Bless Unleashed is Bandai Namco’s latest free to play MMORPG exclusive to the Xbox One. Like your usual MMORPG, the game is chock full of content and a sprawling world to explore. While that may be the case, it’s still unfortunately plagued with a lot of technical issues that severely hinders the experience.
Premise & Character Design
In Bless Unleashed, you play as the Pyreborn. A hero in the land of Lumios who begins their journey when awoken from a strange dream by their best friend, who asks you to partake in the festivities in your town. You’ll talk to some characters, see some fireworks, and enjoy the scenery. Until things inevitably go wrong, and the town is invaded by demons and other creatures led by a single mysterious group.
Luckily, you escape and are taken to the other side of the world where you try to find the people responsible for the attack.
Right before this however, You will have to create your character with their specific race and gender. Much like other MMOs, there are different classes to pick from. There are warrior classes like the Crusader and Berserker, magical classes like Priest and Mage, and finally, the Ranger Class if you fancy yourself a bow and arrow.
The classes you’re allowed to choose will depend on the race you choose, which is another unfortunate MMO trope. Couple this with the fact that the creation system and classes don’t bring anything new to the table, and you’ll have very little to differentiate it between other MMOs.
After you’ve created your character and have chosen a class, you’ll be able to play through the dream mentioned earlier as a tutorial. What’s distinct about this tutorial section however, is that it allows you test out the full capabilities of your chosen class at the highest level. Which will enable you to use skills and abilities you otherwise can’t once you wake up and start from level one.
Once I was thrust into the world of Lumios, I noticed how vibrant and lush the world was as well as how surprisingly detailed the character models were. It’s safe to say Bless Unleashed is one of the better-looking MMORPGs. Sadly, I can’t say the same for the gameplay. The game is plagued with a lot of technical faults, an example of which is when traversing the open fields, the frame rate dips constantly.
Enemies pop out of nowhere, attacks don’t register on time, and to make matters worse, your character moves quite slowly. Even if you were to mount up, it wouldn’t be much of a difference.
Aside from that, quests in general, are handled quite terribly. Most of the time, quest givers will ask you to kill X amount of this enemy or fetch X amount of this item, which is quite lazy and a generally lousy part of MMOs today.
When it comes to combat, Bless Unleashed isn’t all that impressive either. The game implements the trigger buttons for various attacks, with other button prompts when initiating a combo. While this is a system that’s easy to understand, the controls often feel clunky, and attacks feel sluggish.
Bless Unleashed also uses a gear score system, which players will need to find higher leveled armor and weapons to increase their overall gear score. While this system makes sense and helps measure how much a player has progressed, it can also be tedious. Especially at certain points in the game where you’ll need a higher gear score to play a mission without any difficulties.
What makes this tedious is that drop rates for any worthwhile item can be pretty low, so leveling up your gear score can prove challenging. Luckily though, whenever you level up, you’ll be awarded new gear, which makes the process easier, if only a little. The game also includes a leveling system with skills and a skill tree that’s by far the easiest system to understand in the game as it doesn’t take too long to get used to.
There’s also many crafting systems you’ll need to master. Crafts such as cooking, enchanting, alchemy, and a shaping station for Ranger characters. Crafting is an essential aspect of the game as it’ll enable you to make better gear. Similarly, alchemy and cooking are critical in keeping your health up by making meals and potions that’ll also provide a variety of buffs for a set amount of time.
The Good Parts
While Bless Unleashed has a lot of technical drawbacks, there are quite a few things to appreciate in the game, such as the fantastic environmental design, and the highly detailed albeit stiff character models. Most notably, however, are the dungeons and bosses. The bosses especially, are one of the redeeming parts of the game. They’re not only fun to fight, but also well designed with a mix of moves and even some dialogue thrown in.
Overall, Bless Unleashed is a game that still needs a lot of polish due to its many technical issues. On the other hand, it’s still a visually impressive game with a lot of content to enjoy, which is a blessing for a free to play game. It also doesn’t have any pay to win features, which is a plus.
Although, if you wish to start the game at an advantage, the Founder’s Pack provides a slew of costumes, mounts, in-game currency, and more to get you started on your hero’s journey. You don’t have to purchase anything, though, as while Bless Unleashed isn’t the best MMO around, it’s still a decent experience at no cost.