Title: Blade & Soul: Revolution
Release Date: March 4, 2021
Reviewed On: iOS
Genre: Action MMORPG
Netmarble had the difficult task of bringing Blade & Soul to mobile devices in Blade & Soul: Revolution. While this new iteration meets the basic auto MMORPG needs, the PC version still stands out as a better experience. A larger conversation needs to be had about major PC or console titles successfully making mobile versions since there have only been a few to accomplish that. Regardless, this mobile port doesn’t drop out of the fight too easily.
Blade & Soul: Revolution’s main campaign is practically identical in the mobile version. So if you haven’t played the original all the way to the end game, now’s your chance. The story revolves around your player character, a student at Hongmoon School learning and mastering martial arts. One day, an evil group decides to attack and massacre your entire class, including your master. Out for revenge, you set out into the world. But not without completing a ton of quests from random NPCs around the world first.
I know many players want to quickly grind out the main storyline to grab all the best equipment they can to get to the world boss fights and PVP. However, you may miss out on some decent world-building. If you decide to go the non-auto route, you’ll be happy to know navigating is a lot easier in Blade & Soul: Revolution compared to other mobile MMORPGs thanks to an apparent and visible arrow under your character’s feet to show you where your next quest or sidequest is.
Trying both auto and non-auto options during my time playing felt disjointed. When I put my phone down for about 15 minutes with the autoplay function, I came back to find what essentially felt like 500 notifications of new items, skill level-ups, etc. This would normally be exciting, but the UI was so cluttered.
It became difficult to navigate the screen, which seemed to be always have something in the way. Crazy menu’s aside, the game looks great. I’ll even say it looks a bit better on mobile. Given that the game came out in 2012, things can look choppy on the PC version.
Combat is standard fare when it comes to these action MMORPGs. You can use basic attacks and various skills available to your created character. The chosen skills can combine into new ones to continue your combos on opponents. However, battles can feel like a handout due to low difficulty.
There isn’t any strategy for a majority of fights aside from the occasional boss. In those cases, you will need to dodge roll and pick optimal skills that require a lot of damage or crowd control, depending on the situation you’re in. You could try to auto-fight bosses, but I’ve found the AI can’t always be trusted.
There are some random quick-time events (which I’m not entirely sure how to make happen) that create additional damage or crowd control opportunities. I like that I’m allowed to move around my opponent while performing basic attacks instead of being locked into one position. I’m still able to do damage while maintaining a safe distance.
Aside from your main quest, some PVP/PVE options feel more involved than other games in the genre. When the original Blade & Soul was first released, everyone was very hyped about the PVP. It was skill-oriented, and that remains in the mobile version.
As soon as I enter my first match against another player, I noticed how decked out in gear he was. He almost looked like a dungeon boss from Dark Souls. He quickly chunked my health from 100% to 60% in only a few attacks. I’m not sure how matchmaking works, but if I’m allowed to enter at level 25, the system should have done a better job to find me an opponent around the same power as me.
I don’t know if that player just bought a bunch of stuff from the beginning with real money or has just powered through to the end game in a matter of a few days. Either way, I shouldn’t have been paired with someone that was barely tickled by my attacks.
Blade & Soul: Revolution features some pretty fun dungeon raids and clan/faction-based modes, which can get pretty hectic. The only issue I had was finding an active clan who was willing to participate in the events or anyone who would let me join their party for various PVE fights. So if you can, invite a couple of friends to play with you and start your own clan.
While the main story can be played without a strategy, you’re going to have to really think about your next move in all the PVP/PVE modes. If you decide to go the free-to-play route, don’t expect to dominate any leaderboards. Drops for better equipment are insanely rare. Standard gear pales in comparison to what you can buy right off the bat out of your wallet.
Blade & Soul: Revolution isn’t here to replace Blade & Soul on PC. The mobile offerings are commendable but provide very little above what you’d expect to find in an auto-battle MMORPG. The PVP and PVE offerings are there for players willing to go a few more rounds, but it borders on pay-to-win. While playing Blade & Soul on the go was fun, it sadly isn’t revolutionary.
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