Now I’ve not been on an MMO for quite some time. I was rather put off by the likes of World of Warcraft which seemed repetitive and focused more on leveling up rather than providing a meaningful and fun journey. Not to insult those who play it as I can understand and respect its popularity. For me, I’m just not into MMOs nowadays. But I got the chance to play Black Desert Online after the trailers and gameplay videos grabbed my attention. Was it the epic looking combat? The vastly beautiful world or just those damn sexy characters wielding big shiny weapons? Let’s find out.
Black Desert Online offers players a compelling journey of RPG elements and character development integrated into a fantasy epic of self-discovery. You play as a protagonist who awakens with no memory and is guided by a sinister and mysterious creature known simply as Black Spirit. You devout your trust into the evil-looking cloud (seriously you can tell it’s pure evil with its big red eyes and creepy childlike voice) and together you’ll discover who you are and the secrets of Black Desert.
That’s pretty much it, go off, build your character, fight a great evil and save the day. Isn’t that pretty much every other MMO, RPG and 50% of games on the market? True the plot itself doesn’t stand out, but what is fascinating is the immense world you inhabit. There’s an interesting lore interloping a complex history of a deadly plague, 30 years’ worth of war and the merging of humans and creatures into a grueling class system. There are interesting themes on display as you often see human treating goblins like complete crap which can echo many aspects of our modern society. The only main issue is that the narrative doesn’t excel past predictable plot points or deliver enough interesting characters for you to care about.
Then again Black Desert Online provides a compelling world thriving with life and complexities that help add depth to the gameplay. There is an abundance of events and activities to engage in along with factors such as weather to change the balance of the game world. Black Desert also harbors plenty of smaller dynamics that keep you invested during your travels such as keeping your horse healthy during long treks across the game world (there’s no quick travel). You can fish, band together to fight armies of orgs and engage in all-out war. Although there’s poor explanations on many of the game’s functions and understanding certain mechanics or gameplay elements can be completely baffling. Often enough I would have to read up information online and dive back into the game, breaking the immersion.
As an MMO title, combat is excellent and highly satisfying. Choosing from several interesting classes of characters you’ll be able to play out a variety of unique fighting styles and special abilities from each class. Ranging from Berserker, Dark Knight, Ninja, Tamer and more, there’s plenty of experimentation and replay value that’s feel truly diverse with each class. Even with a grinding nature to leveling up, Black Desert Online ensures players feel the power of their character will an awesome array of attacks and special abilities that help devastate the battlefield. Fighting a group of enemies alone or with friends can make turn out to be an epic display of visual beauty and spectacle. There’s PVP to help flesh out the substance of combat and leveling.
Black Desert Online has excellent pacing as you never feel as though you’re being forced to level up and reach the end game; instead, you go at your own pace. Black Desert Online forces itself away from games like WOW which I found to push players to gain level 70 in order to truly enjoy the game. Here, players are rewarded for exploration, completing tasks and combat like any other game but the freedom to do as you please and yet still feel highly functional even if you’re only level 10.
Black Desert Online is a beautiful game that you can explore endlessly for hours. Be wary as it’s a pretty demanding game for specs. Characters classes look awesome although they’re gender locked, so Berserkers are all male and Dark Knights are all female which is a shame as customization is limited and this restricts it even further. Features and physical aspects of playable characters are vastly detailed yet costume variation is much narrower in comparison. Meaning you have to compromise on certain aspects such as the gender if you want to be a certain class or feel limited in the style of clothing on offer. It doesn’t help as well that additional clothing and gear is highly expensive. Yet a loyalty system helps with obtaining extra loot and funds, so playing or just simply logging in every day will help out.
Black Desert Online is a highly engaging MMO that for someone who doesn’t play them or does so anymore, has grasped my attention to keep coming back. While the story is limited along with large elements of customization and the grinding nature to progressing maybe off putting. It’s vastly beautiful game with plenty of activities to get involved in, great sense of exploration, immense mechanics that truly immerse you into the world and an enthralling sense of combat that’s highly enjoyable. This is definitely worth checking out considering the price point and you don’t need to pay monthly for it as well.
A PC Review Copy of Black Desert Online was provided by Kakao Games for the Purpose of this Review