Black Desert Online
Top Critic Average
Much of Black Desert Online is a convoluted mess, but few games let you create a virtual life this absorbing.
An absolutely beautiful MMO from developer Pearl Abyss. The beauty is backed by a complex sandbox MMO that offers a lot of freedom, but doesn't explain its systems to players all that well. If you're into starting up a second fantasy life and have the time to spend learning the mechanics, Black Desert Online might be the game for you.
It's exciting to play an MMO that understands the importance of building a world worth living in, not just erecting a corridor of static set pieces to run through on your quest for power.
Pearl Abyss' Black Desert Online is an incredibly detailed, visually gorgeous MMORPG that succeeds at nearly everything but having a beating heart and soul.
A gorgeous world that feels truly alive, Black Desert Online is a solid entry into the sandbox subgenre of MMOs. Benefiting from having been launched in a major market for a year before coming to the West, it offers an open world to explore, and an especially deep tradeskill and trading system mixed with an action-oriented combat scheme.
Black Desert is an expansive game, but Pearl Abyss needs to fix its technical problems on Xbox One.
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 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.
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 Online wants to be distinct from other MMORPGs, but it isn't different enough in the ways which really matter. The game's few innovations aren't enough to make up for its myriad shortcomings, making it come across as just another MMORPG.