Baldur’s Gate 3 PS5 performance: how does Larian’s RPG hold up on console?

Baldur's Gate 3 official artwork
(Image credit: Larian Studios)

Baldur’s Gate 3 is available to play now on PS5, following its release on PC in August, and preceding lengthy early access period. Now, the most recent version of the highly acclaimed narrative-driven RPG can be experienced on console, with an Xbox Series X|S version coming before the year is out.

It’s no secret that Baldur’s Gate 3 has some pretty demanding system requirements on PC, especially if players want to experience the game at a high resolution with minimal frame drops. And while the PS5 is a very capable console, it’s clear that developer Larian Studios has had to make some compromises when porting the game over to the platform.

But if you can look past a few limitations, you’ll find an extremely solid port that performs on par with a mid-range gaming PC. Some technical aspects have taken a hit, but it’s all in service of providing a smooth experience for both of Baldur’s Gate 3’s PS5 graphics modes. 

Performance options

Lae'zel with her sword drawn, ready to strike

(Image credit: Larian Studios)

Baldur’s Gate 3 on PS5 lacks the robust graphical settings you’ll find on PC, and trades them in for two distinct visual settings. By default, the game’s Performance mode will be enabled on PS5 - this targets a 60fps output with dynamic resolution scaling. Disabling Performance mode will lock the game to 30fps and a native 1440p resolution.

If you want a smoother experience playing Baldur’s Gate 3 on PS5, then the Performance mode setting is the better pick. The 60fps target largely holds up, and if you own one of the best gaming TVs, then the PS5’s VRR (variable refresh rate) support helps to smooth over any drop in frame rate, making them less noticeable overall. It’s also worth noting that if you play with a pal in split-screen, the game will be forced into the 30fps mode with no alternative.

In my time testing Baldur’s Gate 3’s Performance mode, I found the overall framerate to largely hold up to that 60fps target. There are some caveats, however. Busier areas, such as the Emerald Grove and Temple of Selune, do exhibit notable drops as a result of an abundance of NPCs, particle effects, and richly detailed environs. 

On a larger 4K TV, you may also note an overall softer image as a result of that sub-2160p output. Certainly nothing major, as most 4K tellies upscale from 1080p wonderfully, but something I caught a few times when camera angles would swap around during cutscenes. You may want to adjust your TV’s sharpness setting to compensate for this. Unfortunately, there is no 4K setting for Baldur’s Gate 3 on PS5 at present, but the addition of enhanced performance modes, or support for AMD’s FidelityFX Super Resolution, aren’t an impossibility. 


Karlach speaks to Tav about murder

(Image credit: Larian Studios)

If you wanted to bring your mouse and keyboard over to PS5 for Baldur’s Gate 3, then you’re unfortunately out of luck. Currently, the game doesn’t have mouse and keyboard support on PS5, despite the console supporting both input devices. Again, this is something that could make its way to the game via a future patch. But as it stands, you’ll be stuck using the DualSense wireless controller, or one of the best PS5 controllers should you own an alternative to the official pad.

That isn’t terrible news, however. Baldur’s Gate 3’s PS5 controller layout is fairly intuitive. The analog sticks allow you to move your characters and rotate the camera. R1 opens a set of radial menus, giving you access to all your spells, abilities, and items. Meanwhile, a tap of R2 opens a shortcut menu for access to character sheets, your journal, camp, alchemy, and more. L2 toggles your party list, allowing you to switch characters, as well as split and group them together. Lastly, the jump action shortcut is bound to Up on the d-pad, allowing for quick and convenient traversal.

There is a learning curve at first here, but things soon start falling into place when you learn the differences between overworld traversal controls and those of combat. Those radial menus work both in and out of battle, so there’s a high degree of universality with the control scheme overall. 

One major drawback here, though, is that the PS5 version currently doesn’t feature alternative button layouts, nor can you rebind buttons to your liking. As it stands, you’re locked to a single, default layout. In fairness, this is also the case when using a controller for Baldur’s Gate 3 on PC. So hopefully, this is something Larian can introduce via a future update. 


Baldur's Gate 3

(Image credit: Larian Studios)

Overall, you won’t be disappointed if you decide to pick up Baldur’s Gate 3 on PS5. While a lack of native 4K support is unfortunate, it’s also understandable, as you’d need a pretty hefty build to get that level of performance on PC. The PS5 version’s Performance mode is more than serviceable and is still able to display the game’s gorgeous visuals with minimal framerate hiccups.

In terms of accessibility and audio options, the PS5 version of Baldur’s Gate 3 has parity with the PC version. Expect several audio sliders for music, sound effects, ambiance, voices, and more. Additionally, there are robust subtitle options for those that require them.

The only real downside is the lack of support for alternative button layouts and mouse and keyboard. Yes, it’s true that most PS5 players would still prefer to opt for a controller here, but for a CRPG like Baldur’s Gate 3, the option would certainly be very welcome. All in all the Baldur’s Gate 3 PS5 version is a polished port, and we’re eager to see how well the game performs on Xbox Series X|S when it arrives on Microsoft’s consoles later in 2023. 

Already played through Baldur's Gate 3 enough times to make your head spin? Consider checking out some of the best RPGs available in 2023 to discover your next narrative-driven fix.

Rhys Wood
Hardware Editor

Rhys is TRG's Hardware Editor, and has been part of the TechRadar team for more than two years. Particularly passionate about high-quality third-party controllers and headsets, as well as the latest and greatest in fight sticks and VR, Rhys strives to provide easy-to-read, informative coverage on gaming hardware of all kinds. As for the games themselves, Rhys is especially keen on fighting and racing games, as well as soulslikes and RPGs.