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Blade & Soul Previews: Everybody Was Kung-Fu Fighting

By Cassandra Khaw on September 13, 2012

Have you ever watched one of those old Chinese kung-fu movies? Heck, have you ever watched any Hong Kong kung-fu flick? If you have, chances are you've either a) snickered over no one in these movies are ever even remotely cognizant of the laws of physics or b) really, really wanted to be just like them. Blade & Soul is an MMORPG built to entice those that fall under the second category (and is liable to make those belonging to the first groan in despair). In fact, that desire seems to have been built into the very core of the game.

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NCSoft representatives at Gamescom explained that, from the very beginning, they knew that there was a big void in the MMO space. "There wasn't anything that really hit Asian fantasy or martial arts. There just isn't that feel of that true Asian fantasy genre or themes."

Unsaid, however, was the most important thing of all: the lack of games that permit their players the ability to dart across water, race through tree tops and execute outrageous mid-air stunts.


Of course, there's also going to be a 'world of stunning beauty' that has been menaced by evil, one populated by factions that don't like each other very much. Caught in between, naturally, are the players. If you're thinking that's all you'll have to worry about in Blade & Soul, you'd be wrong.

On top of all the global conflict, players will also have the opportunity to pursue a more personal storyline. "In Asian fantasy stories or lore, there's always a personal story of vengeance or revenge."

"Here, the story is essentially that you're part of this clan/village. You're busy training to be a full-fledged member of this clan when the village is attacked by the game's primary antagonist and she kills all of your clan members, including your clan master, before tossing you into an ocean. You are actually rescued by a fisherman and brought to another village. That starts your whole story of revenge."

Asides from an over-arching plot line centered over the eternal struggle between good & evil and a slightly peculiar tale of personal vendetta, Blade & Soul also offers something else: beauty. The artwork is irrefutably Asian-flavored and very much anime-like, something that may make or break the deal for some. Still, if you enjoy this sort of aesthetics, Blade & Soul is kind of gorgeous, something that can be attributed to the fact that Hyung Tae Kim (War of Genesis/Magna Carta) is responsible for the art direction.

That said, Blade & Soul is definitely more than a pretty face. As has been mentioned before, it looks like the team behind the game is intent on making the combat a unique experience.

"In Blade & Soul, we wanted combat to be very engaging and very active, to make you feel like you're a martial artist with supernatural abilities. So, what we did was we took that same sort of mentality in console fighting games like Tekken, Soul Caliber, and Mortal Kombat, where you can be a button masher and be really good or be amazing if you can learn the combos, and brought it into the game. If you know some of the basics, you can be good but if you want to excel in combat and really feel like a martial artist and do some amazing techniques and things that look really cool, you got to learn the combos."

There's no denying the fact that it'd probably be a little difficult to master all of these skills. Fortunately, however, it appears as though Team BloodLust has thought of that. According to NCSoft representatives, you'll have ample opportunity to learn new attacks, master them and apply them to your repertoire of abilities. Additionally, it looks like there will be certain skills unique to each class that, when used in a group setting, can result in some genuinely epic, group-only results.

PvPers need not fear, however. Though it looks like Blade & Soul will provide a lot of story for those interested in such things, it seems that the team is prepared to cater to its more bloodthirsty demographic as well. Asides from 1v1 combat, Blade & Soul will also feature things like ranked tournaments, ladders, and even reputation points to earn.

"You could even maybe even end up being called the best martial artist on the server."

We’ll keep our eyes on B&S as it creeps its way further into the Western psyche.

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