There is definitely a persistent nature to the game. It's an MMORPG, so don't worry. It's not a MOBA or social game with multiplayer elements even though a player could spend much of her time soloing areas. The whole thing is balanced between an arcade grinder and a living world.
But I'll try to not get ahead of myself.
Minus the minor issue of the female- and male-only classes, I found myself intrigued by how blatantly comfortable the game is with itself. I play so many titles that seem to want to do too many different things while mastering none. I love to come across a title that is what it is and does that one thing well. Darkblood Online is about giving the players the ability to do some real damage right out of the gate. Monsters can easily explode or split in half, and the game even occasionally allows players to take the reins of a higher-level character to illustrate different parts of the story. I found myself playing the role of a high-level melee character, a major player in the storyline I was working through. Even though I preferred the ranged character, I kept giggling when the temporary swordmaster I was playing splatted enemies or crushed them under his boots.
Combat is very reminiscent of old-school button-smashers. I tend to stay away from action-based MMOs because of the fatigue it causes my arms and wrists, but Darkblood Online kept the buttons easy to memorize and arranged within reach of my fingertips. Monsters were tuned enough to present a challenge without causing my fingers to fall off. Special moves are timed so that when they happen, they happen in a big way. This timing helps create a fluid experience while not taxing my body like other action games have. That wrist pain is especially hard to bear when it forces me to avoid such a wonderful genre. Fortunately, titles like Darkblood Online are easy to play for an hour or so. I can take a break and easily come back later to find the same experience waiting for me.
"The message is clear with Darkblood Online: Come and play me. Kill monsters. Loot stuff."
The message is clear with Darkblood Online: Come and play me. Kill monsters. Loot stuff. I often wish more MMOs would try to do a few things this well instead of splicing in half-baked systems along the way. There is some fun lore that comes along with the Darkblood Online experience, as well. The world is, well, dark, and the monsters often remind me of those that came directly from a Dungeons and Dragons or Warhammer game. In fact some of the artwork from many of the Darkblood Online loading screens reminds me of a popular Warhammer artist. The cutscenes and movies that come along with the game are a bit campy but fun. If you like min-maxing your stats or grabbing only the best loot, then you'll enjoy Darkblood Online as well. True, I did find myself behind the wheel of a high-level character thanks to the developers, but I also started a brand-new character and had just as much fun. I did occasionally miss the ability to destroy hordes of enemies with a push of a few buttons, though. When I did, I just logged back in to the high-level character and blew things up.
Overall, it was a very satisfying week of gameplay. As in explosions.
Next week I will be looking a bit deeper at Vendetta Online, the multi-client space MMO. I am going to attempt to stream the game live from my Nexus 7 tablet on Monday, the 20th of August, at 5:00 p.m. EDT on our livestream channel. Join me!
Each week on Rise and Shiny, Beau chooses a different free-to-play, indie, or browser-based game and jumps in head-first. It might be amazing or it might be a dud, but either way, he'll deliver his new-player impressions to you. Drop him an email, comment, or tweet!