This first-ever edition of Choose My Portable Adventure was more hotly contested than I was expecting. By the narrowest of margins – six votes, to be exact — Black Desert Mobile won out the vote against Villagers & Heroes, and so that’s where we start our new year of steered MMO gaming.
I pre-registered for the game and even installed it the moment it was ready, but I never really went too deep before this column, making it as far as the character creator. That said, even from those early few steps, it seemed clear that Black Desert Mobile is a surprisingly robust piece of mobile MMORPG gaming, with a character creator that’s just as in depth and involved as its PC counterpart.
Which is a long way of saying I spent a lot of time fashioning my Valkyrie.
I chose the Valkyrie out of habit, really. Whenever I step in to a new MMORPG, I tend to favor the tanks first, as they provide the survivability I need while I learn the ropes of combat and what happens out in a game’s world. I’m still undecided if that was a wise choice for BDO Mobile, mostly for the fact that I’m yet to feel really truly tested in combat. But boy do I look good carving up some enemies.
Just like the full-size version, combat in this game is flashy, fast-paced, and supremely stylish. My Valkyrie was cleaving through throngs of random wildlife and goblinoids in almost no time at all, and even with only a couple of rudimentary skills, she looked really good doing it. The combat animations in this game are not really beaten by many, whether it’s mobile games or otherwise.
In fact, for a mobile MMO, this game looks desperately pretty overall. I’m playing on an LG G7 ThinQ, which handles things well, though not on what I’d call a particularly crispy framerate and not without some graphical load-in. Still, I can’t say I was surprised by this – the PC version had that problem when last I played, so I was pretty much prepared for it. As a result, I find that BDO Mobile is a desperately pretty piece of gaming, mobile or otherwise.
About the only thing I could fault this game for is the amount of crap that’s on the screen. There are a lot of little buttons that clutter the corners of my mobile device, and several of them blink and glow like a semi-restrained pachinko machine. These UI elements generally do aim me at things that I’m meant to collect like login rewards, achievement rewards, and other freebies, so I suppose it’s not a big deal. Still, there are a lot of these buttons everywhere. Also, BDO Mobile is guilty of the cardinal sin of the login popup ad for its own store, which I detest.
Even so, BDO Mobile has made a strong first impression, at least in terms of general visuals and combat feel. As for the regular gameplay beats, the mobile version once more seems to follow its big brother in that the early game’s hub-style questing serves as a tutorial for the many systems that BDO Mobile has to offer. And, just like its cousin, this game has lots of systems; already I’ve been introduced to pets, equipment enhancement, feeding the Black Spirit, Boss Fights, and my own Campsite.
It sounds like a lot when put on paper, but thus far these tutorial quests have done a solid job of layering things on at a reasonable pace. There are a whole lot of currencies and materials one has to keep in mind, and I’m not really often too clear how many I have at any given moment right now. Still, when I get to the associated UI element, it becomes pretty clear within moments what things I need to perform what activity.
And it just seems to keep piling on, too. Black stones for armor, black stones for weapons, silver, pet food, food for Workers, gathered materials; there is so much stuff in this game. It’s loaded with stuff. It’s honestly a bit dizzying.
And, frankly, a bit worrying. A cursory glance of the game’s cash shop shows a multitude of items that appear to be geared to the pay-for-convenience route, and while the amount of freebies I’ve been getting from the game for doing even the most rudimentary of things has been alarmingly generous, it also makes me wonder at what point the rug will be pulled out from beneath my feet. Because I know it’s coming. That well is going to dry up any moment now…
Still, I am having way more fun in this game than I thought I would. Don’t let detractors fool you, it’s not quite the auto-playing thing that a game like Lineage II Revolution may be. There is auto-pathing to quest objectives, sure, and pressing combat buttons does lock your character to the nearest enemy to engage the skill. That said, it’s more active than one might assume, and certainly a lot more engaging. And, again, it’s hard to hate an auto-targeting action combat model when it looks this good.
In fact, I’m so keen to keep on playing Black Desert Mobile that I’ve even got a poll option lined up! Right now, most of my stuff is focused on the PvE/tutorial beats, but I’m nearing the point where I should be able to unlock the PvP Arena and even the Boss Rush in a matter of a couple of hours, so I’d be willing to give those a shot. Or, perhaps, I should just focus on the PvE stuff that’s unfurling before me first. So, which direction should I go?
What should be my primary activity in Black Desert Mobile?
- The PvP Arena. Because PvP on mobile has to be not so great, right? (18%, 22 Votes)
- Boss Rush. Fight the big fellas! (33%, 39 Votes)
- The PvE quests. Ignore the extra stuff and just level up. (49%, 59 Votes)
Total Voters: 120
Like usual, polling will end at 1:00 p.m. EST on Friday, January 10th. In the meantime, I’m going to hop back in, auto-walk to some more quest objectives, and maybe continue to grow in levels, CP, and general power. I’m seriously eager to see what more stuff this game hands over to me.