Black Desert Online has been around since 2015. And is still one of today’s most popular massively multiplayer online role-playing games. Achieving so much success on the PC platform alone that it ended up spawning mobile and console ports as time went on. And even dedicated paid editions in some regions brought in many profits.
The game features a sandbox world filled with endless content streams, complete with gorgeous graphics based on a western-fantasy aesthetic and action-packed gameplay that is positively comparable to hack ‘n slash games thanks to its depth and combo potential.
The game has a large dedicated player-base that appears beautiful from a distance. But several open-world multiplayer games have a large player base and tons of content. But the reviews for them are divided due to unpolished gameplay and too many technical issues – such as Rust, SCUM, and Ark: Survival Evolved, to name a few.
So, with that in mind, does Black Desert Online deserve all the hype it gets or is it something you should avoid for one of the many other MMORPGs in the market? Let’s find out in Gaming Pushpins’ honest review!
Black Desert Online has a fundamental premise as it does not focus on the story aspect much, only using a bit of basic lore for the world-building. It takes place in a fantasy setting, which is at first peaceful. After the black death plague killed a large population, politics within the nations over greed began to tear them apart and eventually caused a massive war that lasted 30 years. The alliances formed in the war fade away and now constantly try to cut each other off.
There’s not much to go with here because while the game offers multiple story quests, the only goal they serve is to get you going into what you can consider a tour of the game’s vast world and give it some personality. The game’s main fun comes from its sandbox mechanics and the freedom of gameplay, so you can practically forget the story exists at all and immerse yourself in self-made narratives and head-canons.
The one thing that greatly sets Black Desert Online apart is the fact it features very proper hack ‘n slash gameplay, which means a combat system that requires precise aiming, dodging, parrying, and the use of combos is all present and essential for the player to learn and execute. Unlike other MMO games, which feature tabs or buttons with cool-downs, everything that happens here is real-time, and since it was not originally developed with mobiles in mind, the scale of the game is massive, in-depth.
The game has massive player vs. player events and raid events where players join each other to take on a large threat. And at the same time, the normal quests where you can fight the enemies by yourself are still there and just as fun!
When you aren’t fighting, there are things such as finding animals and taming them so you can use them for travel and combat, and you can breed different mounts to have more specific animals at your disposal. They need to be fed, and they can even be permanently killed. So you’ll have to take good care of the mounts you consider important.
The sandbox elements of the game come in the form of a dynamic world with changing weather, a day and night cycle, NPCs acting differently based on the time of the day, and even the quests you can change you are trying to start them.
The weather even causes additional changes such as typhoons affecting your gameplay or fog, making it hard to see surprise attacks – so it’s not all just for show.
There are 20 different player classes, and all of them have plenty of unlockable abilities and skills. Find plenty of hours of content in the game’s enormous open world. Get busy with it, and there is a great deal of customization that changes your experience vastly from the other players. Craft a lot of resources like skin animals that you hunt, plant crops, go fishing.
Black Desert Online is a clear winner in the gameplay department and is one of the unique games of its kind. Thanks to its focus on making the combat realistic.
Graphics and Polish:
The graphics of Black Desert Online get praised even by people who do not like the game in general. The world is beautifully crafted and populated by greatly detailed character models, different terrain types, and a great art style that treats the eyes.
Thanks to its sandbox structure, the game allows you to travel to every single part of the gorgeously detailed world freely. You can spend hours simply just enjoying the exploration – but that’s not to say that the exploration is something forced upon you – as the world is filled with enemies, mounts, and quests that you can indulge in. So, whatever you feel like doing – it’s there, and it looks stunning.
There are plenty of games that offer a world as big as Black Desert Online’s. It does not mean that it’s a great one by default because the polish of the gameplay, graphics, and animations makes a big difference to the overall quality.
Luckily for us, Pearl Abyss has done a marvelous job in the polishing department, and it brings everything together. As the game is very well-made in the graphics and gameplay aspects, it even offers ridiculous detail that you would usually expect only from a single player. Even your house interiors are customizable, and you can craft your items to decorate it with! Even things as simple as a sword hanging on your back react realistically to your movement.
The game definitely screams triple-A, and you can tell that they did not have the mobile expansions in mind originally due to the uncompromising scale of the product. Every single animation is flashy and well-made with proper motion capture, and the visual factor is fantastic to look at.
The soundtrack for Black Desert Online is an odd mix of generic and breathtakingly fresh. A lot of the background music is what you’d expect to hear from most games set in the same time as BDO, with not much innovation as just about enough quality not to get repetitive. But there are a few tunes that set themselves apart, such as; the loading theme, Serenia Riding, and the Velia Busker themes. For example, the majority, such as the main theme and most of the battle themes, is something you won’t be particularly remembering.
Even though the generic music is still decent and does its job as the background music to great gameplay. It’s just nothing to write home about. Looking at how many tracks it does have, that is quite unique – it tries harder in the sound department than most other games of its type.
The general sound effects are excellent too, and only add to your immersion thanks to realistic and well-made sound effects. They are on par with most single-player action-adventure games, and every single hit feels like it really landed. The voice acting is outstanding too, which is surprising for a game of its kind. So, while there’s not much of a story to go with, the dialogue is surprisingly good.
Black Desert Online is like a combination of an extremely polished single-player hack ‘n slash adventure game. And the best part of what makes an MMO so addicting the end product is a game that will take hundreds of hours from your time. And leave you feeling like that’s still not enough. The game is full of amazing combat, beautiful graphics, and a giant sandbox world that lets you make your own story as you have the freedom to do anything that you like.
It may be lacking in terms of a pre-existing story. But the fact that you can even play the game like a life simulation game when you’re not partaking in the combat just gives it the endless potential of forming your own stories within its world. And that makes up for the missing factor.
It’s not the best choice as a game for people who want a traditional MMORPG experience. But for people daring to try something a bit different, BDO should be the next game on their list.
With everything in a calculation, our final score for Black Desert Online is a solid 8 out of 10!
Why does Black Desert Online deserve such a high score? It’s a very addictive game that does not get repetitive at any turn. And it has the quality of a triple-A open-world action-adventure game and an MMO’s online features. It’s a complete package filled with endless content. Whether you play it solo or go on adventures with your friends. It will be an equally fun experience that will not feel like a waste of your time. And when you’re done with the combat, for the time being. You can simply go fishing or craft items for your house or skin animals and sell it for money. Or breed certain mounts and bring new species of animals to the world. The possibilities are limitless, and that’s what makes Black Desert Online such a fun experience!
(List Created By Gaming Pushpins)