I was granted a short preview of the game prior to this morning's launch. Getting full access to the early access copy a couple of days ago. And I wanted to share my initial thoughts on the game in its current state.
Some things that I feel are important to mention is that I have never played any games in the Baldur's Gate franchise before. But my issues with this version of the game aren't with anything related to the gameplay aspects in terms of the series theme or what it's like.
Rather, my initial impressions are about how the game feels playing with a controller in the early access state. It's also important to note that Larian Studios did recommend playing this game with mouse and keyboard while it's in this state. So I dove into the game knowing this would be the case. That said, I still feel it's important to cover what Larian is looking to improve upon.
Play Baldur's Gate 3 on Stadia with mouse and keyboard… if you can
If you can't play with mouse and keyboard, or if you simply refuse to, then my impressions about how controllers function and feel during gameplay are probably irrelevant.
However, if you have the option, play with mouse and keyboard. The experience feels better and to be quite honest it works better. I haven't played much of this game yet. Simply because I haven't had all that much time. In total I believe I've played about an hour to an hour and a half of the game so far.
I tried setting up characters both through Stadia on Chrome using my main PC's mouse and keyboard, and on Android using the Razer Kishi and the Stadia controller. This is where I noticed where the controller just doesn't seem to work as well yet.
During the character creation screen, using the mouse and keyboard proved to have no issues with recognizing commands. I felt no noticeable latency and everything was fine.
Using the controller input was a different story. Moving between the different tabs of the character creation, as well as the different options for build, look, and backstory, proved a little more challenging.
The main issue I noticed is that when trying to select things like different skin color options, different hair styles, etc., the cursor would sometimes move two, three, or even four options in whatever direction I was trying to go.
Now I only really noticed this during the character creation. Having said that, I didn't really play long enough to see if these input recognition problems carried over into gameplay.
The point is that if you can play with mouse and keyboard, you should. Because you aren't going to be running into this problem at all. Or at least you shouldn't.
A more polished experience is on the way
Day one access might not be for you. Larian has openly admitted that the game is not complete in the state that's it's currently in.
You will need to be ok with that if you want to play Baldur's Gate 3 on Stadia. Because it'll cost you $60 to grab the game. That's a price tag that is on par with the cost of new AAA games not in early access.
If you don't feel $60 is worth it at this time, don't buy the game. Sit, wait, watch, listen. Larian plans to continually expand on the game with the remaining acts that aren't launching as part of early access. Which is only Act 1.
All the while providing feedback to players and while receiving feedback too. All in the hopes of fixing any problems that may arise and improving the game where it needs improvement.
A more polished experience is on the way. And leading up to that Larian promises to share updates about progress and changes. Eventually the game will release in its 1.0 version. Knowing that, you may wish to consider whether or not you want to play during this time.
If you're fine with the cost for the amount of content that's in the game right now, also keep in mind that controllers still have a lot of quality of life improvements that need to be made according to Larian Studios.
From a purely gameplay standpoint, and this is coming from someone who's never touched a Baldur's Gate game before, Baldur's Gate 3 is fun and engaging.
Despite not having the best gameplay control experience for my own preferred input method, gameplay feels polished enough to where I could still enjoy it if I was using a mouse and keyboard to play. If like me you've never played a game from this series, it might take you some time to get used to.
But, here's what I know from my own perspective of the game for how it sits right now. It's fun. The cinematics are beautiful and animations within the game are awesome.
The character creator is robust enough without being overly convoluted. It's not as extensive as it is in some other games. While I do sometimes enjoy diving deep into experiences like that, not having it be as extensive in Baldur's Gate 3 just felt right.
You still get to create a unique character yet you aren't flooded with options that will overwhelm you. Larian keeps it short and sweet, then dumps you right into the game. It honestly feels that Larian would have made a mistake if they made things more extensive than they are.
Overall Baldur's Gate 3 is (so far) an experience that fans and first-timers alike will find enjoyable. So long as you like RPG games. If you feel like giving this game a try, you can click the button below to jump right in.