Black Desert Online
Top Critic Average
Black Desert successfully ticks all the requisite boxes expected from an MMORPG, but it doesn't really push the envelope forward in any meaningful way.
These console versions – at least the PS4 Pro Enhanced version I’ve been reviewing – have been heavily struggling under its mighty weight, and perhaps needed a little more optimisation before it launched out in the world of the sofa dwelling controller types.
As someone who generally enjoys mindless grinding, there was some comfort in making my way through Black Desert’s massive landscape. But when there are other options that feel more polished, thoughtful, and creative, it’s hard to recommend Black Desert unless the absence of a subscription fee is a key factor.
Black Desert does a lot right but a lot of it is hard to experience with little to no tutorial and technical issues that never really let up. It's clear that the current generation of console just isn't quite up to handling a game of this magnitude, but even so Black Desert provides an epic and frequently beautiful MMORPG experience.
Black Desert is a beautiful looking game with plenty to offer, it just has a bit of a learning curve and some rather annoying design choices. In a lot of ways, I could see it being a fun game you casually play and enjoy with a friend or your guild, but it doesn't seem to have the same inviting feeling Final Fantasy XIV or ESO have. This is a shame, though a lot of things can be fixed with patches. Plus, the core concept is at least fun enough to make it worth the initial investment.
Ultimately, Black Desert on PS4 is very user-friendly, and looks fantastic when running at a premium performance level. But while Black Desert’s aesthetic prowess and customizable sandbox experience is an achievement in the world of MMOs, it’s not a game that offers enough enticement in the minute-to-minute gameplay — or even in the grander, month-to-month scope of things — to leave me thirsty for more.
Black Desert is rougher than a badger's behind, and the simple combat won't blow anyone's skirt up, but the game does have upsides. The world is fleshed out and fun to explore, the side activities are more amusing than the campaign, and the character creation is superb. This is the sort of game that will undoubtedly appeal to a small subset of people who are more than happy to accept the uglier technical issues as the admission price to a well realised world full of things to do.
Black Desert is a game that after 3 years is more alive than ever, with new game modes, and a renewed technical aspect that will please both new and veterans.
Review in Spanish | Read full review
If you can get past its flaws, Black Desert will reward you with a gorgeous game world and some incredible combat, but poor tutorials, repetitive missions, a messy interface, and the odd set of bugs stop it from being anything more than average.
It's cool to be the hero you were meant to become in a pretty world, but Black Desert is lacking in the meat of other classic MMOs and requires a hefty grind.