Since its full launch on Steam and GOG for Windows PC players last week, Larian Studios' Baldur's Gate 3 has rapidly become one of the most successful releases of 2023. Thanks to a tidal wave of pre-launch excitement and years of Early Access goodwill, the player count of the gargantuan Dungeons & Dragons CRPG's has skyrocketed into the hundreds of thousands. In fact, according to SteamDB data, the game peaked at an astounding 814,666 players over the weekend, putting it squarely in Steam's top 10 most-played games list.
The success has been incredible to see, especially since Baldur's Gate 3 defies game industry trends and delivers a deep and satisfying fantasy RPG experience that many have been craving. Notably, PS5 players will be able to join in on the fun come September 6, though Xbox fans will unfortunately have to wait much longer to jump into the Forgotten Realms.
The reason why is a technical one; Larian is struggling to get the game's co-op functionality working on Xbox Series S, and since Microsoft requires developers to launch games on both Xbox Series X and S with feature parity, it's not something Larian can simply omit from the Series S version in order to launch on Microsoft's consoles. It'll be a long while — potentially 2024, even — before Baldur's Gate 3 comes to Xbox.
That's a huge bummer for fans that've been looking forward to one of the biggest RPG launches of the year, but don't worry. Xbox players hungry to feast on Larian's latest masterpiece can (and should!) chow down on Divinity: Original Sin 2, the studio's previous 2017 RPG epic, in the meantime.
Like Baldur's Gate 3, Divinity: Original Sin 2 is a massive D&D-style RPG with some of the richest writing, world design, and combat mechanics you'll find in all of gaming. Featuring 14 distinct classes to pick from, a 60-150 hour long campaign with incredible characters and countless branching paths, tons of environments to discover and explore, and more, it will undoubtedly be one of the best titles you ever play.
At its core, Divinity: Original Sin 2 promotes and encourages player freedom by allowing you to engage with its world however you see fit. Everyone and everything in Rivellon can be talked to or interacted with, and doing so often reveals valuable secrets or hidden paths forward. The choices you make during these encounters lead to one of many different consequences (the replay value here is excellent), and ultimately, there's nothing that the game doesn't let you do. You could kill everyone in the game without locking your progress, if you wanted to.
The turn-based battles are just as nuanced, with hundreds of different weapons, armors, spells, and skills available to choose from depending on the type of character you're playing as. Environmental hazards and mechanics such as backstab critical hits or damage bonuses on ranged attacks from high ground add even more depth, and encourage you to get creative with your party's tactics. The learning curve is rather steep, but once you get the hang of how everything works, you'll have a blast.
Divinity lets you put together a party of companions to adventure with if you're playing solo, but the game also fully supports co-op between four players with custom characters just like Baldur's Gate 3 does (local co-op for two is an option, as well). There's even a Game Master Mode, which essentially allows someone to act as a Dungeon Master by creating custom scenarios to play through.
The wait for Baldur's Gate 3 on Xbox will certainly be a frustrating one, but with Divinity: Original Sin 2 on the table, you won't be left without a masterfully crafted D&D-based RPG to enjoy. It's a ton of fun, and if you're new to games like Larian's, diving into Divinity will help get you acclimated with the studio's design style ahead of Baldur's Gate 3's Xbox arrival.
The version of the game that's on console is the Definitive Edition, which elevated many of the game's quests and storylines with additional dialogue, added some additional tutorial segments, and fixed several performance issues when it launched in 2018. True to its name, it's the best version of what is unquestionably one of the best Xbox games and best PC games for RPG lovers.
Divinity: Original Sin 2 is available now on Xbox systems for $50. You can get it for $5 less if you have a gaming PC to play it on, but in that case...why aren't you playing Baldur's Gate 3? (You should play both!)
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