Blade and Soul is, frankly, beautiful. As an American gamer, you experience very different art styles but it’s easy to say that many Korean games such as Blade and Soul have a tremendous focus on aesthetics. The game features four playable races: the Gon, the Lyn, the Yun, and the Jin. Character creation is extremely customizable although I would recommend going through some of the random variations for a good laugh. You are able to make some pretty amazing characters overall.
As for classes, the game features seven different classes (full descriptions can be found here):
- Blade Master – a well rounded sword wielder with balanced stats
- Destroyer – an aggressive two-handed axe wielder
- Summoner – ranged fighter with a summoned familiar
- Force Master – ranged caster with strong crowd control
- Kung Fu Master – fist weapon wielding, front line initator
- Assassin – close combat fighter with damage-over time abilities
- Blade Dancer – a high damage sword user with crowd control
The game also features two factions, the Cerulean Order and the Crimson Legion. Although I wish I could tell you more about the factions and pvp system. I didn’t get a chance to experience that myself. My experience began with my character half naked looking for his uniform. As someone who doesn’t care much for quest dialogue, I quickly discovered that space bar navigates the dialogues and the accept quest button is always in the same area. The game has a decent tutorial experience that explains basic combat, movement, and menu system.
I’ll leave combat for last but let’s begin with movement. It was fun. Your character can, at any time outside of combat, sprint. This is something that is greatly needed as the game has no mounts which is quite unique for any MMO at this point in the game. Blade and Soul also boast a fun little gliding system which has become very popular in the industry. Although the glide is VERY slow to begin with, both the spring and glide can be upgraded later in the game.
As for the menu system, I think this is where Blade and Soul struggles. Although hotkeys can let you navigate most in-game functions, the games camera is locked to the mouse cursor unless you press alt to release it. I was forced to use it frequently as the system isn’t completely intuitive as to when the menu should be in charge and when I wanted mouse look for combat.
This leads us into combat. Blade and Soul’s combat is extremely well refined and very very fun. There is a built in combo system that allows you to pair skills for a really refreshing game play style. While I’m sure that I’m losing DPS (Damage-Per-Second), I managed to hack and slash my way to level 9. With confidence, I can say that it was truly unique and felt more like a hack-and-slash arcade game most of the time.
Overall I have to give this game a solid 8/10. The game is nearly flawless but I had to deduct points for the messy UI. The combat easily makes up for that so I’m looking forward to the next beta weekened November 13-16.
I wanted to give to give a special shout out to Docgotgame. Doc has been hyping up Blade and Soul for the last couple months and is not only a very descriptive and knowledgeable streamer, but he is great about interacting with his chat. You can find Doc on twitch at http://www.twitch.tv/docgotgame and on twitter at @docgotgame. He is currently raising money for the Extra Life charity so check out his stream this week and you can contribute to the charity here.