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

Blade & Soul – Preview

Good: Fast-paced action, elaborate character creation, wind-walking, fully voiced storyline
Bad: Voice-acting mostly miss than hit
User Score
(2 votes)
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VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 8.5/10 (2 votes cast)

Blade & Soul is an upcoming free-to-play MMORPG. Aiming to immerse players into a beautifully crafted martial arts inspired world, it combines brightly coloured environments with fast-paced combat. The game already shows a lot of promise to become the go-to title of 2016. But will NCsoft’s latest title stand the test of time?

Blade and Soul title

The reputed Hongmoon School has been your home for quite some time now. Under the watchful eye of master Hong, you and your fellow students train every day in order to hone your skills. However, one faithful day Jinsoyun, an agent of a darkness that once cloaked the earthen realm, appears. Following her lust for power, the woman and her cronies kill everyone in sight, demanding the ill master to hand over the ultimate sword: Twilight’s Edge. Unable to beat Jinsoyun, the legendary warrior is slain and you, branded by a dark curse, are tossed into the waters of the sea.

The story of Blade & Soul takes place in a realm that is slowly being corrupted by the Dark Chi of the world of demons. As one of few witnesses to the massacre of your old school, you take up arms to avenge your friends and teacher, and help save the world. But will you be able to counter the Mark of the Black Rose that was forced upon you? Or will your very own Chi turn rotten before you are able to fulfil your destiny?

For an Asian MMO, Blade & Soul’s character creation is definitely well developed. Next to the traditional features including presets, faces and body types, the game also comes with an impressive amount of body modification sliders. Creating a truly unique character is thus well within this title’s reality. However, we still feel that certain sliders could’ve been replaced by an option to alter accessory colours. Now, this might sound like a little nitpicking, but these accessories become even more important when creating the animal-eared Lyn. The combo of ears and tail are seemingly considered to be some sort of extra. Because of this, these features come in very rigid colour combinations. The options do get mixed a bit to give the illusion of choice, yet that feels a little cheap seeing as the rest can be tossed around at will.


We already mentioned Lyns as a possible race, but Blade & Soul actually features a grand total of four. As descendants to the ‘Sì Líng’ or four divine animals from Chinese Mythology, the mostly human races all bring their own specific mindsets and classes to the battlefield. The Gon, a race of tall humans with incredible strength and famously short fuses, are the proud heirs to ancestors born from Dragons’ breath. Meanwhile, the shorter and plainer Jin, the followers of the Black Tortoise, are kind people with a great sense for right and wrong. The Lyn are of course the token ‘animal/loli’-race. Descendants of the mischievous Kirin, these tiny toe-walking humanoids all feature massive ears and tails. The latter sometimes even to a comical extend. The fourth race, which is linked to the mythical Fenghuang bird (or Funghuang in game), is the gender-gated one of the bunch. Consisting only of elegant ladies, the Yun seem to be all about beauty and balance with nature.

The one thing that definitely draws attention, is the game’s artwork. The scenery is absolutely stunning and each and every character model comes with a great amount of detail. The style is pretty unique and fun, though may come of as strange when supposedly beautiful ladies bring unnaturally looking long arms to the scene. This being said, the variety in body shapes is a very welcome sight. Combine this with a bit of jiggle physics, catwalk striding and a great variety of body flattering outfits for the ladies, and you know the title likes to offer a good bit of fan-service.


The various races in Blade & Soul are connected to a set of three available classes each. In other words, certain jobs can only be performed by a certain clan. For example, the Destroyer class is exclusive to the Gon, the Lyn get to hog both the Summoner and Blade Dancer techniques and the Jin are excellent Assassins. The other classes however, like the Blade Master, Kung Fu Master and Force Master, are not exclusively linked to the Yun, but overlap with multiple races. These class-restrictions of course mean that character creation is about finding balance between looks and the practical. Luckily the game helps making the choice by offering visual previews and written information on play-style and difficulty of every available technique.

Blade & Soul’s gameplay makes good use of the mouse in order to bring beautifully animated fast-paced action. Similar to TERA, the cursor is mainly used to aim and launch your basic attacks while other abilities can be picked by using the keyboard. The game’s action-combat style comes with interesting ways to string skills together into combos. Remembering the right sequences and keeping an eye out for incoming attacks is thus always a must, especially when you’ve got asynchronous cooldowns to think of. Now, the title does seem to like giving out quests requiring a little bit of grind-work. However, because of the smoothness of Blade & Soul’s combat, we actually found ourselves looking for random fights rather than hurrying to get the quests to completion as soon as they became available.

Blade and Soul 3

Next to great combat and customisation options, the title comes with a lot of peculiar features that set it apart from most other MMORPGs. Examples are the evolving weapons, which use enemy weaponry and collected crystals to grow and level up alongside you. On the other hand, there are also the elusive Soul Shields. These clever medallions have the power to alter a character’s basic properties so the player does not need to rely on armourswaps to change stats. Each of these medallions is however broken into 8 pieces, requiring you to hunt down the whole set by slaying corresponding foes. However, mix-and-matching pieces of two different sets can also be done in order to gain certain desired effects.

Something we already love about Blade & Soul, is the way movement outside of combat is handled. For example, characters can jump incredibly high. To give a nice mental image: a simple jump pretty much allows you to ‘Shaolin monk’ all over the place. To top it off, your sprint can lead to a glide from the very start. The animations of these forms of ‘wind walking’ really manage to capture the feel of speed and strangely enough make it all look incredibly natural. Also, moving into instanced locations within a map mostly happens without using actual magical portals. Simply traversing through the symbols at entrances of zones, dungeons and the likes, detaches you from the ‘over-world’. This even happens with minimal to no loading. However, in order for the game to be able to do this, switching maps will usually cause a significantly longer load in return.

Blade & Soul comes with a fully voiced main storyline. Though the voice-acting can really be hit-or-miss, it still adds to the already beautifully created and directed cutscenes. The unfortunate part however, is that certain main quest lines get forgotten and most side quests get no voicing at all. Of course, the game we tested was still in beta, so the end product might actually be an actual fully voiced title after all.

Blade abd Soul 4


Blade & Soul is an upcoming MMORPG we’re definitely looking forward to. The unique art-style, impressive customisation options, smooth animations and incredibly fun battle system all give the game that little extra feel a lot of free-to-play titles seem to lack. Of course, there still are points the title can improve on, but overall Blade & Soul looks like it’s going to be an awesome title and one that might be here to stay.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 8.5/10 (2 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
Blade & Soul – Preview, 8.5 out of 10 based on 2 ratings

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