The release of Black Desert Mobile is drawing near and with so many features to uphold, fans of the original MMORPG wait anxiously to see what sacrifices were required for functionality on mobile platforms. Fortunately, a recent hands-on preview alleviated many fears—only a few features had to be cut from this terrific mobile adaptation.
Classic functions such as strategic crowd-control battling and boss battles remain intact for Black Desert Mobile, along with in-depth character customization and features such as gathering resources. The best part? The open-world atmosphere is alive and well.
The Bad And The Ugly
Now, before getting into all of the good stuff, let's get the bad and the ugly out of the way. Though Pearl Abyss did a commendable job adapting the true MMORPG experience onto a mobile platform, there were still a few features the developers had to minimize in order to make it work.
The condensed view of the main action screen is one of the biggest setbacks for Black Desert Mobile. The mobile platform managed to fit nearly all the information found on a classic desktop view, plus movement controls. A joystick is located in the left corner of the screen, along with a dodge button in the right corner. (During battles the dodge button is replaced with a skill panel.) This primary screen also features a corner box displaying either a map of the area or near-by activities. The same screen hosts achievement notifications, game alerts, area progress, buttons to access battle skills, inventory, and the Black Spirit panel. This is along with active quests, health statistics, potions and more. While it's great to have all this information at a glance, the screen is left feeling a bit cramped. The set-up leaves little room for uninhibited gameplay.
The graphics are a noticeable downgrade from the PC version, which is to be expected of a mobile port. Pearl Abyss made an obvious effort not to skimp where they didn't have to, but the character interactions, scenery, and general actions throughout the open-world took the brunt of this expected hit. However, Black Desert Online fans will be relieved to know those skill animations in battle have not completely lost their impact.
Fewer Character Choices
Black Desert Online boasts a plethora of class choices from several types of warriors, ninjas, rangers, and a bounty of magic classes. Unfortunately, only a small selection made the transition to the mobile platform. This doesn't discredit the enjoyment that can still be had through playing the selected few. With the Giant, Warrior, Valkyrie, Ranger, and Witch all migrating over to Black Desert Mobile, Pearl Abyss did a good job encapsulating the general playstyles, though surely some players' favorites did not make the cut.
Gorgeous Character Customization
Character creation is one feature where the developer's efforts truly shine through. Advanced customization options allow for highly customizable characters. With every feature bendable to the creator's will, players could spend hours nit-picking at every option. There is even a selection of outfits to choose from, though the character does not start out in-game with the chosen apparel.
The best of the game's graphics show here as well, boasting a shocking level of realism for a mobile game. This helps elevate it when compared to other mobile MMORPGs, as most character creation tools leave much to be desired.
With three character slots available at the start of the game, this feature can be enjoyed a few times over without sacrificing game progress. After the character selection screen, the game incorporates the detailed graphics a bit more, opening to a zoomed-in view of the character amidst the last open-world location being played. From there, the focus can be turned toward preparing for the next adventure or players can get right to it simply by zooming out.
Open-World and Battle Strategies On Your Phone
Black Desert Mobile preserves the open-world gameplay completely, allowing players to roam around between quests, farm resources, and even run their own camp. The camp is fun because it not only offers a birds-eye view for easy management, but it allows the player to join the character and run around the camp in a third-person view. This feature presents the opportunity to show off the effort put into character graphics more throughout gameplay rather than just in the character creator.
This mobile adaptation taps into the MMORPG style of gameplay by utilizing the mechanic of grinding out quests and achievements to level up and gain materials in order to enhance skills or equipment. All this grinding enables the character to continue onto harder Missions which progress the storyline. It's worth noting the cutscenes which begin to unravel the story, also do not lack in the graphics department and provide some good entertainment.
Optimizing a skill set (preferably multiple) and honing battle techniques is still very much prevalent in Black Desert Mobile. Equipping a set of skills that work well together and then utilizing them efficiently can still make or break a victory, unlike some mobile title adaptations where button-mashing will suffice.
Finally, An Actual Open-World For Mobile
Black Desert Mobile has preserved the MMORPG experience of the original game, bringing with it a surprising amount of features for a mobile game. Players will find every feature they expect from a desktop title, albeit condensed for this mobile package. Though features like auto-travel have been put in place for the sake of simplicity, the open-world experience is still very much intact. While class choices and graphics suffered some necessary cuts, the thrilling battle animations and customizable gameplay expected of the Black Desert title remain alive and well.
Black Desert Mobile is expect to launch this December. However, the game is soft-launching October 24th on Android via the Google Play Store in Canada, Chile, Sweden, Malaysia, Turkey, Ireland and Australia. As it stands, this is already a solid choice for a mobile MMORPG. With over a month before launch, it'll be interesting to see what changes for the official release.