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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Baldur's Gate 3 is a fantasy role-playing game in which players create a hero/heroine and, along with a traveling "party" of characters, set out to defeat evil. While it's a positive concept on the surface, the game requires violent combat to advance.
Positive Role Models
Gamers can create and customize a main character -- including gender, class, skin tone, age, hair, body type, and several other options, allowing players to select how they'd like to be represented in the fantasy world. Characters must sometimes act violently to progress.
While human-like characters represent only a small number of living beings in Baldur's Gate 3, there's some variety in both the NPC (non-playable characters) and main characters, and the protagonist you build from scratch, if desired. This includes men and women and varying ethnicities and races, body types, and ages.
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Ease of Play
It's mostly an easy game to control (mouse and keyboard on computer version; wireless controller option). Movement in this 3D world takes a little getting used to, as it can be challenging (at first) to rotate the camera around to see past obscured areas, but this proves intuitive with practice. The game also has a tutorial, tips (during load screens), and varying difficulty settings.
Violence & Scariness
Like many Mature-rated fantasy role-playing games, Baldur's Gate 3 is quite violent. Weapons -- such as swords, a staff, magic, and more -- are used to hurt and kill opponents and can result in blood splatter. Scenes of dismembered corpses and cutscene sequences can be very graphic (decapitation, disembowelment, eyes gouged). Players can also make choices about how to torture other characters, but the actual act (like spear to the groin) isn't seen on-camera. There are some scary parts, including cutscenes that may border on "horror" for their frightening imagery and gore.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
At the start of the game, Baldur's Gate 3 gives players the option to agree to see nudity and sexual activity. If you agree to the warning, you'll see female characters with exposed breasts and buttocks, at least two scenes involving sexual activity, such as a character's head seen (from the back) near another character's groin (implied oral sex) or a character touching another person's genital area, but acts are more implied and taken off-screen. Another scene shows a naked couple on a beach, but the screen turns to black before any sexual activity. In the character customization, you can select genitalia options no matter the sex of the character selected (you can choose penis for woman or vagina for man), while a free third-party modification lets you enhance the size of a character's genitalia.
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The game does contain strong profanity in some of the dialogue sequences and/or cutscenes, including words like "f--k," "c--k," and "s--t."
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Products & Purchases
There's an enhanced version of the game that costs more since it contains additional content.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Baldur's Gate 3 is the third game in its series inspired by the popular tabletop game Dungeons & Dragons. It's rated "Mature" and features a good amount of violence, gore and explcit content. Combat requires weapons or magic to inflict hurt or kill opponents, and some non-playable scenes include gruesome imagery, such as dismembered or disemboweled corpses. Some of the cut-scene graphics may be frightening. The game gives players the option to opt into seeing sexual content, which includes nudity (genitals, bare breasts, and buttocks) and suggestive scenes (implied oral sex and consensual intercourse). Characters can also customize what their genitalia looks like. Baldur's Gate 3's dialog sequences may contain strong profanity, including "f—k," "s—t," and "c—k."
Is It Any Good?
Larian Studios' Baldur's Gate 3 is an exceptionally good game, providing a ton of depth and breadth for both novice players and serious RPG fans alike. Aside from some technical issues, which marred the experience on more than one occasion, there isn't much to complain about with this stellar game to play on your own or with friends. Expect to play this game for months rather than days or weeks, with its several hundred spells and attacks and seemingly limitless options on what to do and where to go as you aim to traipse your way through the three acts and evolve to Level 12. There's even more than 174 hours of cinematics, according to Larian Studios, ensuring an entertaining narrative based on your personal choices, and no two games will play out exactly alike. With the engaging combat (that may take some time to figure out) and some environmental puzzles that require light surveying and experimentation, the game exceeds in the character development, friendships with companions, and other relationships that may affect your path to success.
This game is masterful, not only in its stunning visuals, but also in its writing and musical score. Smooth performance relies on having the recommended specs of an Intel Core i7 or AMD r5 3600 processor, 16GB of system memory (RAM), Nvidia GTX/RX graphics card, and 150GB of available space (solid-state drive is required). A few freezes and crashes that are likely to happen, means progress isn't always saved and you may have to repeat some aspects of the game over again, which can prove frustrating. These performance issues can be improved after installing some downloaded patches to fix various technical bugs. Whether you've played its predecessors or are new to this series, Baldur's Gate 3 could be a classic if the bugs can be ironed out. Still, those who want a big, beautiful and dangerous fantasy world in which to explore, fight turn-based battles, and unravel an epic story in the process won't be disappointed.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.