Summary

  • Despite its ambitious storytelling and reactivity, Baldur’s Gate 3 struggles to account for everything, resulting in some outcomes that don’t match the overall quality of the game.
  • The culmination of the Dark Urge’s storyline in Act 3 is underwhelming when it comes to the reactions of companions, which are mild and don’t reflect the gravity of the scene.
  • Not only is the lackluster companion reactivity a problem in the Dark Urge’s redemption scene, but it extends to other important events and personal quests throughout the game, making companions feel disconnected from each other and the overall story.


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Although Baldur’s Gate 3 has plenty of standout story moments, one important scene misses the mark. As one of the biggest releases of 2023, and the GOTY winner at the 2023 Game Awards, Baldur’s Gate 3 has plenty of high points going for it, which can, unfortunately, make some of its lower points stick out even more. In spite of its ambitious storytelling and impressive reactivity to player choice, the game can sometimes struggle to account for everything, resulting in some outcomes that don’t match the quality of the rest of the experience.

Despite (or because of) its ambitious scale, the game can falter at some moments, most notably during Act 3 of Baldur’s Gate 3, where some players might notice a relative downturn in quality and a potentially awkward transition from the finale of the previous act. Moreover, while BG3 boasts an impressive amount of reactivity, accounting for player choice in a number of ways, some specific moments can end up feeling like the story doesn’t give them the appropriate amount of focus.

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The Dark Urge’s Redemption Scene Is Underwhelming

Particularly, the culmination of the Dark Urge’s storyline ends on an underwhelming note. After a lengthy buildup, including the reveal of the Dark Urge’s full backstory as a child of Bhaal, and the introduction of a direct rival, Orin, in the third act, the Dark Urge’s personal character quest ends with a one-on-one confrontation with Orin. Winning the duel results in the Dark Urge once again gaining the favor of Bhaal, who offers them power in exchange for servitude – which, on a “good” Dark Urge playthrough, players would be inclined to reject.

Rejecting the offer results in the Dark Urge’s death at the hands of Bhaal and subsequent resurrection by Withers in a genuine moment of redemption, a scene that caps off the Dark Urge’s storyline and sets up the character for the game’s final battles. While the scene in isolation is fine, however, one aspect of it is sorely lacking – the reactions of the companion characters. No matter who is in the party at the time of the scene, and regardless of the Dark Urge’s relationship with them, the reactions by the companions is, at best, underwhelming.

After the dramatic final confrontation between the Dark Urge and Orin, the rejection of Bhaal and the Durge’s subsequent death, and their miraculous revival by Withers, each companion character in the party will have, at most, a mildly congratulatory single line, awkwardly inserted into the conversation between the Durge and Withers. After journeying through the rest of the game with these companions, and likely helping them with their own personal quests, the reactions to the Dark Urge’s literal death, potentially even from a character they might be in a romantic relationship with, severely undercut the gravity of the scene.

Normally, each companion present in the player’s party at the time of the scene will react with a single line.

The lackluster companion reactions can be especially underwhelming because playing as the Dark Urge is likely the only “personal” storyline that players will experience – as noted by an infographic on the Baldur’s Gate 3 website, the vast majority of players play as custom characters, meaning they either experience the default “Tav” experience, which has an extremely limited personal story, or the more involved story of the Dark Urge. For being the only character storyline that players are likely to experience from a firsthand perspective, it’s disappointing that the companion reactions to the Durge’s redemption are so underwhelming.

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Companion Reactivity Is A Problem For More Than Just One Scene

Baldur's Gate 3 Player Chatting To Minsc In Baldur's Gate Camp During Daytime

Although companion reactivity is particularly disappointing in the Dark Urge’s redemption, the problem isn’t exclusive to just that one scene. Despite showing impressive reactivity in some moments, like Astarion’s reaction to being killed by the Blood of Lathander trap in Rosymorn Monastery and later resurrected, companion reactions to other important events across the game tend to be weaker than some players might expect – especially when it comes to other important plot points for Dark Urge playthroughs, or even personal quests for other companions.

Early in a Dark Urge playthrough, for example, there are some pivotal moments that set up the character’s struggles with their murderous tendencies and lack of memory, the most notable of which is the uncontrollable murder of Alfira by the Dark Urge (or the murder of Quil, if Alfira was knocked out). The following scene, where the companions discover Alfira’s murder, can go a number of ways, with the Durge either admitting to the murder or hiding their crime – either way, though, after a short dialogue, each companion will continue on mostly as normal.

The relative lack of reactivity can even extend to other companion quests – though companions might have some things to say about another companion’s story progression in camp, or brief interjections in certain dialogues, their overall involvement in each other’s quests is minimal. Going through Astarion’s personal quest in the third act, for example, can result in his death fueling Cazador’s ascendance – a fact which will only be briefly acknowledged by any present companions in one-off comments and lines.

On one hand, it’s relatively clear why the reactivity of companions is limited – increasing it to any significant degree would balloon the game’s scope, and could quickly become unmanageable to develop or lead to more bugs. But the consequence of the lacking companion reactivity is that, outside their personal story quests, the companions of Baldur’s Gate 3 can quickly start to seem like relatively one-note characters who are just along for the ride, sometimes not even really seeming like they’re strongly connected to each other.

In more drastic cases, this can lead to nonsensical events like the heroic Wyll just watching without comment as a Dark Urge player character horrifically mutilates an innocent NPC. The reactions of companions to important events, like the Dark Urge’s redemption, can have the opposite of their intended effect, making pivotal narrative scenes feel less important than they should. While the various companions of Baldur’s Gate 3 have strong individual stories, their limited reactions to events outside their personal quests can hinder the story, as it does in the most important scene of the Dark Urge storyline.

Source: Baldur’s Gate 3

Baldur’s Gate 3

Developed and published by Larian Studios, Baldur’s Gate 3 is an upcoming role-playing game set to release in August of 2023. Players will create a character to embark on a large-scale journey and can do so solo or cooperatively with a friend. Combat is a turn-based style this time around.

Released
August 31, 2023

Developer(s)
Larian Studios

Publisher(s)
Larian Studios

ESRB
M

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