Baldur’s Gate 3 Is Secretly The Best Dating Sim Ever Made

I know that Baldur’s Gate 3 wants me to reach its titular city, get the parasitic worm out of my head, and eventually save the entire realm, but that’s a lot of important life stuff to do when I could instead be smooching my besties in camp and doing everything I can to win their love.


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Love might not make the world go round, but it is the driving force in Larian’s acclaimed RPG as I slowly progress through my first playthrough. I’m long resting way more than I should be purely to unlock new cutscenes and relationship developments for certain characters. I’m not playing the game how it’s meant to be played, but I’m having a jolly good time simping for all of my allies, and it seems they’re just as happy to return the favour. I haven’t shagged any of them yet though, I’m waiting for the one despite being a whirlwind of obvious flirts and cutesy glances across the campfire. I even let vampires suck my blood in my sleep like a good girl.

Related: Baldur’s Gate 3 Has Made Me Want To Mass Murder Characters In Starfield

I’m only slightly ashamed to admit that I was a deplorable weeaboo in my teenage years. My walls were filled with posters from Megami magazine, and I’d frequently jump into Skype calls with friends to talk about the latest season’s shows and what classics I need to catch up on. I wasn’t lame enough to have a waifu, although I guess that isn’t that different to thousands of us now dripping wet for Karlach. She could be my wife, burns and all. What I’m getting at is I was hovering around embarrassing corners of the internet from a young age, and that meant I also partook in a visual novel or two in my spare time. As the name suggests, these games are basically interactive books with thousands of words defined by player choices and routes for designated characters. The majority of time, you’d be seeking to romance at least one of them.

Baldur's Gate 3 Shadowheart Romance

Clannad, Higurashi: When They Cry, and The Fruits of Grisaia are a few Japanese titles that made a splash overseas following anime adaptations, while more hardcore players could be found conjuring up translation patches for smaller efforts likely never destined for global release. This was before the days of Danganronpa and Doki Doki Literature Club, in an age before the genre was more widely accepted and understood as being more than ‘make right choices and you’ll eventually have sex with the imaginary girl you like’ game.

Western RPGs from developers like BioWare helped pioneer the appeal of romantic relationships with allies across adventures that lasted dozens of hours, rewarding the player with an alluring shot of side boob and some heart-to-heart conversations for seeing things through to the end. This always felt like a development which not only drew inspiration from visual novels, but hoped to remove much of the weird reputation surrounding them. Which is perpetuated by an unwillingness to give them a chance and an unrecognised ignorance towards a genre the Western world perhaps wasn’t quite ready for. Once again though, things have changed for the better.

Baldur’s Gate 3 feels like a new benchmark for games like this, taking the torch from BioWare in more ways than one. Not only is it an RPG where every single choice you make matters and feeds into an ever-changing world and sprawling cast of characters, it also encourages romantic conquests with many of its heroes. Shadowheart, Lae’zel, Gale, Karlach, Astarion, and pretty much every character in the game has become an object of obsession for fans, both for their sumptuous looks and stories hiding several layers of sophisticated writing and emotional development.

We’re well aware that sexy times will be coming, but much like the visual novels of old in which similar obsessions were developed over cute anime girls with their own routes to walk, it’s only part of what makes a game like this so special. We appreciate its approach to relationship dynamics, sex, and intimacy because it meets us on our level, whether we want to take it slow or be unstoppable fires of hornyness who will stop at nothing to get our rocks off.

Baldur's Gate 3 Astarion Romance

Larian already admitted to TheGamer that the game wasn’t meant to be so horny when it launched, but never said anything about it not being capable of going there. It dances to a tune of your own making, changing steps depending on who you decide to romance or if it ends up morphing into a fantastical polycule of traumatised witches and grumpy lizard girls who want to fuck you as much as kill you. It proves that sex in video games doesn’t need to be inherently juvenile, and can be an important part of helping characters grow and express themselves like dating sims of old which once had to operate in obscurity.

Next: Baldur’s Gate 3 Is Just As Bloody, Bodacious, And Brilliant On PS5

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