At the same time, most of the gameplay comes down to the fact that you are leaving the city, going somewhere. In the process, fight. Fight. And before reaching the destination, you return back to the city, due to an overflowing inventory …
And also breaking armor and weapons (plot-based), which made the gameplay simply inconvenient. And the fact that from one lore element to another, you can spend at least 10 hours.
Compared to that, Baldur’s Gate 3 feels more than just intense. It seems oversaturated with dialogue and lore. And it also feels clearly more compact than the old expanses of the first part, which was divided into hundreds of small, but completely empty locations.
Disgusting Real-time Combat
Do I need to comment on it. Apparently necessary. Despite all my lamentations about the modern turn-based system in Baldur’s Gate 3, what the original gave out as real-time combat cannot be censoredly commented on.
And if in the early stages, when there are 1-2 characters under the command of the hero, everything simply boils down to the fact that while one character runs around a group of mobs, the second shoots them with a bow. And it really works…
But as soon as magic enters the battle, it’s trite some roots caused by a druid … Then there is only checkmate, checkmate and checkmate again … Play in real time, you will be exactly as long as you cast a spell over the area, you will not kill your entire group.
Of course, having a tactical pause solved the problem… But in reality, it comes down to insane space spam, which almost completely turns the tactical pause into a turn-based mode. Made an action. Pause. Cast a spell. Pause. Move a little closer to the enemy. Pause. Retreat. Pause. And so with each of the 6 characters.
Is it better than what’s in Baldur’s Gate 3? It’s not for me to decide.
Mary Sue as the main character
Well, everything is simple here. If in modern games we are thrown at us with an agenda, overpathos, and sometimes a plot designed for no one knows who, then the old games were very fond of the epic.
The main character of Baldur’s Gate, This is the real Mary Sue. After all, they are not someone there, But directly the heir of Baal, who descended to Faerun from during the time of the Avatar Crisis. And he fights with no one, but with another baal heir, and all this to prevent the reappearance of the god of chaos and destruction.
I certainly do not promote LGBT, but it would be better if the character was gay, fighting for his rights in the cruel world of the Forgotten Realms.
Although, in fact, given the general linearity, direction, and unwillingness of the first part to share the plot … It’s very, very easy to lose the thread of the story, literally leaving Candlekeep, and destroy the main villain without knowing any plot twists and turns.
And what is the result?
Baldur’s Gate 3 – This is a very good Divinity. He does not need DnD, she is superfluous there. Yes, and the Faerûn setting rather imposed restrictions on the imagination of the authors than helped it.
If we draw a short analogy, then the modern Baldur’s Gate 3 is like a film adaptation of “D&D: Honor Among Thieves”, while it was expected from her, well, at least“The legend of Vox Machine“.
If you are a fan of Larian’s work, you will definitely enjoy the game, despite its very few shortcomings. Well, what about me? What about me? And I’m going to play the real Baldur’s Gate 3 from Obsidian, which was released back in 2015, though under a different name.