If 2020 has allowed me to do one thing, it’s been to rediscover my inner gamer. The whole “working from home” thing has given me some extra time to lose myself in virtual worlds, even while my doggo sits and licks my hands while I play through my back catalogue of games. So, on paper, Black Desert Online was a no brainer for me. RPG with a massive world to explore, stunning graphics throughout and huge customisation? Sign me up!
First of all, if you do decide to invest your money to start in Black Desert Online, you need to know what you’re getting into. The game takes up just over 50GB of hard drive space on your PS4. For comparison, GTA takes up about 80GB. Considering the depths that the world of Black Desert Online goes into, that’s not bad at all.
Unfortunately, that’s where things take a sour(ish) turn. I’ve no issue with paying a subscription to gain full access to online multiplayer and everything that comes with it. But even before you get to see anything of the game, Black Desert forces you to sign up for Playstation Plus. That’s even before accessing the main menu, never mind seeing anything of the game before deciding if you want to invest more money into it. That puts it into the pay to win (more like pay to play!) category of games for me. Not cool Pearl Abyss, not cool at all.
Ok, so now we’re ready to start playing, right? Wrong. Choosing a character and customizing him or her to a level where you’re happy is tedious in Black Desert. And that’s being kind. There are 18 different character classes to choose from. Each class has their own personality traits. You can then manipulate these using horoscopes. You honestly could spend hours just tweaking your characters looks and clothing. For example, you can adjust the hairstyle length at the front, sides and back. It may appeal to gamers who love to go hardcore when customising, but for me, it feels more like overkill. After nearly an hour sitting in front of my TV, I just went for one of the stock characters to finally get playing.
Once you’re in game however, things do start to pick up. You launch your game within a beginners server, allowing you time to get used to the mechanics and to level up before taking on some of the meatier challenges on offer. The first missions are all based around dialogue with the other characters, and navigating your way around the world. There are also multiple level up events that you can partake in to gain experience quicker. This can feel a little long winded, especially if you are looking to get straight into the action. But considering the scale of the world behind the game, this can be forgiven.
Graphically, the world of Black Desert Online is nothing short of mesmerizing. The attention to detail given to the landscapes must be applauded. Even down to the levels of detail on the characters. I know that might sound a bit contradictory, given I’ve just slated the game for the amount of time needed to actually get going. But it does make the game very impressive visually.
Black Desert Online, is it any good?
After the challenges experienced from the outset, Black Desert Online turned out to be better than expected. Pay for play annoys me at the best of times, so this managed to really set me off on a bad note. Customisation options available are vast, but the time investment that’s needed is just too much for me personally but may suit a more hardcore gamer. And while the graphics are stunning, the gameplay is more suited to gamers who are willing and able to put the time in. More casual gamers would do well to check out our Spiderman review or check out our Assassins Creed Valhalla review.