By Chris Picone, 02 September 2021
Another day, another Baldur’s Gate clone? That’s a good thing, by the way – as long as it’s well-executed – and the graphics look great so it’s off to a decent start. I backed Black Geyser on Kickstarter way back in early 2018 but it vanished off my radar for a while so I’ve essentially gone in with a clean slate. This one looks like it’s going to be a little more generic high fantasy than some of the CRPGs that have come out recently (Tyranny, Deadfire, Disco Elysium, Divinity…) but I’m totally okay with that.
I’m not far into the game yet – it’s billed for 30-60 hours and I’m only around 4-5 hours in – so I can’t comment too much on the story yet. The playable characters look like they might be interesting, although the manner in which they join your party is pretty shonky: “Going my way? Let’s join forces!” is about the sum of it. Side quests have been delivered in a similar manner – nearly every shop I’ve walked into so far has introduced themselves by offering me some fetch quest. The dialogue’s also a little clunky here and there, but it’s not as bad as I’m probably making it sound. The vibe I’m getting is if someone were to try to convert their tabletop RPG experience to a computer game, complete with the DM trying to make up all the NPCs’ dialogue on the spot. The writing does lack some polish but it still effectively sparks the imagination and draws you into the world – it gets the job done. It’s also definitely worth noting here that the game’s still in very Early Access, with only the first part of the game open to the public, so there’s definitely room for the developers to continue polishing before the full release.
The verdict? Black Geyser may not break any new ground but not every game needs to. The graphics are great, the music is great, and the gameplay cleanly mirrors what you remember from Baldur’s Gate 2 in terms of exploration, dialogue, and combat. There’s certainly room for improvement but the game is still in Early Access and even in the early game it seems like a solid entry in the genre. I’m looking forward to levelling up my character, exploring more of the world’s beautiful scenery, and seeing where the story takes me.