Open world MMO Black Desert Online was always something different from the usual run of MMOs that have graced the PC for years now but I didn’t really get into it as much as some when it first arrived.
Last year, the game was remastered and Kakao Games and Pearl Abyss have been supporting it with a peppering of new content and quests, with a promise of ongoing support.
The remaster itself boils down to a vastly improved look to the game, with some great god rays, vistas and shiny water effects. The game wasn’t all that bad looking for a 4 year old game in the first place but now it’s worth saddling up that horse for a trip out to the wilds to see just what the update can provide.
Missions and story structure remain the game’s weak points, with most side quests still managing to come out looking like the same fetch quest over and over. The story is fairly standard but doesn’t really deviate much from this either, but at least it shows you the ropes as there is literally no tutorial to speak of. Anyone looking to get into the game for the first time will most likely be as lost as I was but at least there is plenty of time to get used to the various controls and (pretty good) combat, as well as the annoying inability to carry anything more than a few items and a bag of gold.
Persevere, though, and you’ll find a refreshingly different game where the players set the scene rather than the cut scenes and forced dialogue. It’s quite a free feeling world which becomes almost like an open space to live out a virtual life than a game restrained by story. This does have some drawbacks, particularly for those who want to remain focused on a quest, but I remember just how refreshing it could be. It’s helped by a dynamic weather system, night and day cycle and ability to just grind away to get levelled up or take a trip to view another mountaintop.
It still has some issues, particularly with the karma system when you’re unlucky enough to get someone with a grudge against you or who just wants to cause trouble, but generally it’s something a little different and doesn’t rely solely on micro-transactions but has a one-off payment and free play option available to use.
While there are a ton of similar MMOs out there, Black Desert Online isn’t afraid to do things a little differently, for better or worse, and it deserves a look now that the world looks even better than it did before.