Black Desert Online the online role-playing game from Pearl abyss made its way into our inbox this week so we decided to see how it holds up against the competition.
The story of BDO starts after you create your character from a variety of classes that each have there own play style and strengths while a few of these classes can be broken down to the fact that there either male or female there is still a variety for you to choose from and some even exclusive to one sex so be prepared to spend some time on your first time running the game simply deciding what class best suits you. A word of caution to the new players as of yet I have not found a way to change class be free or a paid service however each class is viable for most of the game’s content is seems so I recommend going with whatever you want as roles are less important in BDO than most MMO’s
After what can be anywhere between a few minutes to a good half hour of the character creation you will find yourself in the fantasy world of Black Desert with the old classic touch of amnesia and with some sort of possession/pact in the form of the black spirit that somehow makes this trope somewhat more interesting than I would normally find it. That been said I can’t claim that the story is exactly some nuanced epic in fact aside from being able to follow the basic storyline that leads me from fetch quest to slaughter quest the story so far has been made up of a few lines of exposition from almost totally forgettable NPCs with the only redeeming feature being the black spirit itself and its seemingly dark but parasitic nature making it the most interesting character and the only parts of the story that seem in any way meaningful that been said the world’s plot and that of your character and the spirit overlap rather well rather than being two separate stories It’s just that half of this is simply vastly more interesting than the state of the world or its events you find yourself in the middle of that feed into your characters development and discovery
Visually is one of the areas where BDO shines brightest while there are some annoying frame rate drops at least on the PlayStation 4 the environments and character design as well as the animations are brilliantly done and well detailed and rank up there against other MMORPGs I have played with the animations been a personal favourite in recent years my only gripe is that the quality seems to dip when it comes to cutscenes as they suffer from stuttering and some bad camera angles while this may be due to the limitations of the PlayStation 4 in part final fantasy and ESO do a better job at handling the scenes overall something that’s somewhat a shame considering other aspects of the game’s design
Much the same as the visuals the audio does a good job of bringing life to the world of Black Desert at anytime there can be dozens of things going on screen from the sounds of nature to a horde of foes even a horse-drawn carriage barreling down a road the audio ques are on point and the BGM works quite well to set the mood for any given situation making for some quality immersion.
Gameplay in BDO WILL leave you overwhelmed and confused at first even if you have experience with MMORPGS for at least a few minutes until you stumble onto some key points quite simply because it misses some key information from the tutorial namely skills don’t utilise the typical pallet method instead opting for button combos in fact until I went browsing the menus and clicking random things I didn’t even know I had skills outside my basic attack and ranged/secondary attack if that wasn’t confusing enough for a new player one of the first things I was tasked with was using auto run to go to my quest that should have been a simple tap of L3 however I found myself in the middle of nowhere for reasons I still do not understand over all the games opening needs a vastly more detailed tutorial rather than trying to get you invested in the story from the off and while I’m not a fan of overly complex and detailed tutorials in this game i have to say it’s more than needed and that’s before we even tackle things gathering, fishing, trading and the other half dozen systems I’ve bumped into and had to google how exactly they worked and I haven’t even touched/unlocked another half dozen or so options in the main menu alone to be clear non of these systems are deeply overly complicated they simply have no guidance to speak of up to were I am at lv 30 it hasn’t even made mention of half of these systems wether this is due to them been a afterthought and not well integrated or the fact I’m missing something I’m unsure however I have done my best to explore and do quests with no mention of these systems thus far
The lack of explanation aside one of the more enjoyable elements in the game is the actual combat forgoing as I said the pallet system and targeting for a more action RPG based battle system with button combinations and free flowing attacks and evasion coupled with great animations make it feel fun and exiting especially when playing a more complex class such as the ninja overall I found the gameplay itself more enjoyable than the story and the main reason I continued to play and will continue to do so with this review been finished
The game certainly has a large learning curb and will undoubtedly take a long time to master but it’s vastly different from its competition in many ways making it feel like something new one key thing I noticed was the ability to play solo for the most part unlike the typical MMO that requires the “holy trinity” (DPS, Tank, Medic) to clear most content black desert allows for most of the game to be cleared solo at least as far as I have made it until now that remains true this is something I have seen called for in MMOs of the past sure it’s great playing with a party but simply having the option to play solo is nice when it comes to wanting to simply level up or do any other basic task in an online RPG it saves a lot of wait time and queuing up for hours on end and allows you to get on with playing and enjoying the game
Overall I enjoyed the gameplay of black desert despite not been overly incited by the story or the games lore the combat and exploration made it something still worth playing and even more ideal for those that want to play an MMO but don’t have either a lot of time to wait around for groups or simply prefer playing alone the same can be said for the plot overall it exists and while limited in terms of detail again it’s ideal for players who are not invested in the story and want to simply play the game I guess the best way to say it is it will come down to a players preference of just exactly what they want from a title outside of that the only other thing I can say maybe have google at the ready if you want to grasp everything the game has to offer
A great but complex dive into the fantasy world of MMO on consoles.