Blade & Soulby Aethyna Mar 4, 2016 | 1 Votes | 1 Played | 0 Reviews
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Blade & Soul is on numerous people’s most anticipated free-to-play MMO game lists for very good reasons. The game allows players to be immersed in its epic story of war and betrayal. With up to 4 races, 8 different classes, and a plethora of customization options to choose from, you’ll also be able to create a character that you desire in this game. Being a game that is somewhat based on the martial arts, Blade & Soul even features plenty of exciting game mechanisms, including to ability to run windwalk, to perform an amazing flurry of combo attacks, to glide across the game’s many breathtaking landscapes, and even to recover from the brink of death. There are many things to do in this game as well, ranging from questing and dungeon raiding to its arena-based PvP duels and fights. Blade & Soul is a brilliant MMORPG that definitely deserved its praises, so be sure to download the game for free and try it out!
Blade & Soul starts off with the game’s storyline whereby you are rescued, looking as though you are half-dead but yet still miraculously alive, from the ocean by the Captain of Blue Guard. In your delirium, you get a flashback, which interestingly turned into an interactive form of the tutorial. It’s amazing how well the game blends the plotline introduction with the game’s interactive tutorial. Not to mention, you’ll also be treated to some pretty epic cut scenes that will definitely blow you away.
That being said, the storyline introduction is a rather tragic one. Your peaceful and carefree life as a martial arts apprentice ended brutally when the story’s villain, Yuran, and her muscular minion, decimated your entire martial arts school. You yourself barely escaped with your life. Vowing revenge, you now have to recover from the brutality you’ve witnessed and grow your powers so that you can one day take on Yuran and slay her to avenge your fallen brothers and sisters.
To play, you’ll start off by creating your character. There are 4 different races, namely the Jin, Gon, Lyn and Yun, to choose from. The Jins and the Yuns looks like normal humans, while the Gons are the giant-form of humans. The Lyns, on the other hand, are the humanoid, but they look a lot more like some form of furry and cuddly looking creature with pop-up ears. The first 3 races offer both genders, but the Yun race is a female-only race.
After picking a race, you’ll then need to pick a class. There are 8 classes at the moment in Blade & Soul – they include Blade Master, Assassin, Kung Fu Master, Force Master, Destroyer, Blade Dancer, Summoner and the brand-spanking new class, Warlock. Naturally, different class will provide a different gameplay experience, and depending on your preferred play style, you might want to spend a bit more time finding the most suitable class for you. This is because getting a class you don’t like might put you off the game really quickly. Thankfully, the game displays the information about each class nicely and in detail. It even provides video snippets showing the class in action. Not all races have access to all 8 classes though. Generally, most races only get around 3 classes each.
Once you’ve made your choice (again, do pick wisely!), it’s time to get blown away by the game’s superb customization options. You could not only mold your character to your desire using the sliders provided for each physical feature, you could also change a lot of the usually default settings, such as the character’s pose, lighting, background, and even differently styled voices for speech and battle cries. There are simply so many details that you can tweak to your liking! However, if you just want to get into the game as quickly as possible, you could even skip the whole customization process by merely picking one of the many presets the game has to offer. Not to mention, if you fancy leveling more than 1 character, you’ll be delighted to know that players in Blade & Soul are given 2 free character slots.
Now that you’re ready, the game will straightaway engage you with its immersive storyline-tutorial and epic cut scenes. The tutorial is very well detailed and should be sufficient enough to let you learn all the basic controls, including movements and attacks, which are available in the game. In terms of movements, Blade & Soul provides some of the most impressive and fluid, but completely unrealistic movements there is. After all, it is a martial arts-based game. Your character will be able to leap very high into the air (like a superhero, I might add), maintain a sprint across rather long distances, running atop roofs and vertically up walls, and best yet – smoothly gliding to your destination like a pro!
For combat, many would agree that Blade & Soul offers one of the most incredible and fluid-like action-and-combo-based combat system there is. Unlike standard MMORPGs, the variety of combat actions that you can perform in the game is astonishing, and amazingly, you could even combine the various movements I’ve mentioned earlier into your combat sequence. For instance, at certain level, you could perform a sprint-based opening attack that will unlock an entirely different set of abilities which you can then use. Of course, new abilities will be unlocked via investing points in your skill tree and by leveling up.
You’ll even get different skill options depending on the situation your character is in, such as after being knocked down or thrown up into the air. If your health ran out, your character will be placed in a “downed” mode where you can still have 1 last chance to defeat your opponent and recover. You could also use your environment to your advantage and, for example, pick up and throw stuff at your enemies. Due to this myriad of skill combinations, combat always feel fresh and exciting in Blade & Soul, even more so than any other action-based MMORPGs out there on the internet.
Couple that brilliant combat system with the fact that game doesn’t have a “healer class” and you’ll end up with some of the most engaging and entertaining boss fights ever. Damage mitigation and change awareness is vital to ensure your character’s survival... oh and let’s not forget about potions – lots and lots of potions! Talking about boss fights actually brings us to the game’s other important feature – its PvEs. There are tons of dungeons in this game and you can easily find people to run these dungeons with via the game’s very nicely designed cross-server dungeon lobby. Dungeons are mostly 4-man or 6-man parties, but Blade & Soul rewards parties that run dungeons with less than the recommended number of people. Say, if you run a 6-man dungeon with only 4 people and succeed, you and your team will be showered with more and better loot.
