Saturday, 12 July 2014

Blade And Soul (Chinese Client)

Gamespot Score: n/a

My Score: 7.8

(+) Pros: - Beautiful visuals, both artistically and technically, - Action packed, combo styled game play, - Feels incredibly fast, - Decent story for an MMORPG, - More skill based than anything else, - PvP feels intense, - Great boss fights.

(-) Cons: - Repetitive enemies with similar attack patterns, - Some game breaking glitches, - Leveling up requirements spike VERY quickly.

Gameplay time: -

First off let's just say one thing before we begin with this review: Fuck You NcSoft! We were promised an English "Blade And Soul" release back in 2012...or was it late 2011? Either way, it doesn't matter, f**k it. 3 years have past and nothing was done, it still isn't stateside. I don't know what they're smoking...but luckily for us, Blade And Soul Dojo's savior made an English patch for the Chinese client of the game. If you're wondering, that's how I managed to get a good taste of "Blade And Soul", by an English fan made patch for the Chinese client. So was it worth it? Of course! "Blade And Soul" is one of the most beautiful free to play MMORPGs I've ever experienced to date, though of course, it has its flaws as well. Let's put everything aside and get to the game for now. REVENGE!!!!

I'll say it up straight, "Blade And Soul" is an MMORPG that actually has a story. It follows you, a disciple of the great master Hon. You're living in a temple, training under Hon alongside his other disciples. You never really knew much about your master, but trained under him anyway, to master your soul and inner spirit. Of course, this all changes immediately when the dojo is attacked by strange individuals. Jin, the leader of the group, attacks and kills master Hon, and in a last ditch effort to save you, you are blown off a cliff. Your character is sent flying to the bottom of the ocean, where you are saved by other kind souls. And thus begins your quest for revenge, as you roam the land, seeking the truth of Master Hon and the people behind his murder.

Character creation is pretty sexy.

For an MMO to have a credible story...its quite impressive actually. As I mentioned before in many of my reviews for MMORPGs, story isn't something that many MMORGPs manage to nail down, even if the game does have any sort of lore in it whatsoever, it isn't explained well. The storytelling just isn't there, or its just not effective enough to get us sucked into it. "Blade And Soul" manages this part exceptionally well, with fully voiced characters, good animations and best of all, full CG cutscenes. These do well to really tell the story proper, as there tends to be a lot of to be emotional moments in the game, especially when you get to the conclusion of the game's story.

To me, the story is a bonus, since I'm used to MMORPGs with horrible storytelling. Let's get to the main reason why everyone wants to play "Blade And Soul", the visuals. The game is absolutely stunning if you play on high or above, and believe me, its not hard to achieve. Both technically and artistically, this game excels when it comes its visual aspects. The environments, while sometimes a little bit repetitive, look fantastic, and everything else from the enemies to the character models themselves are pretty damn amazing. There are plenty of character types and classes, ranging from Jin, the regular humans, Gon, the big bulky dudes, and Lyn, the little squirrel chibis. The character models! I literally drooled a little when creating my character. While the customization choices are pretty normal, everything just looks awesome to behold.

The gon are awesome.

And of course, this translate well to combat, it looks flashy as all hell with a massive amount of visual flair that'll be enough to pop your eyeballs out. Speaking about combat, its easily the selling point about this game. Nowadays, most MMORPGs are skill based, instead of the standard point and click, then watch an animation play out....while that style of play has a charm of its own, its getting stale nowadays with all the action packed, skill based games out there. "Blade And Soul" is another one of those games, instead of pointing and clicking then watching an animation play out, "Blade And Soul" is all about controlling the flow of battle by yourself.

While you can only equip up to a few set of abilities at once, these play a major part in battle. Blademasters, Assasins and Kung Fu users all attack up close, either flaring opponents up with combos, netting them with stuns, slows and knockdowns. There isn't a clear cut specification of what's suppose to do what in this game, everyone does their own thing. Summoners are supposed to be a support class, but they can dish out a ton of damage on their own too with their kitty cats. In "Blade And Soul" you can dodge enemy attacks, counter them, then inflict all sorts of pain on your own. Every encounter with an enemy will be a tough one, especially later on, since the game spikes up in difficulty quite quickly. 

Run! Run like the wind!

Why does the game spike up in difficulty? Its simple. Quests don't give you new weapons too often, and its also true that armor does not grant ANY defensive stats whatsoever. Its all the soul pieces that grant you stats, stuff like critical chance, critical damage, parry percentage, so on and so forth, and if you use these pieces for defensive stats, you're missing out on a lot of offense. The game also feels VERY fast, true to its theme. This applies to most things, like combat or just simply running around. Combat feels fast because you'll have to be on the ball most of the time. Running around feels fast only because the game has some slight parkor physics. You can sprint around the field INCREDIBLY quickly, you can jump massive heights, and you can even glide through the air to get around places quickly.

I know this is just a good addition to replace mounts if the game would have it, but this feels a lot more efficient to get around places. There are also jump points, where your character can use after a certain point in the game to do a little flight mechanic, where you jump incredible heights to get places. It looks cool as heck. When it boils down to it, the game just knows how to make things look very stylish, and with that it scores with flying colors.

No no ain't touching me!

Remember how I said the game was skill based? Yeah, it matters when fighting regular enemies, but it matters more for PVP. During a certain point in the game, you are faced with a decision to join two factions, and then later on, if you meet somebody of the opposite faction...its time to fight. Like in most games PVP is a matter of reading your opponent, but more so here because one mistake can really cost you in this game. There are a lot of factors to take into account, like dodging or countering your foes.

What more can you look forward to? How about the fact that there are some pretty good instances in this game. Most MMORPGs have decent instances, but what really nails it for "Blade And Soul" are the boss fights. You can't beat these things by just muscling them to death, you really can't. And considering how this game doesn't have a specific classification of their different roles, there's really no such thing as a "frontline" or "backline", just the manifestation of everybody's skills on how to predict, dodge, and take down a superior enemy.

Come on swag fags lighten up!

There are quite a few issues that make "Blade And Soul" a lot less enjoyable than it should have been, for such a high production value game. First off...they could really use some more enemy types. ITS ALWAYS THE SAME HUMANOID ENEMY TYPES FOR THE WHOLE FREAKING GAME! It gets kind of annoying that all you fight are regular dudes with rifles, halberds and swords all the time during story missions. There are also glitches laid around here and there:game breaking glitches. Sometimes you get stuck in a wide open spot for no freaking reason, you try to move and then you keep getting teleporting to the same damn spot. There is an escape function, but sometimes even that isn't enough to help you, you'll need to aggro monsters to your position for them to KILL you, then respawn in town. And this is just a personal gripe, after lvl 20, leveling up requirements take a massive spike, and that's just cheap.

That's "Blade And Soul" for you. For the state its in right now, its good for what it is, but could have been better. As for NCsoft, I have no idea what they're smoking, but its because of them that many don't get to enjoy this game. As I mentioned earlier, the chinese version has a patch right now so go for that if you want to play the game.

Happy gaming!