What are the best games like Baldur’s Gate 3? One of the best RPGs of not just this year, but in recent memory, Larian Studios’ Baldur’s Gate 3 surprised many with its nuanced, epic story of Cthulu-like monsters infecting a party of memorable and diverse heroes with interdimensional magic worms. Based on the 5th Edition of Dungeons and Dragons, the third entry in this storied series computer role-playing game – or CRPG – provided dozens of hours of tactical spell-slinging, dice rolling, dialogue navigating, and gorgeous fantasy world exploring fun. And there’s a very real possibility that, if you played more than once with so many branching narratives and awesome classes to try, you’re likely hitting the hundreds of hours.
For PCGamesN, Paul Kelly called it an instant classic in our review. But what if you finished exploring Baldur’s Gate, the areas surrounding it, and another plane of existence or two besides? While there’s nothing quite like Baldur’s Gate 3 out there, more than a handful of games check the most important boxes: great companion characters, interesting worlds to explore, and deep RPG combat mechanics that we’ll sure you’ll love almost as much as adventuring through Faerun.
The best games like Baldur’s Gate 3 in 2023 are:
Baldur’s Gate 1 & Baldur’s Gate 2 Enhanced Editions
Did you know that the ‘3’ in Baldur’s Gate 3 means that there’s at least two other games? Believe it! The first two Baldur’s Gates, however, were developed by BioWare way back in 1998 and the year 2000, respectively. To say the original releases are a little dated is an understatement – but fret not. If you crave more adventures through Faerun, developer Beamdog released Enhanced Editions of both games that have a staggering amount of quality of life features along with a handful of new classes, characters, and areas besides. They’re the best way to play the original Baldur’s Gates today, and if you enjoyed the third entry, you’ll enjoy seeing familiar locales and friends – Jaheira and Minsc in particular.
Sure, the antiquated graphics and D&D 2nd Edition ruleset might take a little getting used to, but it isn’t an understatement to claim the first two Baldur’s Gates are some of the best CRPGs ever made that still provide dozens of hours of dungeon-delving fun.
Divinity: Original Sin 1 & Divinity: Original Sin 2
Before Larian Studios picked up the license for Baldur’s Gate 3, they made a handful of games in the Divinity series of RPGs. It wasn’t until 2014’s Divinity Original Sin and its 2017 sequel that they achieved worldwide critical and commercial success, thanks in part to both games’ stellar turn-based combat and vibrant worlds full of humor. Sound familiar? While both games are great, you don’t need to play the first to enjoy the second as it’s set 1200 years after.
With combat loosely based on D&D systems, the Original Sin games instead allot a certain amount of action points for characters to use up each turn in combat. At the same time, you’ll find your party must rely on the environment and elements more than in Baldur’s Gate 3 – spilling oil on the ground to trip up foes, igniting it to incarnate them, and putting it out with a water spell to create a defensive fog, for example. And for those that enjoyed playing Baldur’s Gate 3 with a friend, both Divinity games allow you to do so as well.
The best part, however, is how Larian allows you to break the game: want to spread your characters out and use teleport scrolls to chuck that ultra-hard boss into a distant pool of lava? Sure. Want to fill a chest up with hundreds of portraits of one of the game’s villains, making the chest weigh a ton, and then throw that heavy chest with telekinesis to one shot said villain? Be Larian’s guest.
Mass Effect Legendary Edition
If you haven’t already played the Mass Effect trilogy – what’s wrong with you? While it combines third-person shooting and heavy RPG mechanics rather than traditional isometric CRPG combat, no other game on this list rivals Baldur’s Gate 3 for such a diverse cast of interesting companions, compelling side characters, and insidious villains. If you like Gale, you’ll love Garrus. If Shadowheart is your virtual girl, you might end up replacing her with Liara or Tali. BioWare – yes, the same developers as the original Baldur’s Gates – put together one of the best casts in both sci-fi and RPG history. The Legendary Edition from 2021 puts all three games together in an updated, convenient package. Sure, the first Mass Effect is a little bit dated gameplay-wise, but the Legendary Edition provides a host of improvements that makes it more palatable.
Developer BioWare appears on this list a few times for good reason. They’re also parents to the Dragon Age trilogy, Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic, and Jade Empire – all of which would be at home on this list.
Pillars of Eternity & Pillars of Eternity: Deadfire
The first Pillars of Eternity, developed back in 2015 by Obsidian Entertainment – yes, the people behind Fallout: New Vegas – marked the return of CRPGs along with Divinity: Original Sin. It plays remarkably similar to Baldur’s Gate 3, though its battle systems and character creation differ more from D&D rather than make slight alterations. It too has a great cast of companions with their own stories to unravel: Durance the fiery war priest and the Grieving Mother, a strange woman that cannot normally be seen by other people, stand out among them. So too does the world of Eora and its many peoples and conflicts, with its soul manipulation and sadistic gods. The sequel picks up 5 years after the events of the first game, continuing the stories of most companions, and also introduces seafaring and island exploration.
