Typically, when a game comes across the ethereal surface of my existential wooden desk, I try to finish the game or at least get to the point where I can no longer continue before settling on a review. Unfortunately, Black Desert Online offered no such opportunity as it is broken to the point where you will be hard pressed to even get beyond the start menu, much less actually be able to log into a server.

 

This will also be an atypical review in that I will be eschewing our established review category format. Why you might ask? Well, since you can’t actually play this game presently, all categories receive a 0 out of 10 as a result. Additionally, I don’t want to lull you into a false sense of security by offering you beautiful screenshots of what the game would look like if you WERE actually able to play it. That could potentially add you to the list of confidence casualties (you know….you have an impressive rig that can play anything, so you think you will be an exception and the game will run immaculately for you despite its myriad issues).

Instead, I will simply list the issues I experienced, and then both cite and provide links to the issues everybody else seems to be having.

  1. Black Desert Online incorporates XIGNcode anti cheat into their game. This is an invasive program that automatically installs to your computer when you install the game. The issues with XIGN are so pervasive, I won’t even start getting into that here. However, it is enough to simply say that the use of this was a terrible decision. There are so many better and far less invasive anti cheats that the use of XIGN is unacceptable. It’s also worth noting that it is difficult to remove XIGN from your computer once it’s in there. For more on XIGN, here is a search link from which you can find plenty.
  2. 60+ GBs folks. ESO is a bit smaller file size than this game, and far more expansive. This suggests optimization issues, and those do in fact exist.
  3. Black Desert Online hijacks your screen resolution and kicks it down to like 720x whatever. IF you can get into the options menu, you can adjust it back, but in my experience, it reverted every time I tried to fire the game up.
  4. Related to screen resolution, the game doesn’t actually fit on your screen without work. That means you won’t be able to access everything right off the bat. IF you can get the resolution to change, then you will be alright. However, it also starts in bordered full screen, which presents its own issues with seeing everything on the game’s start screen.
  5. Once I finally ironed out the resolution issues, I sat in loading hell….until I finally alt/escaped out of there and killed the program
  6. When firing the game up after that, I was presented with amazing looking loading screens, but no clickable options to start the game. Oh….the options were there, they simply were no longer interactive. It’s not fun to stare at the options and start buttons but not be able to actually click on them.
  7. While sitting in loading hell, the game would freeze and die….but not before using up like 70% of my active memory.

So, typically, you go through a list of basics when faced with issues like this: drivers updated, game updated (even forcing an update), etc….I was unwilling to kill my anti-virus due to XIGN though, and realistically, I shouldn’t have to anyway. I can play Rising Storm 2 without doing so and it has hefty anti cheat software. I uninstalled and reinstalled. Alas, it was all to no avail. This is simply a game I am not able to get to run. So….is the issue me? I think not.

Just go through this thread on BDO’s own Steam hub. You will find copious examples of my issues and plenty of others as well. In fact, look through all the discussions. Apparently the game worked for the first day or two, and there are obviously the lucky few who are able (or claim they are able) to run this game on Steam even now, but you likely won’t be one of those. Even on the BDO host client, you will encounter many of these same issues.

Pearl Abyss and Kakao Games aren’t completely oblivious to these issues, but they haven’t made any progress towards fixing them at all, and actually seem like they are really waiting for fan fixes instead of legitimate official patches. Not very inspiring. Hopefully they DO actually sort out the myriad issues plaguing the game though. It looks like a beautiful and awesome game to play if it could actually be played.

Verdict

Presently, in its broken state, Black Desert Online is absolutely a title to stay away from. Even if it does get patched up, you are still going to want to wait for XIGN’s removal first.