Neowiz Games, Round 8 Studio, R8S Entertainment Limited
BANDAI NAMCO, Neowiz Games, Namco Bandai Games America INC
Playstion 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows
Originally released for PC but now finally released on consoles, I was able to get my hands on Bless Unleashed for the PS4. It’s time to dive back into the world of MMORPGs again!
I am fairly familiar with MMORPGs’ mechanics as Final Fantasy XIV almost consumed me, Black Desert Online, attempted to play Granda Espada, dipped my toe in World of Warcraft had my hands all over the early access of Baldur’s Gate 3. There was one game that I didn’t have enough exposure to Bless Online. Many people may not be aware of Bless, but some may remember a PC game with a similar name, Bless Online. I am aware of both the legacy of the previous Bless and its controversy upon release. I’ll lay down some history about Bless Online before moving onto my Bless Unleashed review.
Bless Online was developed by a small South Korean company named Neowiz Bless Studio and published by Neowiz Games. It was a beautiful MMORPG with character creation that was on par with Black Desert Online, Final Fantasy XIV, to Granada Espada. Bless Online also had a seamless battle to idle transitions that were beautifully animated and a seemingly captivating story.
Upon its release in May 2019, Bless Online became wildly popular on its initial release but soon saw a huge drop off as it quickly became exploitable in terms of some of the game mechanics, i.e., level growth, money, pets, etc. Eventually, the Bless Online servers closed in September 2019.
The reason for the closing of the servers/game was listed as a “struggling user base size.”
Now for Bless Unleashed.
This version of Bless had a complete overhaul and some simplifications to the game, as it can still be played on PC, but it has been modified for console gaming. Bless Unleashed is still sticking to its roots as an MMORPG, but this time it is free to play, which is a huge difference compared to the original. Also, within Bless Unleashed, you can enjoy PvP (Player vs. Player), PvE (Player vs. Event) via the arenas, dungeon crawl, craft, and more.
Bless Unleashed was developed byNeowiz Games, Round 8 Studio, and R8S Entertainment and published by Bandai Namco, Neowiz Games, and Namco Bandai Games America. Another big change is having a well-established publisher, Bandai Namco.
I headed into the game brimming with optimism and tried my hand at Bless Unleashed.
Upon starting the game, you are thrown into a dream where I noticed some pixelation or degradation in the graphics, which caused me to pause for a moment, but I continued. Despite the amazing art, the game’s introduction lore didn’t hold my attention, and I am a story-driven gamer. But from what I can tell, you are the chosen warrior who will save the world from the darkness, devils, and demons, but you need to awaken your potential first.
Once you pass the dream, you are put into the character creation screen. I am a huge advocate for character creation, as it was one of Bless Online‘s most poignant features. I understand, in theory, they are different games (Bless Online vs. Bless Unleashed), but if anyone makes an MMORPG, having good options for character creation is a must. Unfortunately, in Bless Unleashed, the options were lacking. During the character creation screen, you choose your race and class. You have four races (Humans, Elves, Varg, Ippin) and five different character classes (Berserker, Crusader, Mage, Priest, Ranger). I chose an Elven Ranger.
Following the frustration of choosing a name, A LOT of names seem to be taken; you are thrown into your interactive tutorial. The controls are fairly easy to pick up as well as your abilities for your specific class. I will admit it is good for myself, and maybe that play MMOs via a controller or keyboard and mouse. Changing from one or the other is a huge learning curve, but these controls were easier than usual. During the tutorial and through the game, your screen will look somewhat similar to this, but once out of the tutorial, the set of moves are accessible at the upper left corner will disappear.
After the tutorial, you are thrown into real-time as the tutorial was a dream. Another thing that I noticed right off the bat was the slow texture load in. I’ve experienced slow texture loads in complete games, but this was super prevalent as well as glitches. This includes events not triggering, talking to space only then for the character to appear when the quest/task is completed, or you’d be hitting a target, and it disappears/died. There’s also a lot of lag. I picked up Bless Unleashed at different times to see if the servers were just bogged down. Those issues seemed to happen regardless of when I played. I also noticed many NPC character assets being reused, no color changes, or hair differences, or anything of the like. Seeing a handful of the same character models in the proximity of your character is a bit off-putting.
Of course, in MMOs, you have your quests, weapon/level grinding, item searching, and more. It is straightforward to level/grind as well as getting money in Bless Unleashed. It seems as if you can complete the same quest more than once and still receive the items/experience you would despite already completing it.
Despite the features and flaws I’ve mentioned above, this would be the perfect MMORPG to play with friends. It’s free to play, easy to pick up, and has more realistic graphics if you or your friends are looking for something not as cutesy as Genshin Impact.
Bless Unleashed Review
Bless Unleashed is free to play, easy to pick up, and has more realistic graphics if you or your friends are looking for something not as cutesy as Genshin Impact.