Although there are caveats, Baldur’s Gate 3 is worth playing on PS5 if you don’t have a PC to run it on.
Baldur’s Gate 3 is an excellent game. The PC version of Larian Studios’ D&D epic could easily be one of the frontrunners in the game of the year debate come December. The PlayStation 5 version offers a similar experience, at least if you don’t have a PC powerful enough to run the game well. That said, it definitely has more technical issues than the PC version, though most of the ones I encountered weren’t game-breakers.
The biggest culture shock between the PC and PS5 is playing with the controller, which uses the same control scheme that you can now use on the PC. After spending over 100 hours playing the game on PC with mouse and keyboard, I feel like DualSense is a pain to use the buttons in a game with so many actions to use and menus to scroll through, but the more time I spend with Baldur’s Gate 3 with a controller, the faster my brain instinctively relearns how to pull out my favourite spells, access different functions and navigate Faerűn from the comfort of my couch.
Baldur’s Gate 3 still feels the most intuitive when you can quickly point and click on the enemy you want to blast with your Eldritch Blast, but Larian has made the most of the input at its disposal.
The combat and movement are usable, but I had much more trouble with small tasks like examining small objects in a crowded environment. In one of the early side missions in Baldur’s Gate 3’s first instalment, my team of Mind Flayer tadpole-infested freaks were searching a witch’s lair and had to find a specific wand among the villain’s belongings. Scouring a table covered in trinkets is much easier if you just click on it, but using a controller requires more button presses just to grab an item off the table.
Pressing the d-pad lets me focus on objects in my environment and scroll through them like any other menu, but I definitely feel like it’s an adjustment to not having a mouse to just click on things.
Luckily, there is a cursor mode that allows you to emulate using a mouse, but it’s not as precise or fast. I definitely think that anyone playing Baldur’s Gate 3 on console for the first time will be more than happy with these tools; I just find myself feeling momentary frustration with the setup occasionally.
Baldur’s Gate 3 – with controller
While playing with the controller was an adjustment, I did notice some general technical issues on the PlayStation 5 that weren’t game-breaking, but at least represented a noticeable drop in performance and fidelity compared to the game’s PC counterpart. Each of these problems were minor in themselves, but over time, they combined to have a noticeable effect. There are graphical issues such as texture pop-in and elements such as some characters’ faces only appearing in reduced detail.
I noticed this, particularly during some side missions, where even characters you can have long conversations with don’t look as good as they do on PC.
In the same witch mission, I rescued a girl called Mayrina from the clutches of a witch and had lengthy conversations with her, during which it was clear that the detail of her face and hair had been stripped back a little for PlayStation 5. Such adaptations are relatively standard; in return, Baldur’s Gate 3 runs at a pretty stable 60fps in performance mode, although if you want something a little more faithful at the expense of framerate, that option is there.
The more questionable issues were less to do with overall technical performance and more to do with a higher frequency of bugs than I experienced in Baldur’s Gate 3’s PC playthrough.
The sound mixing is a strange technical glitch, but it doesn’t ruin the experience of Baldur’s Gate 3 on PlayStation 5. The weirdest glitch I encountered, which is, unfortunately, a regular occurrence, was in the dialogue selection. As I bounced between saves during my Baldur’s Gate 3 runs, I encountered a few moments where dialogue selection was interrupted in a way that I couldn’t resolve with a roll of the dice. A couple of times, I got involved in a conversation (thankfully, nothing that could turn hostile), and instead of being given multiple choices, I was presented with only one option, “1. Continue.”
Selecting this is obviously a dialogue option that should appear, but is hidden due to a bug.
In every case where this happened to me, there was minor interaction, and if I reloaded a save, it (sometimes) fixed the problem, but if it persists in life-changing decisions or relationship-altering moments, it can fundamentally undermine the experience of Baldur’s Gate 3.
I’ve spoken to a few people who apparently rarely encountered this glitch on PC, but I myself never saw it, then experienced it a handful of times in quick succession over a few hours of play on PlayStation 5.
Buggy or not buggy?
Whether you experience video game bugs or not, especially in a game with as many systems as Baldur’s Gate 3, often depends on luck. I played Baldur’s Gate 3 relatively painlessly on PC, and Larian could still release a patch that fixed over 1000 bugs, most of which I never saw. I can’t say for sure if the problems on PS5 are just my fault, or if it’s because some of the bugs are more glaring in this console port.
However, Larian Studios is aware of this particular issue, the occurrence of which in my PS5 playtime is probably the biggest warning as to whether or not I would recommend playing Baldur’s Gate 3 on the system.
That said, it’s a relief to finally be able to play Baldur’s Gate 3 from my couch. I’m still working on the second playthrough, and being able to sit back and relax for a while while I play through the missions and stories I missed the first time around is a real treat. But more than that, I’m looking forward to seeing more people experience this game. The rougher edges of the PlayStation 5 are probably in my head because I spent so much time playing it on a decent PC, but if you were worried that the console version would undercut the experience, you won’t find that here.