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Biggest Baldur's Gate 3 gameplay preview yet has goblin ambushes, death saves, and the Underdark

(Image credit: Larian Studios)

An extensive Baldur's Gate 3 gameplay preview shows how the game is shaping up as its Early Access debut nears.

The nearly hour and a half long video preview led off Wizards of the Coast's official D&D Live 2020 presentation, coming just days after Larian Studios gave a new cinematic look at the game and confirmed its Early Access release window of August (maybe). Played and presented by Larian Studios founder Swen Vincke, this preview has some cinematic moments too - but far more of the "oh crap why did I do that" and "this worked out better than I possibly could have planned" moments that underscore so many real-life D&D campaigns.

The preview starts with a few interactions between the party members at camp; this is early in the game and nobody is particularly pleased to be in each others' company, but you're united in your efforts to remove the creepy tadpoles from your brains that are going to turn you all into tentacle-faced Mindflayers. The party makes its way to a village and walks into a goblin ambush - then everything goes sidewise from there, including plenty of death saves.

New in this preview is Baldur's Gate 3's revised initiative system: Vincke explains that it uses a more traditional turn order, though now party members that are close together at the start of a round can act on the same turn, allowing them to team up for tactical maneuvers. Sounds much better suited for a video game than the old "I'm going to ready an attack for when my buddy gets close to it" song and dance.

The preview covers several combat encounters as well as some conversations with the village's goblin invaders. The last few minutes are spent in the trippy, giant-mushroom-studded Underdark, after Vincke's avatar takes an ill-advised jump down a big hole at the bottom of a cavern. It's all still early days for Baldur's Gate 3, but so far, so D&D.

Find something to play while you wait in our list of the best PC games.

Connor has been doing news and feature things for GamesRadar+ since 2012, which is suddenly a long time ago. How on earth did that happen?