GDC 2019 Hands-On IMPRESSIONS: Bless Unleashed

Thursday, March 28th, 2019

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BLess Unleashed | Logo

Publisher(s): BANDAI NAMCO
Platform(s): Xbox One/Xbox One X
Release Date: 2019
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As an avid player of the MMORPG genre, I was excited to try out Bless Unleashed, BANDAI NAMCO’s first Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game at GDC 2019. Built from the ground up on the Unreal Engine 4 by Round 8 Studio, Bless Unleashed takes place in a persistent fantasy world that encourages single player gaming that has very few ties to¬†Bless Online.

In my time playing Bless Unleashed, I was able to experience playing as a Priest (healer), a Crusader (heavy melee), and a Ranger (archer). The job appearances themselves neatly fit into pretty much any archetype that you’ve seen in pretty much any RPG ever, and Bless Unleashed doesn’t do much to change that those stereotypes on the surface. That said, the jobs themselves are actually quite fun to play as. Combat in Bless Unleashed work as a series of attacks that you can link into combos that will do even more powerful moves. There was a skill tree in the top left of my screen that detailed the various branching paths that my attacks could take, and I quickly was enjoying myself quite a bit with attacking and stringing various moves together to kill things. Even the Priest, a class that looks like all it can due is cure healing spells and feebly smack things, had powerful damaging moves. My favorite job that I played -keeping in mind that I have been a perpetual healer in MMORPGs and that ordinarily detest DPS classes- was Archer. Even though I had only fifty arrows at a time to shoot (with seemingly unlimited refills), I had a lot of fun stealthy shooting targets and then just simply unloading on enemies with my attacks and combos.

Bless Unleashed | Archer

Archer is way more fun than it honestly had any right to be in Bless Unleashed. (Image courtesy of BANDAI NAMCO).

Bless Unleashed is partially voice acted (this isn’t EverQuest II, where everything is voiced to varying degrees of competency), and from what little I could see of the story, I was quite pleased with how the text flows and how NPCs are depicted. Bless Unleashed is also a simply gorgeous game to witness on the Xbox One, and I can only imagine that it will look even better on the Xbox One X. And speaking of Xbox One, the MMORPG controls absolutely fit the console’s controller in a surprisingly comfortable way that is reminiscent of more generic single-player action-adventure games. I was honestly more than a little surprised that Bless Unleashed‘s console-based combat system works as well as it did to make the various characters -despite all sharing the same controller face buttons- play quite differently from each other to where the battle tactics on one class would not work for another class.

The one thing that I really wish that I could have experienced is the lifeblood of any MMORPG game: multiplayer PVP and endgame content. A MMORPG lives and dies by its online multiplayer PVP and endgame content, as a good endgame scene will keep players hooked for years and a good PVP system will keep players grinding away to keep upgrading their gear for as long as it takes. That said, Bless Unleashed, despite having a free-to-play (after initial game purchase) pay structure, will aim to have a new major content update every three months and it will have other events going on all the time in the game. With a level thirty level cap when Bless Unleashed launches, that content schedule is absolutely a breath of fresh air to keep the game going smoothly after launch and keep players interested.

Bless Unleashed | Combat

During my hands-on demo, combat was rarely one-on-one. Instead, it was frequently four or five on one. (Image courtesy of BANDAI NAMCO).

As a hardcore MMORPG player, I am excited to see what all Bless Unleashed has to offer me when the game goes live later on in 2019. And when it does, I may very well roll an archer instead of a healer to play as.



What classes are you excited to play as in Bless Unleashed? What type of content would you like to see added in a future patch?

Let us know in the comments below!

About Quentin H.

Likes pina coladas and getting caught in the rain. And video games. Cannot forget those video games. Anime too. Should not forget that either.