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Zelda: Tears Of The Kingdom Is No Longer The Best-Reviewed Game Of 2023

"The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom" launched back in May to a rapturous response from critics and fans alike. Nintendo's long-awaited follow-up to "Breath of the Wild" was seen as an ideal sequel, one that built upon everything that came before it and delivered an innovative and entertaining adventure in its own right. The game's Metacritic score — an extremely impressive 96 — reflects its masterpiece status, putting it shoulder to shoulder with some of the greatest games of all time. However, one game has just surpassed "Tears of the Kindom" in terms of acclaim: "Baldur's Gate 3."

It should be noted, however, that the average score of 97 attained by "Baldur's Gate 3" is based on just over a dozen critical reviews, whereas "Tears of the Kingdom" has been reviewed by 145 verified journalists. In other words, the score for "Baldur's Gate 3" could drop as more reviews come in. At this time, "Baldur's Gate 3" is only available on PC, with console and macOS versions arriving at later points this year. This is still an impressive score for any game to receive, regardless of the previously mentioned caveats. The 97 score puts "Baldur's Gate 3" in Metacritic's list of the top 25 best-reviewed games, with some of its brethren including the likes of "Grand Theft Auto 4," "Disco Elysium," and "Ocarina of Time."

Let's take a look at how "Baldur's Gate 3" managed to snag such a lofty spot in the pantheon of gaming.

Baldur's Gate 3 is the ultimate RPG

"Baldur's Gate 3" has been a long time coming. Being the third mainline entry in the series — arriving 23 years after its predecessor, "Baldur's Gate 2: Shadows of Amn" — means it had a lot riding on it in terms of fan expectations. Thus far, the game has managed to surpass all of those. The game has been in early access since 2020, and Larian Studios has used that time to source feedback and make improvements on the title. The released version of the game has blown critics away, who have applauded the title's strong plotting, character development, and intricate gameplay.

More than anything else, gamers have been astonished by how much freedom the game affords its players. Every single action has a consequence down the line, and it's possible to play through the game multiple times and never see every quest, NPC, or battle. As The Guardian's review notes, "What sets this apart is its sheer breadth of writing and reactivity, offering possibilities so varied you'd swear the game was sentient sometimes." "Baldur's Gate 3" is an undeniable achievement, as well as an impressive simulation of the classic "Dungeons & Dragons" experience. In many ways, as the aforementioned review points out, the developers at Larian serve as the ultimate Dungeon Masters. PCGamesN's Paul Kelly largely agreed with this, applauding the game for "[giving] you the freedom to be who you want to be, and do what you want to do."

Between "Tears of the Kingdom" and "Baldur's Gate 3," RPGs are having a heck of a year in 2023. It remains to be seen if "BG3" will maintain its spot over "Zelda," but it no doubt feels good for Larian Studios to see this labor of love flourishing.

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