Obsidian also developed several other games with similarities to Baldur’s Gate 3: Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords, Neverwinter Nights 2, and Tyranny. You can’t go wrong delving into their history for your RPG fix.
While the more recent Fallout games have shifted more toward a first-person perspective, Wasteland 3 maintains the isometric view and turn-based combat of a post-apocalyptic Colorado. Taking control of two rangers after an ambush wipes out your entire squad, you’re soon embroiled in a conflict between the Patriarch and his three children, and, in true RPG fashion, the choices you make drastically alter how that conflict plays out. Surprisingly nuanced with some great combat to boot, you’re only really missing some deep companions to grow to love.
While Wasteland 3 has connections to the previous two games, it largely stands on its own, meaning you don’t have to sink hundreds of hours to enjoy the third entry. That said, a remake of the 1988 original, Wasteland Remastered, came out in 2020, and Wasteland 2: Director’s cut came out in 2014 and is still very much playable.
Pathfinder: Kingmaker & Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous
The Pathfinder tabletop roleplaying games – for those unaware – are based on a modified version of D&D. Pathfinder takes quite a lot of liberties from it, and so the videogame versions of Pathfinder – most recently Kingmaker and Wrath of the Righteous – play both similarly and quite differently than something like Baldur’s Gate 3. These games released before Larian’s hit but didn’t receive as much fanfare, mostly because of the high learning curve of the Pathfinder system and the hit-and-miss writing. Kingmaker includes a rather in-depth Kingdom management mechanic, whereas Wrath of the Righteous has a military managing Crusade mode. Luckily, in Wrath of the Righteous, you can automate Crusade mode if you’d rather focus on exploring and tactical battles.
And unlike Pathfinder, if you want more dialogue, less action, and some philosophical hilarity set in one of the most unique worlds ever put into videogame form, Disco Elysium is the game for you. Waking up as a detective with substance-related amnesia, you are tasked with solving a murder with the help of Kim Kitsuragi, another detective with his laces tied a bit more straight. Unlike Baldur’s Gate 3, all ‘combat’ is handled through skill checks and dialogue trees, but the world of Elysium itself and the characters that house it are some of the most memorable and bizarre in video game history. It’s a game that requires methodical patience to see your amnesiac detective solve the murder as he learns more about himself, stumbling through encounters and trying to ignore his seemingly sentient necktie – if you invest in the Inland Empire skill, that is.
If you enjoyed Baldur’s Gate 3’s dialogue and the humor often found within, you’d be doing yourself a disservice to skip Disco Elysium. There’s a reason many claim it’s one of the best games ever made.
Shadowrun Hong Kong
A futuristic take on the genre, you can’t go wrong with any of the games in the Shadowrun CRPG Trilogy: Shadowrun Returns, Shadowrun Dragonfall, and Shadowrun Hong Kong. As each game isn’t dependent upon another, Shadowrun Hong Kong is the best way to experience the cyberpunk-and-magic mashup that makes up the base of Shadowrun’s story and combat. Once again, Shadowrun is a game that lacks memorable companion characters, but if Baldur’s Gate 3’s fantasy game aesthetic wore you out and you’d like something a little bit more sci-fi, Shadowrun’s action-point based combat will definitely scratch that cybernetic itch.
Shadowrun Hong Kong also features an incredibly in-depth level editor, which Baldur’s Gate 3 does not have, so if you want to create your own mini-campaigns to play with friends, this is the game for you.
Solasta: Crown of the Magister
You may not have heard of Solasta: Crown of the Magister, but aside from lacking a deep narrative, it shares many similarities with Baldur’s Gate 3, mostly in how it also bases its combat system off the D&D game‘s 5e. Instead of massive, predetermined maps to explore, Solasta features a bit of resource management as your highly customizable party of four sets out to explore a world still recovering from a cataclysm a thousand years prior. You select where to head on the world map and, if you have enough rations to reach it, you’ll arrive and be able to explore some concise maps filled with foes to defeat in grid-based combat – but be warned, random encounters will often trigger. If you’re itching for more character building and combat instead of story and exploration, Solasta is for you – especially with all the added DLC. Keep an eye on what developer Tactical Adventures does next as Solasta: Crown of the Magister is a great first effort.
These are the nine best CRPG (plus Mass Effect) series like Baldur’s Gate 3 that have had relatively recent re-releases and are easy to find on PC. While not all of them do everything just as well, they each feature similar gameplay or RPG goodness. As the genre continues to enter what looks like its second Golden Age thanks to Larian Studios, expect this list to grow in the coming years – and your free time to vaporize like it just got hit by a Disintegrate spell cast by Gale.
But maybe you’d rather just play Baldur’s Gate 3 again – if so, check out the 15 best Baldur’s Gate 3 mods available to make your next playthrough more unique. If you’ve still not scratched the itch, we’ve also got the best RPGs on PC, discovered through many hundreds of hours of gameplay.