To say that our team at GamingTrend loved the PC version of Baldur’s Gate III would be an understatement. Our Editor-in-Chief gave it a solid 100. You can read the review he and David Flynn did here for all the details about story, gameplay, and more. However, quite a few of our staff didn’t get the chance to play through this game, and we awaited the release on console. Well, that day has come. The PS5 version is here, so let’s see how it looks, feels, and plays.
I decided to bring on my partner Regan as my partner-in-crime for the PS5 release. Regan has a huge Dungeons & Dragons knowledge base, while I come from the video gaming side, so we had two completely different types of players going into this playthrough.
For some backstory, let’s take a look at what Ron Burke had to say, “While not a direct sequel, Baldur’s Gate 3 takes place roughly 100 years after the events of Shadows of Amn, directly following the events of the Descent into Avernus. Once again the city of Baldur’s Gate is under attack, this time by the mysterious and malevolent mind-controlling Illithid. Dubbed “mind flayers”, these monsters have kidnapped the residents of Baldur’s Gate. You are one of those residents, and unfortunately for you, your situation only gets worse from here…”
Splitscreen allowed us to play together with two controllers on the screen. We each got a half of the TV for the entire playthrough unless we joined in on a conversation. With that, you can play this game quite differently splitscreen than solo. We tried some things where I would go one way to explore, and Regan would go another. We split up several times which was fun to get things done, but did lead to at least one of us missing the story from the other’s tasks. Meanwhile, we traveled together a lot, which was great for story, but sometimes slowed us down from a task management angle. There are so many ways to play. While the first player gets some of the major perks cutscene-wise, the second player can talk to people just as easily. When I say major perks, I mean that Player 1 generally gets the main sound moments for their Guardian conversations while Player 2 can still talk but cannot hear the Guardian speak. While on the main world areas though, conversations are shared between both people.
We really enjoyed playing splitscreen because we could see what the other was thinking during their turn. As the D&D person, Regan was able to teach me some of the things my character (a Beastmaster Rogue Elf) could do and how to maximize. Meanwhile, I picked up on things watching them play their character, an Oath of Ancients Paladin Tiefling.
As a whole, the game plays very smoothly on PS5. Everything in the game is running at 60 FPS except for the third act, which they’ve already announced will have a patch to bring it up to 60 FPS. The only other exception we found was in summoning characters or major spellcasting while in splitscreen. Playing a Beastmaster Rogue, I had a lovely wolf friend I could summon and a familiar. When summoning, the game stalls to a complete halt, you hear a very loud whistle, and then the wolf slowly appears. The other time we felt lag was while switching characters. We shared companions, so any time we switched to our second character, the game would pause for 4-8 seconds as it switched, pausing the game for the second person as well. While these did not impede our playthrough, it will be easier to play if you’re not a caster on Splitscreen. Conjuration simply slows down the gameplay too much in this mode.
The controls were extremely easy to pick up quickly and understand the layout. Both Regan and I had no trouble figuring it out and it became second nature. You’ll use RB and LB for everything you can do in the world, while RT gets you to the menu for things like leveling up, long rests, etc. I also really loved the ability to freely roam with the controller. You don’t have to point and click to move around, you just move the left stick as you would with most games. This made exploring quite easy.
Something that we found was that if there is a cutscene meant only for one person, the other person cannot “listen” to the conversation like you normally can. For example, Regan got a cutscene from a devil about the task we were on, however, when I walked over to join the conversation, we got a bright white screen and couldn’t see what was happening. When I left the conversation, it went back to normal but only on Regan’s side of the screen. There is a box you can check in settings to fix this in general, but we did find that even after checking the box, we still had a few that did not change.
Additionally, myself, Richard Allen, and Abdul Saad did some of the online multiplayer. You will need a Playstation Online account to play with others. During this time, we found out some cool features for the multiplayer mode. First, the game is extremely smooth in Multiplayer with none of us feeling any lag or stuttering during our almost thirty minutes of gameplay. Casting didn’t face as much of a challenge since the screen is only showing one player and not two like in splitscreen. Second, we found out each of us could have a companion, meaning that with a full party, you could have up to eight players on screen at a time. Multiplayer just worked, and that’s something that seems like a rarity these days. It will be something we want to continue playing together in the future.
As a whole, it seems like the PS5 version of the game takes the joy of playing Baldur’s Gate III and makes it accessible to a new audience. While there are some framerate issues/lag spikes while casting in splitscreen, and some small quality of life issues, these are all things that did not stop us from having a wonderful time playing D&D together for hours on end.
Baldur’s Gate III is now available for PS5.
Adam is a musician and gamer who loves his partner in crime, Regan, and their two pets Rey and Finn. Adam is a fan of Star Wars, Mass Effect, NFL Football, and gaming in general. Follow Adam on Twitter @TheRexTano.
Baldur's Gate 3
Baldur’s Gate III is a wonderfully crafted game now jumping on the Playstation 5. The addition of Splitscreen Co-Op makes for an entirely new way to play with a friend. While Splitscreen has some issues with lag during casting and conjuration, there was nothing that stopped us from playing hours and hours together. Online Multiplayer is a breeze to set up and works so well considering how much goes into Baldur’s Gate III as a whole. If you're looking to jump into the world of Baldur’s Gate but don't have a PC built for it, the PS5 version is here to save the day.