No wonder Microsoft and Xbox relented and basically threw the Xbox Series S under the bus just to get Baldur's Gate 3 running on the Xbox platforms later this year. At the moment, Baldur's Gate 3, which just launched on the PlayStation 5, is enjoying a historically excellent launch on Sony's flagship platform.
Baldur's Gate 3, the celebrated role-playing game from Larian Studios, has had a banner quarter. Initially launched for the PC, the game scored rave reviews, earning a 96 on Metacritic. Now, it's made a triumphant debut on the PlayStation 5, netting an even higher score of 97 - though it's important to note this could change as more reviews come in. It's not just the critics singing its praises; fans are sinking their teeth into it with delight, making it even more of a Game of the Year contender even in a competitive environment where other colossal releases like Starfield and The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom exist.
Once upon a time, meaty CRPGs (which stands for computer role-playing games) like Baldur's Gate 2 were the stuff of dreams for console gamers. Fast forward to the present, and that fantasy has come to life, thanks to Larian Studios' adept translation of complex CRPG mechanics into a gamepad-friendly experience. It's almost like an homage to the genre's evolution, as the same developer had earlier aced console ports of Divinity: Original Sin and its sequel. The experience is very similar to hooking up a gamepad to a PC, swapping hotbars for radial menus and adding a sprinkle of new features like being able to search multiple objects at once.
What's surprising is the seamless experience for players who initially started on desktops. With a little clerical work to link your Larian account with your PlayStation credentials, your save files seamlessly sync to offer an ad-hoc Nintendo Switch-like experience. But why would you want to switch? Baldur's Gate 3 is a rich game with replay value, offering a myriad outcomes based on choices and build types. Plus, the console experience is unexpectedly delightful; it's as if the game was tailored for lazy thumbing from the couch. The DualSense controller might require some relearning for those who've played on the PC for years, especially with smaller tasks like grabbing specific items in a cluttered environment. However, it's not long before muscle memory kicks in, and you're firing off spells like a pro.
Despite its triumphs, it's not a flawless experience. There are some technical issues, though nothing game-breaking. A lot of bugs from the PC have carried over, but they're part and parcel of the RPG experience since time immemorial, and Baldur's Gate 3 is no different. Whether you encounter them is, as ever, a dice roll. The real drawback comes in the form of the split-screen mode; it feels sluggish and runs at 30fps Quality mode. There's also room for improvement in making the experience less busy when two instances of the game run side by side.
Unfortunately, one highly anticipated feature yet to be rolled out is cross-play, although cross-saves work wonderfully for now. It's on the radar, but the developers haven't had the time to implement it yet. All in all, Baldur's Gate 3 on the PS5 is an experience not to be missed. It has a potent blend of rich, intricate storytelling and responsive with satisfying mechanics, delivered in a way that's comfortable for both PC stalwarts and console newcomers.
Even if you've played the PC version, it might just be worth taking another jaunt through Baldur's Gate 3's vast, complex world - this time from the cozy comfort of your living room.