We don't need to go very far : the opening cinematic is really fantastic. Completely believable and mature. In my view, they truly captured the BG essence there. Why not continue throughout the game?
Just look the color palette in the cinematic: yellowish buildings, faded colors in armors and people's clothes, the water is dark. Even the red dragons are not that red (unlike the gameplay demons). It is just perfect.
This is what they should aim for themselves. If they made into the cinematic they can do the same in the gameplay too.
The artwork in the books tend to be cartoonish, but they know how to implement that in a mature way. The Mind Flayer in the real game is horrible compared to the one in the cinematic mainly, because of the colors and illumination. (Also believing that the textures will improve too).
Thats why I am so disappointed, because Larian can do it, but so far they chose to continue DOS style. Don't know if they don't have the courage to do a a different formula.
But let's see more, I still have hope.
To be fair, the art of the D&D5e Forgotten Realms is what I assume you call "cartoonish" (Just make a search online) so I do not think Larian is to fully blame here. It would be different if the setting is Eberron or Ravenloft, I suppose.
If you are making a game based in a franchise, It´s usual to follow the design guidelines of the franchise, like in Mordheim and W40k. Mostly because WOTC will want his brand to be recognizable.
Everything continues to look exactly like a D:OS game and nothing like a Forgotten Realms game.
Taking a look at the WoTC official material from D&D beyond and the monsters manual anyone can see that they made a pretty good depiction of the creatures
I sometimes wonder if people do know how D&D5E´s creatures, uniforms and the city of Baldur´s gate actually look like before making comparisons...
The problem is the color pallette that makes very unrealistic, unlike BG2. The demons are very cartoonish in BG3
I suppose It´s a matter of tastes. I kinda like it the comic vibe.
And as I said, the videogame versions of the creatures really look like the D&D5e counterparts.
Assuming 100 hours of RPG content and what they have shown so far it looks far away of being released.
A few years? No, it doesn' t need a few years to fix some animations and come a final color palette. If they haven't even started on Acts II and III then sure, a few years away. But what you guys are complaining about is not years worth of work still needed.