A week ago, I finally completed my first playthrough of Baldur’s Gate 3. After investing approximately 120 hours, I finally got to experience one of the Baldur’s Gate 3 endings.
Before I delve into this article, I must caution you not to proceed if you haven’t finished this game or similar cRPGs like the Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire, Pathfinder: Kingmaker, or even Divinity: Original Sin 2 – for comparison’s sake – as I may inadvertently spoil the ending for you. Rest assured, I won’t discuss the specific content or story details of the endings, but I will mention how other cRPGs handle their conclusions and compare them to Baldur’s Gate 3.
So, even though this might not be a major spoiler, consider this your final warning if you wish to continue reading.
For what it’s worth, I’m a fervent fan of single-player, story-driven RPGs. Consequently, I’m also a big enthusiast of cRPGs, as they typically emphasize complex narratives, rich lore, and well-developed characters, in addition to intricate gameplay mechanics.
Games like Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire stand as the lengthiest titles in my Steam Library. Divinity: Original Sin 2 holds the third spot for most-played games. I also hold deep affection for titles such as Tyranny, Neverwinter Nights 1 and 2, Dragon Age: Origins, Pathfinder: Kingmaker, and Wrath of the Righteous. I’ve even ventured into the realm of less popular cRPGs like Solasta and Shadowrun Returns.
In essence, I’ve explored numerous cRPGs, and I’ve developed certain expectations for Baldur’s Gate 3. Little did I know that my expectations for BG3’s endings were set unrealistically high.
I do commend Larian Studios for their efforts to make Baldur’s Gate 3 more accessible to a broader, mainstream audience. They’ve incorporated a substantial amount of voiced dialogue and narration, a departure from the dense walls of text often found in other cRPGs. The game’s exceptional graphics and numerous cutscenes also contribute significantly to its appeal to a broader audience. However, it becomes disappointing when Larian oversimplifies the ending with just a few cutscenes.
One aspect I believe should remain a tradition in cRPGs is providing closure in the endings. While it’s true that many cRPGs present endings with slides and walls of text, these walls of text offer satisfactory closures. Even games like Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire, which offer different endings for major cities and factions, not just for our companions, manage to provide meaningful conclusions. Divinity: Original Sin 2 also achieves this through its slides and text-based closures. Pathfinder: Kingmaker follows a similar path.
However, in Baldur’s Gate 3, not even our companions receive the closure they deserve. Some characters, such as Jaheira and Minsc, aren’t even mentioned in the ending.
In my honest opinion, it would have been better to stick with the traditional approach of slides and text-based conclusions, as long as they offer satisfying closures, rather than opting for visually impressive cutscenes that lack completeness.
The ending of Baldur’s Gate 3 is genuinely disappointing. It diminishes the game’s overall quality on many levels, at least for me. Without considering the ending, Baldur’s Gate 3 could have easily ranked among the top two cRPGs I’ve played. However, considering the ending, I wouldn’t even place it in the top 10. The story serves as the driving force in a cRPG, and the ending plays a pivotal role in crafting a memorable narrative.
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What compounds this disappointment is that Larian Studios seems to allocate an excessive amount of effort to irrelevant NPCs. In my view, Larian should have concentrated their efforts on the ending rather than assigning names and voices to irrelevant NPCs. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case, and it’s genuinely frustrating.
In conclusion, it would undoubtedly enhance the game if Larian Studios were to rework the entire ending by incorporating slides and text to provide closure for many characters who deserve it, in addition to the existing cutscenes. However, considering the multitude of possible endings, I hold little hope or expectation for this outcome. I’ve come to terms with the fact that even a great game can be marred simply by simplifying the ending to cater to a more mainstream audience.