The first ever trailer released for Blade & Soul came way back in 2009. Let that sink in for a second. That was over six years ago. The way i put that in prospective for myself is that I was still playing Final Fantasy XI back then. For me that was forever and a while ago. An eternity as far as MMO’s go. I can still remember discussing this game with my guild at the time – about how amazing B&S looked. Well, anything looked amazing compared to what we were playing, so it didn’t take much to impress us. Little did I know it would take longer for the game to release in the west than the complete duration of my XI playing time.
Blade & Soul is finally here and it’s about damn time. Is it too little too late to make a mark on the MMO landscape? From my short play time so far, I’d have to say yes, absolutely. I could go through a laundry list of what the genre has gone through in the last six years, but that would take a week to read so I’ll refrain. I will say this game had a window of opportunity a few years ago when it officially launched in Korea, but at this point, I just don’t see it having any lasting power. I’m going to spend some more time in-game before I fully make up my mind so this isn’t a review of any sorts. This is just my gut feeling after waiting so long and finally getting to experience the first 20 levels or so. Take that as you will.
As with any Korean MMO, i see no reason to play as anything other than a female character. Lets be honest here – the eye candy is strong with this one. It certainly doesn’t disappoint in that regard. I broke out my favorite anime tropes, from when I was younger and still watched anime, to create my character. Of course I have a thing for red heads so I did my best to indulge that the best I could. I think I did a decent job creating my Blade Master. I better have since I spent a ridiculous amount of time with the character creator, which by the way is pretty good.
The martial arts theme is also prevalent in this one so it’s no surprise that the use of high wire flying acrobatics is a major game play mechanic. I actually really enjoy this feature so far. It perfectly mixes what would typically be called a sprint and a glide into what could only be described as something from Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon. I love that movie so it was no surprise to me that I enjoy it in this game. It’s nice to see more and more MMO’s embrace the fun of gliding without the need for flying mounts. This is the way I would personally go with any new MMO but that’s just me. The beauty of this mechanic is that it also works on water and allows players to glide on the surface. It’s ridiculously fun seeing how far you can glide by jumping off high structures since there’s no limited glide resource.
Of course no MMO would get a second look from me without some sort of wardrobe or cosmetic feature. B&S doesn’t disappoint in this regard either. The outfits are gorgeous and of course completely impractical for any sort of combat encounter. I’ve never been one of those players that required realistic protection in my games so I’m fine with this as well. This is why it’s called fantasy. By level 20, I was already rocking six different outfits. Since armor doesn’t actually have any sort of stats on it, one could wear whatever they like. They’re completely for aesthetics. Player stats are handled by your weapon, jewelry, and what i like to call pizza slices. Anyone that has played will understand the reference.
I’m going to spend a little more time in the game and get myself to max level before i decide to write any sort of review. So far my negatives outweigh my positives but those could change later on. Evaluating any MMO on the first few levels is never something anyone should do. There are exceptions of course, if the game just outright stinks from the get-go, but this one doesn’t so far. I’m not expecting my main opinion to change but stranger things have happened. Stay tuned!