The folks in Korea have been pumping out some serious MMORPGs in the past several years and Blade & Soul is the latest to hit western audiences with a huge fist of both grandiose settings but the never-lacking hint of serious fan service. Big, beefy dudes with swords? Check. Anime-esque scantily clad heroines? Double check. I can't figure out quite what the trend is but it's definitely there. Everything coming from this region of the gaming world is absolutely gorgeous, making my eyes pop with wonder but also making me feel a bit uncomfortable as female characters bounce and jiggle, defying all physics. In a sense, so far, Blade & Soul is a free-to-play MMORPG that is a beautiful clone of many games before it.
Let's Not Write it Off Quite Yet
Ok, ok. I started out going straight for the jugular of the games immediate weaknesses. Now, in the early stages, I still think it has quite the potential to turn into something special. First off, as you can see from our screenshots, it's absolutely gorgeous in the graphics department. Also, it's a very meaty adventure for a free-to-play title. Most importantly, the classes and combat are quite unique and a blast to play. In the end though, my biggest complaint from many ARPGs and MMORPGs is that the stories and quests are throw away at best. After an extremely well scripted and powerful intro, Blade & Soul turns to the lame, "NEXT NEXT NEXT" style of boring quests. It doesn't last all the way through but I sure wish we'd get something more interesting in 2016.
It all comes down to this: Should you take the plunge? The better question is: Why not? If you're looking for a better than average martial arts/sorcery style adventure style MMO that is at the all time low price of FREE, you could do a lot worse. I dunno, maybe the game will grow more on me as I play through it's crazy, yet stunningly rendered world. Stay tuned.