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Review – Black Desert Online (PS4)

Difficult to learn, fun to master

Being a huge fan of MMO RPG’s and having delved many hours into a few I have tried a lot of them. Black Desert Online is one that I haven’t played or even tried up to this point. With MMOs being a time-consuming experience on top of learning the ropes, it takes a lot of investments to fully commit to one. Black Desert Online is one of those MMORPG’s.

I was instantly and immensely impressed by the Title Screen music and even the Character Creation Screen is one of the best I have seen in any game. The customizable depth puts any other game to shame. There are plenty of Classes available too although some are locked behind Gender, this doesn’t bother me although it may do to others. I picked the Dark Knight Class as I liked the look of the giant sword dark arts. After the beginning scene, I was overwhelmed by on-screen UI prompts, this is something I have become used to. I am well aware most MMORPG’s have either Items distributed to any new character you make including log in bonuses down to special edition bonuses, after finally navigating I understood what I was doing (for the most part) although I still haven’t got entirely used to the User Interface.

Black Desert Online is not your typical theme park MMORPG like say World of Warcraft, it follows a story provided you stay on the main story quests which isn’t as easy as it sounds. The quest system itself took some getting used to for me. The game has NPC quest givers and there are many benefits such as a navigation line which shows you where to go and even an autorun feature which the character follows the navigation line taking out the pain of running around for a long time in which case is a lot here, Black Desert Online is a huge game! Some quests especially early on require you to access the main menu and speak with the black spirit but it is not always obvious. The Quest Interface isn’t perfect, one example of this is that I have a quest that tells me to summon the black spirit and complete it well at least I think it does as some of the text is missing. However, on accessing the Menu I am unable to finish it although it is telling me. Whether this is a bug or I am completely missing something I’m not sure but the fact the quest interface appears missing does not help. The problem with the UI is that there is too much on the screen, you can actually turn some of these elements off, which I highly recommend doing at the beginning, most importantly would be the Chat interface as this can be accessed and bought up when you need it, it just won’t be visibly taking up half of your screen then again I would definitely recommend using this also for any burning questions you may have. Once you turn a few of these interface options it makes the game more pleasing to the eye as you can see what is going on. Black Desert Online involves using trigger buttons to initiate various attacks and direction is important on ensuring your attacks hit. The usual lining up of skills and managing cooldowns is none existent here, there are a few skills that have a cooldown but this is just a few to the many. It isn’t overly difficult to die as I found, it is manageable to take any many enemies early on and barely take a scratch although the bosses are a different game of difficulty and hit harder forcing you to use a lot more healing potions. Not entirely a bad thing also.

The game is expansive and has no loading into towns or caves which can be explained down to the performance issues on PS4. There is an obvious slowdown at times, at first, I noticed this during the opening cutscene and it happens especially when taking out large groups of mobs which are most of the quests but sadly performance is not something which Black Desert Online handles well on PS4, it’s not completely unplayable it is just noticeable. There are options to turn certain effects off such as Gore and to pan the camera closer but it is minimal in terms of enhancing the game’s performance. There are many other gameplay elements such as PvP which works well in Black Desert Online and Gathering and Crafting. Crafting is completely different from your usual MMORPG as here as you hire workers to do this for you rather than your character, it feels kind of strange at first but it is interesting and involves a string of different actions such as gathering, questing and exploring.

Black Desert Online is a buy to play game with no subscription, there is a cash shop called the pearl shop where you can spend money on optional items should you wish, I have not once felt like I am forced to spend any money in the game and most items are not overly expensive compared to other MMOs I have played that do have a subscription. If you are playing just for the gameplay, the grind alone then Black Desert Online is worth it.

A PlayStation 4 Code was provided by Koch Media

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