Resisting the Dark Urge in Baldur's Gate 3 is the most fulfilling RPG experience

Baldur's Gate 3
(Image credit: Larian)

There have been several occasions where I've stumbled upon something new in Baldur's Gate 3 that completely passed me by in previous playthroughs. In fact, pretty much every run has presented me with something I haven't seen before. Maybe that's why I didn't even think to feel a sense of dread when Alfria, the loveable tiefling bard, appeared at my camp for the very first time. I remember thinking: how have I missed out on having one of my favorite NPCs join me all this time? Maybe I hadn't slept at camp enough for this to trigger in Act 1, or perhaps my actions at the Grove triggered something new. I foolishly felt excited as I went over to my bedroll to end the day… but, oh hell, was I in for a very nasty wakeup call.  

Why on earth didn't I even suspect that it was all connected to the fact that I was playing as the Dark Urge for the first time? I'd finally steeled myself to try out the unique Origin after hearing so much about it. As someone who opts to be 'good' in virtual worlds, I admittedly shied away from the idea for a long time. Sure, I've taken the renegade path in Mass Effect, and I've made questionable decisions in other adventures like The Witcher 3, but the Dark Urge just sounded so… bloodthirsty. Still, my curiosity got the better of me, and with so much love for Larian's RPG, I've been determined to experience the Sword Coast from every possible angle. 

But as I sat there with my hand firmly clamped over my mouth in shock, I did start to wonder if I'd made the right decision. The Dark Urge had just reared its ugly head for the first time, and poor Alfira was my innocent victim. The innate desire to kill had apparently bubbled up to the surface overnight in the most vicious and gory way, and a lot of blood was on my hands. Little did I know at this point that what I would decide to do next would set me on the path to experiencing the most fulfilling and rewarding way to play Baldur's Gate 3. 

Rebellious child 

Baldur's Gate 3

(Image credit: Larian Studios)

The beauty of playing an RPG like Baldur's Gate 3 is the amount of freedom and choice it offers. It really puts an emphasis on role-playing, with a myriad of ways to shape your adventure. From picking classes, to deciding who you want to romance, and so much more, the scope of it has kept me coming back for more time and again. Naturally, this also applies to the Dark Urge run. 

You may have these violent impulses, but you don't have to succumb to them. Whether you embrace them or resist is entirely up to you, and they'll shape how your journey to rid the tadpole from your brain and go up against the Absolute cultists will unfold. So, in the bloody aftermath of my unfortunate bout of murder in camp, I made a firm decision: I'm not going to give in; I'm going to fight against this urge. I'm going to role-play as a Tav who doesn't want this curse and is determined to push back against that voice that tells them to kill. 

My first act to see this through was to come clean to my party members. I'm not going to hide Alfira's body, or clean the blood from hands. With no memories, or any idea why I have this innate need to kill, I figured outright telling them would be the best solution. Perhaps they could help me work out how to fight against this. Naturally the conversation brought some tension to camp, and everyone (bar Astarion) was pretty wary of me. But honesty is the best policy. 

From that point on, I was constantly fighting against the Urge in any way I could. From avoiding any dialogue options that would feed the fiendish thoughts, to outright refusing to take lives when pushed to by my nefarious butler, Scelertias Fel
- who's an unquestionably bad influence who tries to instruct you to give into your urges for your "inheritance". Of course, your actions will have consequences should you resist your urges, but they actually make it all the more rewarding. 

Baldur's Gate 3

(Image credit: Larian Studios)

In one instance, your refusal to kill will put your closest companion potentially at risk. I've never felt more on edge about rolling a successful dice check in any run I've played so far, but the scene is one the best moments in Baldur's Gate 3. In my case, it was Astarion, who after realizing I was so desperately trying to avoid killing him, helped me fight against my dark desires. The conversation that unfolded afterwards felt so intimate and meaningful, bringing us ever closer as my Tav shared their difficult burden. 

I don't want to spoil much more than I already have, but things get really interesting in Act 3 when you finally learn the truth of your Origin and make one final big decision that will determine your path once and for all - and even potentially the fate of the Sword Coast with it. But my commitment to resist remains unshaken, and seeing my efforts pay off in one of the biggest confrontations you have in the closing section of the game made for the most fulfilling moment I've had in any run so far, both in terms of the story, and from a role-playing perspective.  

I've come to discover, playing as the Dark Urge is satisfying in multiple ways. It really does change up the feel of the adventure, with so many unique interactions and lines of dialogue to experience that are entirely geared towards the Origin. Your backstory also makes you an integral part of the plot in a new and unexpected way, which has finally made me appreciate what my colleague Jasmine Gould-Wilson was going about when she argued that the Dark Urge is the canon story of Baldur's Gate 3

Sometimes taking the path of least resistance is the way to go, but when it comes to the Dark Urge, fighting against your innate instincts makes for the very best way to experience Baldur's Gate 3. Maybe someday, if I can stomach it, I'll give into those urges in another run and see what chaos I can sow. But for now, I'll revel in the thrill of pushing back against the path that was intended for me, safe in the knowledge that Alfira was the last victim of the Urge. 

After 400 hours in Baldur's Gate 3, I made one big decision that led me to a Lord of the Rings-style battle.

Heather Wald
Senior staff writer

I started out writing for the games section of a student-run website as an undergrad, and continued to write about games in my free time during retail and temp jobs for a number of years. Eventually, I earned an MA in magazine journalism at Cardiff University, and soon after got my first official role in the industry as a content editor for Stuff magazine. After writing about all things tech and games-related, I then did a brief stint as a freelancer before I landed my role as a staff writer here at GamesRadar+. Now I get to write features, previews, and reviews, and when I'm not doing that, you can usually find me lost in any one of the Dragon Age or Mass Effect games, tucking into another delightful indie, or drinking far too much tea for my own good.