- Baldur’s Gate 3 accurately brings the city of Baldur’s Gate to life, capturing the same feeling of exploration as the original game.
- The game modernizes the city without losing its identity, with enhanced graphics and a sense of cohesive connection to the original game.
- Larian Studios understands what made Baldur’s Gate special and successfully evokes the intangible “game feel” that made the streets of the original city memorable.
Baldur’s Gate 3 has won multiple Game of the Year awards, including from Steam and Geoff Keighley’s The Game Awards, as well as a plethora of other nominations, yet one element of the game still somehow doesn’t get talked about enough. Baldur’s Gate 3‘s narrative, the successful translation of Dungeons and Dragon 5E mechanics, its characters, and more all understandably dominate the discussion, but by and large, these are aspects of Larian’s original work on the franchise.
Sure, characters like Elminster, Viconia, Jaheira, Minsc, and others are throwbacks to the original two Baldur’s Gate games, and there are a handful of Easter eggs that reference the two as well. However, 120 years separate Baldur’s Gate 3 from the first two games, and a lot has understandably changed in that time. That said, it is the work that Larian did in accurately bringing the city of Baldur’s Gate to life that stands out more than any individual character or aspect of the game because it truly feels like the city of Baldur’s Gate 1.
Baldur’s Gate 3: What Happened to Jaheira’s Husband?
Baldur’s Gate 3’s Jaheira was once married to a fellow Harper during her appearance in the original Baldur’s Gate game.
Baldur’s Gate 3 Brings BG1’s Vision of the City to Life
25 real-world years, 120+ in-game years, thousands of CRPG innovations, entire engines, different development studios, multiple editions of Dungeons and Dragons, and more separate Baldur’s Gate 3 and BG1, yet BG3 still manages to capture that same almost unquantifiable feeling of exploring the city as the original game. In doing so, it also manages to modernize the city without losing its identity, bringing it into the world with much better, enhanced graphics. Baldur’s Gate 3 Act 3, the city itself, has received plenty of criticism for the variety of optimization and stability issues unique to this section of the game, but the trade-off is an incredibly immersive city that retains such a powerful “game feel” from 25 years ago.
And how Larian exactly manages to recapture that lightning in a bottle is equally hard to explain. While they help, it’s not the return of the Elfsong Tavern or Sorcerous Sundries, the myriad of Easter eggs, or the various factions and identities. Stepping into Baldur’s Gate now feels like BG1 and BG3 were cohesive games, developed by the same folks around the same time, minus the obvious technological leaps. The retention of its city identity between the two games is second to none. It feels cohesive, like the Peter Jackson Lord of the Rings movies which were all filmed simultaneously, yet it also feels like a certain brand of nostalgia. Returning to this city almost feels like reuniting with a Dungeons and Dragons table after years apart to continue the story without missing a beat.
Larian understood and managed to bring to life what made Baldur’s Gate special. The company clearly understood that Baldur’s Gate was not a destination, but a journey in and of itself. It understood the motivations, love, and mixed pride the city’s occupants have, the company understood the appeal of all its nooks and crannies, and it understood all the dynamics that helped make Baldur’s Gate 1 so special as well. Yet, even with all of that, it’s still hard to imagine or explain how Larian brought a city to life, 25 years later, and made sure that the input, response, context, aesthetics, and more were capable of evoking that same exact game feel. It’s truly remarkable, it’s documentary-worthy, and it embodies every intangible aspect of the “game feel” concept.
If someone hasn’t walked the city across generations, they owe it to themselves to do so. Rumors suggest that Baldur’s Gate 1 and 2: Enhanced Edition are coming to Xbox Game Pass soon, and if so, they are well worth playing if only to experience this “game feel.” Walking the streets of Baldur’s Gate, then and now, is more than just a walk through memory lane; it’s a journey.
Baldur’s Gate 3
Baldur’s Gate 3 is a Dungeons and Dragons inspired RPG developed and published by Larian Studios. Featuring both a single player and cooperative element, players create their character by selecting a starting class, take on quests, level up, and engage in turn-based combat using the D&D 5th edition rule set.
- Baldur’s Gate
- August 3, 2023
- M for Mature: Blood and Gore, Partial Nudity, Sexual Content, Strong Language, Violence
- How Long To Beat
- 30 Hours