Blade & Soul – Review
Follow Genre: Free-to-play MMORPG
Developer: Team Bloodlust (NCsoft Developer Division)
Publisher: NCsoft
Platform: PC
Tested on: PC

Blade & Soul – Review

Site Score
Good: Fluid combat and combo system, large variety off character mobility, visually very pleasing
Bad: Standard "kill-and-collect" quests, only two character slots
User Score
(0 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)

Every so often a game receives a major hype prior to its release. The much anticipated F2P MMO Blade & Soul is a class A example of this. Furthermore, since its release back in 2012, it has captivated Asian gamers from the first day the servers were accessible. With such popularity under its belt leading to its own anime adaption, the release in Europe and the Americas was one that was on the agendas of many fans. While this game at first glimpse may seem yet another bland PVP packed rumble complete with martial arts and sword combat, looking into the details reveals a true MMORPG gem.



The Blade & Soul storyline is constructed in a typical lightweight fashion for MMORPGs. It is most definitely present, but it is not a binding contract as to what the player should be doing. Instead, it presents a thread of suggested missions and subjects that form a whole and make sure a story is told in between the grinding.

That being said, the storyline departs with your rescue by the captain of the Blue Guard by the ocean. During an intense flashback, which also forms the interactive tutorial, the plotline is introduced using some amazing cut scenes. The storyline then continues with a jolt of excitement as the martial arts school you are attending is viciously annihilated by Yuran and her comrades, the main villains of the story. Narrowly escaping, you vow to have your revenge on the evildoers and to have your own powers grow so that one day you can find peace by avenging the brothers and sisters of the dojo, destroying Yuran in the process.


In terms of graphics, Blade & Soul might be lagging behind a bit, likely due to the fact that it has been around for already 4 years. This does have a huge benefit, as this time has been used to exterminate most of the bugs and this gives the game a very smooth look with only minor hiccups. As is often the case, the graphics itself are heavily dependent on the hardware the game is run on, but generally is rendered bright and appealing. On the highest settings, the game is able to compete with other much anticipated giants, such as Black Desert Online. Even if the graphics are deemed by some to be outdated, they must’ve aged pretty well.

Blade and Soul 2

Aside from the marginally impressive backgrounds, monsters and enemies, spells and skills, there is one feature that makes Blade & Soul stand out from the other contemporary MMORPGs and that is the way characters are represented. Fully in line with its anime background and the culture in which the game was developed, women are generally overly sexualized. This may make controlling a character shrouded in nothing but a thong, high heels and armour that covers not even 10% of what it should protect a little uncomfortable, though the same on a bulky male (which some outfits allow) certainly brings hilarity to the party.


In terms of audio, Blade & Soul does not really stand out. The classical soundtrack could be easily swapped out with that of other established MMO’s such as Guild Wars and nobody would bat an eye. However, a more defining factor is the large quantities of voice acting and narratives. Unfortunately the length of dialogues is not tailored to the average attention span of an excited gamer. Players that are still captivated after 15 minutes of listening to a dialog that takes place in an event deserve a medal. Indeed, most times the quality of the voice acting is underestimated despite translation errors. The latter should get the benefit of the doubt, because it is not the first time this is noticeable in a port from an Asian game. The dialogs are understandably skipped as some players would rather read the dialog and get back to cashing in those quests.

Blade and Soul rev 1


First impression do last and this is definitely also the case for any aspiring MMO. The first thing players are presented with is the character creation. There is the option to choose between 4 unique races, being the Jin, Gon, Lyn and Yun. Jins and are Yuns are seemingly human, with the latter being gender locked and can only be female. Gons are a race of giants and finally Lyns are more furry like, complete with pointy pop-up ears.

Once you have set the race, you’ll need to choose your class from the get-go. There is a plethora of choices, including Blade Master, Assassin, Kung Fu Master, Force Master, Destroyer, Blade Dancer, Summoner and Warlock. Off course each of these has a unique play style, so this could very well be a step that players need to but extra sensible thoughts in in order to find the class that suits those most. Rolling with a class that doesn’t match your likings might render the game boring very quickly. Blade & Soul has an elegant solution for this by displaying detailed information about each job before making the selection. Do note that some classes are race-locked, with most races having about 3 options.

