Bless Unleashed emerged as something of a spiritual successor to Bless Online, an MMORPG released for the PC in 2018, but which had its servers shut down less than two years later. At the time, the game was bombarded by negative reviews, mainly for its major performance issues, as well as an aggressive pay-to-win model. The developers decided to abandon the project to redo it entirely based on the criticism they received, and thus was born Bless Unleashed, but this time aimed at the consoles, arriving first on Xbox One.
The title, which follows the free to play model, was remade from scratch, being totally designed to optimize the console experience. It came to life through a partnership between developer Round 8 Studio and Bandai Namco.
After learning from your previous project, have the developers been able to offer a good, and fair, MMORPG option to players? Check out our review.
Bless Unleashed Story
Even though there are some MMORPGs with great and remarkable stories, such as The Elder Scrolls Online and World of Warcraft, most usually have a basic story, which serves only to make sense for the players’ exploration and progression, not necessarily being unforgettable. However, it is something interesting to enrich the universe where the plot takes place, so that it is, at least, good to follow.
In Bless Unleashed we are living in the world of Lumios, where Order and Chaos are in constant conflict. On one side we have Physera, the god of Order, and on the other side of the coin, we have Daemon, the god of Chaos, who was defeated after aeons of battle. However, the war cost the deaths of many lesser gods, prompting Physera to create a law prohibiting one god from killing another again. After a long period of peace in Lumios, dark forces went into action again under the name Faceless and murdered a powerful priestess, who led a peaceful island. But its destruction hasn’t stopped on this tiny island, and it’s spreading across the continent.
As one of the survivors of this initial attack, and possessed of special powers, we took action to unravel this evil plan and discover who is behind it all. Sounds amazing, doesn’t it? But in practice, the story quickly becomes forgettable and filled with bland characters.
You spend a lot of your time talking to identical NPCs, which breaks a lot of the immersion. Seriously, most of them are blatant clones of each other. The missions are uninteresting, leading you to eliminate certain numbers of enemies or gather trivial resources, which is no different from many other MMORPGs. You only perform these activities to get rewards and gain the experience needed to level up.
The amount of experience gained in missions is also problematic, and even if you accomplish everything that appears on the map, you will reach a point where this will not be enough, and advance in the plot and, consequently, in the game, you will have to, necessarily, keep killing enemies repeatedly on maps or holding encounters to eliminate world bosses.
However, the in-game store is crammed with experience boosters, and it’s hard to think that this slow way of advancing the game wasn’t done on purpose so that the player feels encouraged to put in real money to reach their goals. But I will leave to talk about microtransactions later.
Based on my experience and that of two other friends who played with me, no one felt excited to advance beyond level 20, which is too bad for a game of this genre, where the soul is in offering something fun and interesting, in order to trap players in your universe for a long time.
Bless Unleashed Creating your Character
An important part in any RPG, and this is no different in an MMO, is creating your character, in order to make the player feel part of that universe. Bless Unleashed has several customization options, offering a good amount of tools for the player to create their own hero. It’s nothing very robust, allowing for very unique creations, but it fulfils its role decently.
In addition to the physical appearance, we can choose from five different classes that suit the style of play the best. Be it the tank Crusader, the healer Priest, the traditional Mage for spells and the Ranger archer, and finally the Berseker warrior who takes care of battles with his bestial style. Even though classic classes like a Rogue are lacking, for example, the available options can suit most styles, be it supports or ranged DPS and melee combat. Not sure which one to take? The game offers an interesting tutorial where we can play with the class at maximum level, showing its full potential.
Regarding the choice of breed, this will bring some limitations for customization, as there are situations like the Varg giants that can only be Berseker, and the class is also restricted to them, or how the fluffy and tiny Ippin are restricted to the Priest and Crusader classes.
Bless Unleashed Gameplay
The soul of Bless Unleashed combat is in its combo system, where we need to hit a sequence of buttons that appear on the screen. The more complex the combo, the more battle power your character will have, bringing that feeling of rotation, which is very typical of MMORPGs. The gameplay with all characters is very slow, as it follows a more tactical style, where you must think carefully about the right time to use each skill and each move, in addition to managing your resources well, such as mana, fury or arrows, so you don’t get stuck. not having anything to use in fights.
The problem with combat is that it’s very unresponsive and you don’t feel like you’re really in control of your character. Skill effects and attack weight are good, but it doesn’t seem to happen at the same time you release the action in the controller. Much to blame for this is the high lag that hits the servers. Blocking attacks turned out to be more a matter of luck than skill, and a real torment.
The lack of that proper response makes the game frustrating, as in Bless Unleashed your life doesn’t regenerate out of combat, and you only have potions and the fire pit system to recover, so accuracy becomes essential for fun players, but unfortunately, that’s not what I saw during my experience.
Also, there are some special abilities that are unlocked in so-called Blessings, which are sorts of skill trees for characters. They are unlocked by completing certain series of quests and greatly expand your options.
The game also has a very interesting creation system where we can accumulate resources from stones, trees, animals and plants, to build items, potions and food. The system is quite complete, but it will hardly be used well by a player who doesn’t spend a little real money, as we have little storage space, and it can only be expanded in the premium store. The space in the inventory is also very little.