350 hours and 5 playthroughs later, Baldur's Gate 3 is still music to my ADHD

BG3 Wyll and Gale talk
(Image credit: Larian Studios)

Watching Nightsong take flight still gives me chills. I've been here before, gazing at Baldur's Gate 3's gold-veined aasimar as she soars through the skies of the shadow-cursed lands, and I know everything story-wise that comes after. I've seen a fair bit of the Sword Coast during my 350 in-game hours, but as I get warmed up for my fifth playthrough, I'm excited as ever to play Baldur's Gate 3.

Class or race-specific dialogue shapes how the world responds to me. I've still yet to experience all the side quest material, and don't even get me started on the myriad BG3 romance pathways. I find it hard to sit down and focus on most things, unless I have an active interest in what I'm doing, but my terrible attention span seems to be finally taking a rest. The feeling of never having seen everything on offer in Baldur's Gate 3 is enough to keep me coming back to it, and it's keeping my voracious ADHD  extremely well-fed.

In the zone

Larian Studios

(Image credit: Larian Studios)
Fall of the house of hope

Baldur's Gate 3 Raphael deals

(Image credit: Larian Studios)

I'm still thinking about the best boss fight in Baldur's Gate 3.

I'm not the only one whose BG3 adventure didn't stop when the credits first rolled. Larian's sprawling RPG seems to have normalized multiple playthroughs like no other (except maybe Skyrim), but I've always loved replaying certain games for the sheer fact that I become flat-out obsessed with them.

Resident Evil Village is the last game I replayed to death. Something about the familiarity of its characters, systems, and settings is soothing to me, with the added impetus of speedrun challenges or weapon-specific constraints to keep me feeling accomplished. Action games are usually the ones I return to the most, being prone to a touch of RPG fatigue and preferring shorter runs to months-long campaigns, but the chaotic way that I'm playing Baldur's Gate 3 means I'm somehow getting both.

Typically, once I wring every last drop of dopamine out of a game, I forget about it. I haven't touched Village since the DLC came out last year, despite having played it 12 times in-a-row over the course of one month in 2021. Such are the demands of my restless prefrontal cortex: I want equal parts familiarity, comfort, and something totally different. Consider me bored out of my skull, otherwise.

That's where Baldur's Gate 3 comes out on top. It's hard to put my finger on any one reason why, but I'm happy to give it a shot. It's been over three months since it came out and I have yet to grow weary of Larian's finest. The companions feel like old friends, ones I get to revisit anytime I want and interact with in new, yet familiar ways. I've memorized a few characters' lines – Raphael, I'm looking at you – to the point that it's like rewatching a favorite movie and mouthing along word for word. 

Baldur's Gate 3

(Image credit: Larian Studios)

Experiencing each BG3 companion's story through new eyes can still bring new revelations. Dating Shadowheart as her perfect nemesis revealed a late-game plotpoint way ahead of schedule, while dating the nicest guy in camp as my BG3 Dark Urge character uncovered some darker sides to his personality, too. These characters have an unmistakable life to them, and the fact that I'm still learning who they are despite chipping away at them for 350 hours is one thing that keeps me coming back to Baldur's Gate 3.

Re-exploring maps I know like the back of my hand offers a deep sense of satisfaction, but it's even better when I come across something brand new entirely. Many find it too cruel to justify, but recruiting Minthara in Baldur's Gate 3 was a brilliant way for me to change up the game's second act. Minthara's prison break section in Moonrise Towers is kind of similar to that of the tieflings, had I not slaughtered them all to get Minthara on my side, but getting to explore the depths of the game's least-popular companion just gave me more to love about it.

Where other fad interests have faded, Baldur's Gate 3 has stood fast.

While recruiting Minthy was bloody work that killed off a lot of quest givers, the lack of Act 2 side content gave me plenty of time to explore its shadowy depths. It was here that I came across the mysterious He Who Was, as well as a secret underground altar to Shar hidden in the cursed town center. It's a small detour, but one that felt magical almost because it had taken me so long to even know that it existed. 

In short, Baldur's Gate 3 has finally silenced my ADHD. This condition has long been the biggest thorn in my side, either by making my brain throw up a concrete wall and emphatic "no" in the face of unfavorable tasks, or by clinging to the closest source of stimulation like some sort of vampire bat that craves distraction. Finding something, let alone a huge RPG, that brings me sustained joy, interest, and engagement is a precious rare find for me. Where other fad interests have faded, Baldur's Gate 3 has stood fast, and it seems likely to keep doing so. At least, of course, until Hades 2 and its punchy roguelike dynamics start flirting with me.

Achievement-hunting is a mainstay of my BG3 replays, and its most challenging trophy is also the most morally rewarding.

Jasmine Gould-Wilson
Staff Writer, GamesRadar+

Jasmine is a staff writer at GamesRadar+. Raised in Hong Kong and having graduated with an English Literature degree from Queen Mary, University of London in 2017, her passion for entertainment writing has taken her from reviewing underground concerts to blogging about the intersection between horror movies and browser games. Having made the career jump from TV broadcast operations to video games journalism during the pandemic, she cut her teeth as a freelance writer with TheGamer, Gamezo, and Tech Radar Gaming before accepting a full-time role here at GamesRadar. Whether Jasmine is researching the latest in gaming litigation for a news piece, writing how-to guides for The Sims 4, or extolling the necessity of a Resident Evil: CODE Veronica remake, you'll probably find her listening to metalcore at the same time.