It’s a good thing that Baldur’s Gate III is in Early Access, because the game has a number of issues to work out. Some of them — a lot of them, in fact — are technical. Graphical oddities, gameplay glitches and unclear installation processes are all present and accounted for, but that’s par for the course in an Early Access game. What’s a little more disappointing is that Baldur’s Gate III had the opportunity to make the series more accessible than ever for D&D newbies, but hasn’t really done so yet.

I played the introductory level of Baldur’s Gate III in Early Access on a press demo account, and I was left with mixed feelings about the whole experience. On the one hand, I’m thrilled to finally see the accessible 5th Edition rules for Dungeons & Dragons in a major video game. I’m equally pumped to revisit the Baldur’s Gate series after almost 20 years away. Baldur’s Gate III has an intriguing setup, and the character creator alone could eat up hours of your time before you craft the perfect protagonist.

On the other hand, I remember the novel-length instruction manuals for the first two Baldur’s Gate games, and just how much they did to keep prospective players at arm’s length. Rather than giving new players an easy on-ramp to a very complicated tabletop game, Baldur’s Gate III assumes at least a baseline familiarity with D&D before launching you right into the deep end.

(Image credit: Larian Studios)

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