Title: Black Desert (Prestige Edition)
Developer: Pearl Abyss
Publisher: Kakao Games Europe B.V.
Available On: Steam, Xbox One,
Official Site: blackdesertonline.com
Most RPGs start with a small problem that grows into something bigger. And a specific character always gives one of the initial objectives. Black Desert Online is no different, save for one thing. Here, it is a ‘black spirit’ that helps one begin your journey. Black Desert makes sure to inform you that this spirit is attached to you. What does this creature want? Where did they come from? And will it ever leave when you find out what it wants? Where did you come from? Only the land of this world has the answers that one seeks.
Black Desert Online’s Satisfying Gameplay
The gameplay for Black Desert Online is simple enough. Move your character around with the left thumbstick and rotate your camera with the right. One of the things I appreciated most was the ‘auto-run’ feature. Instead of actively running to your mission location, you could program your avatar to do it solo. This might allow those of us with a tight grip the chance to relax for a few seconds.
Delivering combo attacks was a total breeze. Instead of the usual tap-to-attack, Black Desert made it press-and-hold. To deliver light and fast attack combos, I held the right bumper. And to deliver heavier blows, it was the right trigger. When it came to fighting swarms, AOE attacks helped out a lot. I found that if I caught too much attention, these attacks were my only way out. And if I exhausted my stamina at the wrong moment, I was done for. All fairly simple, but working to great effect.
The menu isn’t hard to understand either. Missions/Objectives, inventory, map, and other menus were in their proper place. But I still felt like it could have used a bit of tweaking. Regardless, it serves its purpose.
I appreciated how intimate the conversations appeared to be in Black Desert as well. When I spoke to a specific character, the camera zoomed on them as the conversation began. This served well to provide a layer of immersion into the story. Without the distraction of other NPCs, I could focus on what the character was telling me.
A few of the missions are given by human NPCs, but the aforementioned Black Spirit issues most of the main quests. The Quests are listed in the second tab of the start menu. It was useful when I wasn’t sure whether or not I undertook a mission. The problem with the Black Spirit and NPCs was where each issued Quest became listed. The second tab of the menu contained only quests given by NPCs. It took me some time to find the Black Spirit Quests list. This was even after it was explained, though that could have been my own lack of awareness.
Some of the main Quests for Black Desert were listed under the Black Spirit menu. This included simple quests like expanding my inventory and taking out wolves or imps. It was confusing at first because no character tells you exactly what button opens the quest menu. Though, checking the configuration menu will likely reveal how to do that.
Black Desert’s Intriguing Storyline
This storyline is different from what is traditionally given by RPGs. At most, such a thing would be a one time quest during the story. In Black Desert, the first creature you’re introduced to is the Black Spirit. The first thing you are told is “I wonder if I picked the right host”. I took this as evidence the creature was definitely evil in some way. Despite the frequency with which he appears, I was the only one who could actually see his form.
The creature informed me upon starting that I seemed to have forgotten things. I have no name, no definitive identity, but I am told my sleep is plagued with nightmares. There’s a 50/50 chance the Black Spirit has my best interest at heart. But when it doesn’t want anyone knowing it exists? They probably aren’t helping out of the kindness of their heart.
One mission required messing with a special artifact. This artifact supercharged the Black Spirit and made me faint. Other characters could feel the darkness in the room. But they had no idea that the being causing the chaos was right in front of them. Throughout the adventure, the Black Spirit continued to counsel me, with everyone completely unaware of their presence.
Verdict: Black Desert Online is a solid MMO that takes strides to do things differently. It has a tight and satisfying combat system with various combos, and a story that does things you wouldn’t normally expect. There are a few quality of life things too, especially in auto traveling to your next mission. Some of the menus can be a bit confusing, but I have no doubts MMORPG fans will greatly enjoy Black Desert.