Shoving People In Baldur’s Gate 3 Is My New Favourite Combat Mechanic

There’s something very special about beating magical creatures up in Baldur’s Gate 3. From the fact that you can kill goblins by lobbing your dirty boots at their heads to the sheer joy of landing your fifth consecutive Eldritch Blast on a troll who is frankly too large and stupid to climb ladders, the versatility of its tactical combat makes every single kerfuffle equal parts gratifying and absurd.

But my absolute favourite thing to do in Baldur’s Gate 3 is to shove little huergar arsehats off of very high cliffs. It might seem like a simple thing, but there’s something genuinely glorious about going toe-to-toe with an enemy and saying, “You know what? Piss off.”

The best thing about the “Shove” action in Baldur’s Gate 3 is that it’s a bonus action. For those unacquainted with how combat works in Larian’s latest D&D-inspired RPG, every single character on the screen has one turn per round. You’ve got a limited number of tiles you can move across, and you’ll usually have permission to select at least one action. This could be an attack, or you could opt to help a downed teammate in order to bring them back from the brink of death. You can’t do both of these things, though, so you’ve got to be crafty.

On top of movement and actions, you can also execute a bonus action during your turn. These are usually minor things — maybe you have an ability that allows you to quickly teleport out of the thick of things prior to ending your turn, or have just realized you’re standing in literal fire and think, “Well, I can dip my sword in this for next time around.” It’s quite funny watching your character stand there, completely stationary with your blade ablaze, patiently getting battered as you wait your turn to finally swing it about ten minutes later.

But dipping your sword in fire, or acid, or whatever other deadly substance that’s currently oozing across the floor beneath you — it pales in comparison to shoving people who have spent 15 turns climbing ladders only to be punted off the very last rung. I have often ended my turn on low health, facing an enemy with even less HP than mine, thinking, “I’m so close… If only I had rolled a 20 and landed a crit, I wouldn’t be in such a precarious position right now.” But then I remember: we’re 50 feet above ground and this total clown has forgotten to stay in from the ledge. I may have already used Witch Bolt, and I know for a fact if I turn to run away his reaction will inevitably drain my remaining HP… but I’ve got a 75% chance of knocking him off a castle battlement. Remember, Baldur’s Gate 3 is set in a medieval fantasy world — there are no “safety regulations”, so protective railings in high-up places are few and far between.

It’s perfect, really. If shove was a full action, I doubt anybody would choose to use it. And even as a bonus action, it’s not overpowered — enemy weight is taken into consideration, and if you’re not near a ledge, all you do is knock them back a few spaces. It’s ground they can easily regain on their next turn, and therefore not particularly useful unless you’re playing a rogue with great movement capacity to escape. But, if you’re tactical — or even better, a jammy bastard — then you’ll occasionally be met with the opportunity to kick someone off of a treacherous cliff. And because the actions play out in real time… Well, it’s very funny to watch. Even if you end up losing the fight, it’s worth it because you’re not the biggest loser overall. That shame falls squarely on the shoulders of the AI-controlled enemy who forgot fall damage exists. As if anyone ever does that. What an idiot.

When I fought Minthara — a difficult early game boss who I won’t say too much about because of spoilers — I ended a grueling 45-minute fight by booting her off of the top of a hill. Baldur’s Gate 3 may be buggy right now, and Early Access doesn’t feature a huge amount of story content, but when you’ve won a fight using death-by-shove, it becomes undeniably clear that this game is a literal marvel. More shoving in games please. Let’s actually use fall damage to our advantage for once, instead of our ever-cursed detriment.

Read next: Spielberg, Goldblum, And Goosebumps: The Story Of Dreamworks’ First Video Game

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Cian Maher is an Associate Editor at TheGamer. He’s also had work published in The Guardian, The Washington Post, The Verge, Vice, Wired, and more. His favourite game of all time is and always will be The Witcher 3, but he also loves The Last Guardian, NieR: Automata, Dishonored, and pretty much every Pokemon game ever released. You can find him on Twitter @cianmaher0.

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