Another aspect of PvE is questing. Despite having a wide range of dungeons, the innovation and variety of its quests are a bit disappointing as they are basically consisted of fetching, killing and escort quests. However, there are a few gems among the tedium and it comes in the form of special quest events that require everybody within the area to pitch in the battle. It is also a very nice touch to narrate all the storyline-related quests and intersperse them with some aptly placed and well-constructed cut scenes.
For players who enjoy PvP instead, Blade & Soul offers 2 forms of PvP – Open world PvP and arena-based PvP. In contrast to the gank-fest that some MMOs’ open world PvP is made up of, the open world PvP in this game is based on which faction costume you are wearing or the lack there of. So, in other words, you need to actually “flag” yourself for PvP before engaging in any open world fights. The game only rewards player kills within a valid level range as well. If you like to be competitive and climb the PvP rank ladder though, you might want to go the more ‘professional’ route and participate in 1-vs-1 or 3-vs-3 arena matches.
The equipment system that Blade & Soul has is pretty unique too. In addition to the usual weapons (there is no armor though), the game provides you with a Soul Shield system. Each Soul Shield is made up of 8 soul shield fragments and of course, there are bonuses that you can get if you managed to collect 3, 5 or all 8 pieces of the soul shield. There are many different types of soul shields and each of them grants you a different type of stat boost. You can even reinforce your shield to increase its stats. However, there’s a catch - Some shields can only be active when you have the associated faction outfit on as well.
Besides gear and equipments, your character will also have a wardrobe that stores up all your costumes. You can preview costumes that you’ve collected and even those that you don’t have. Interestingly, the game adds in a hint in the tooltip to show you where you can find a particular costume. Most of these outfits, as mentioned, are faction-based and will influence how the world around react to you (including NPCs). The outfit you choose to wear will not affect your stats in any way though. There are also cosmetic costumes that you can buy from the game’s in-game store.
Blade & Soul even have a huge variety of professions that you can pick up and level during your ‘downtime’ in the game. There are 7 different crafting professions, namely the potion-making Silver Cauldron, scroll-crafting Earthseers, Merry Potters, food-producing Acquired Taste, soul plate-making Soul Wardens, weapon-smithing Forgekeepers, and accessories-and-gem-crafters, Radiant Ring. For gathering professions, there are 7 as well, including Herbside Service, Green Thumbs, Tree Fellers, Trapper’s Alliance, Fish Network, Stonecutters, and Prospector’s Union. You’ll then need to choose 2 gathering and crafting professions
As Blade & Soul is a free-to-play game, the game has an in-game store filled with cosmetics, boosts and other stuff that you can buy. It also offers a rank-based premium option. With premium access, you’ll get queue login priority, class-based windwalking animation, as well as nice bonuses, like increased gathering and crafting XP, increased XP earned from combat and faster Chi recovery. As you won’t need a mount in the game when you have windwalking, gliding and a variety of teleportation methods, the game doesn’t sell mounts.
Blade & Soul is without a doubt an impressive game, but there are still some downsides such as rather limited inventory, lack of guides or tutorials for the other aspects of the game like crafting or equipment upgrades, and the default UI can feel a tad bit cluttered especially when pop-ups are involved. That being said, these are perhaps minor annoyances as compared to the immense entertainment value that the game offers.
The community growth at Blade & Soul is nothing short of astonishing! Since the game’s release back in January, its player population has been on a rise and it doesn’t seem to be leveling off any time soon. With the game’s many social features such as in-game chat, and cross-server events and dungeon runs, friendships between players, even those from different servers, can be easily fostered. Furthermore, if you enjoy interacting with your fellow players outside of the game, you might want to drop by and visit Blade & Soul’s vibrant forum community.
The game’s graphics are absolutely amazing. The visuals are crystal clear and very realistic-looking, especially if your computer is powerful enough to run the game at its highest resolution settings. There are also plenty of incredibly scenic locations in the game. The animations are very well-designed, especially the gliding animation, making the gliding movement realistic... something that many Wuxia-type games failed at. Let’s not forget about the game’s brilliant cut scenes too!
For sound, Blade & Soul features huge amounts of voice acting and narration, which can be pretty much a hit-and-miss for me. Personally, it’s nice to have voice acting some of the time, but not too much until it drags on an event. So, for people who like doing things fast, you might want to skip all the narration and just read the texts.
To sum up, Blade & Soul is definitely an MMORPG that MMO fans will want to try. It offers a plethora of unique features such as its ‘downed’ system, fluid action-based combat mechanics, soul shield system, realistic gliding animations, intriguing plotline, and more. There are plenty of things for you to do, such as crafting and gathering, PvPing, questing and running dungeons, as well as absolutely scenic places for you to explore too. Although Blade & Soul won’t be the best MMORPG ever created, it comes really darn close. That being said, if you love martial arts-based MMORPG, Blade & Soul is one game you won’t want to miss out. So, be sure to try it today!