After the player made a well-thought-out decision, the most appealing topic on character customization appears. A large amount of physical features can be manipulated using the standard sliders. There are many more details that can be tweaked, molding your character as you please. For free players, this process is probably of even greater importance as they are only granted two free character slots, with the option to purchase more.

Blade and Soul rev 3

The brand new character will be thrown right into the tutorial-storyline facing very nice cut scenes. The tutorial is very elaborate and is definitely sufficient to have the player learn the ropes. It quickly becomes clear that the motion is somewhat unrealistic, but this is easily forgiven considering Blade & Soul is a martial arts-based game, so some Jacky Chan moves are to be included for sure. Movement includes superhuman jumps, sprints and climbs, allowing you to run across rooftops and even perform incredible stunts such as running up a vertical wall followed by a smooth glide to another destination.

Combat wise, Blade & Soul feels incredibly smooth and fluid. The combat system is action based with a well-developed combo system. The major selling point aside from the in depth character creation module is the amazing amount of combat actions that can be performed in tandem and this only gets better when reaching higher levels, because the more points are unlocked in the skill tree, the more fantastic moves can be linked together into devastating assaults on the enemy. To make the matter even more versatile, there are various skills that are triggered by a situation your character is encountering. For example, some skills are only useable after being knocked over or while being airborne. These situations can be quite extreme, as even when your health runs out and you are downed, victory can still be attained using a last chance skill. Becoming better at the fighting is essential in both the PvE with dungeons and quests as well as the PvP, outshining other players in order to defeat them in combat.

Blade and Soul rev 4

For players who enjoy the latter, Blade & Soul comes with 2 platforms for player versus player combat. Firstly, there is an open world PvP. It is based on which faction you belong to, which is defined by your costume. In this mode, players are rewarded for defeating foes that are within a certain level range. If this is not enough or you feel like this is not satisfying enough for your competitive nature, there is the second PvP mode: Arena mode. Here, players participate in 1-vs-1 or 3-vs-3 matchups.

The equipment system in Blade & Soul is unexpectedly simple. There are the usual weapons, the unusual lack of functional armour (only for display) and the unique Soul Shield system. Each of these is made up of soul fragments with bonus effects depending on how many of these you have collected. Each type of soul shield buffs a different type of stat. Beware though, some shields can only be used by certain factions and might leave its user open for attack by hostile players! As stated before, armour has no effect except on your character’s stats, but it might influence the faction you belong to, which in turn alters the interaction and dialogue with certain NPCs.

Blade and Soul rev 5


Blade & Soul is an impressive MMORPG that has the potential to age beautifully, especially if some negative points can be managed in the future. A revised translation of the original dialogues, an expansion of inventory space, an extended tutorial on equipment and how to properly use Soul Shields and an update from the default UI and a more elaborated quest pattern (currently most of which are of the standard “kill-and-collect” type) can all be swiftly solved. In the end, these are all minor comments and are far outweighed by the entertainment value the game can potentially deliver. With a wide range of unprecedented features, such as the situational skill system, the fluid combo system and the soul shield mechanic, there is little chance of the game getting dull anytime soon. Blade & Soul is one of those titles that will probably make it on the to-do list of any MMORPG fanatic.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)


  1. […] Blade & Soul is a martial arts MMORPG developed by NCSOFT that puts the player on a quest for vengeance and redemption. It should come as no surprise that the game world is Asian themed since martial arts are the core aspect of the the gameplay. Fans of Asian martial arts adventure movies such as Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon can rejoice as the game also brings homage to a very common special move. Windwalking movement will be ever present. The latest content update Dark Origins went live today and features several new additions to the game for both pve and pvp oriented players. Anyone interested can read our review of the original game here. […]

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    0 people found this helpful
    Was this review helpful?
  2. […] can check out our reviews on Blade & Soul here. We’ve also done a review on Blade & Soul: Warden’s Fury […]

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    0 people found this helpful
    Was this review helpful?

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.