Black Desert Xbox One Review

"Gorgeous MMORPG"


March 5, 2019 at 8:03pm

I've been following this game for awhile, I saw it back at Pax West 2017, then at E3 2018 and played the two betas that were available for it. It's something I've been watching, as it's a rather impressive title to see head over to consoles. I say that in the sense of the visual style, and for the most part that's kept with this port of the title. For context, Black Desert Xbox One is a premium MMORPG that brings over a base version of the title that has grown over the years on PC.

There's a general narrative you're working through that splits off at varying points and a pile of side quests that can be discovered as you adventure. There's a vast world to explore, and a strangely in-depth trade economy layered behind it. There are just countless hours of gameplay to explore and engage in. I should note that it does transition into a global PVP situation once you hit the point of level fifty. You can choose to engage in these extra levels with PVP turned on, or just choose not to. It's an interesting extra, and honestly it didn't alter the experience much as people tend to mind their own business.
Black Desert Xbox One Review Xbox Wallpaper Screenshot
Quests often come down to combative segments, but there are some story heavy ones and a few that switch things up. They could have went further with unique interaction based quests, but I felt there was a decent balance throughout. You'll find more variety in the quests if you do search for the extra side ones. Full cutscenes are also present at times, with a cinematic focus.

During your progression you'll travel incredibly far distances, meet hundreds of characters and just see a ton of sights. You can also engage in trades, there's house ownership and many side activities to take part in. You don't necessarily have to really do anything story based, there are many engaging side activities to take part in within the game.


The Black Desert Xbox One classes include six options at launch. These give you a range of styles from close range with the Warrior, to a far distance attack using the Wizard. From there, the game features probably the best character customizer I've ever seen. You're able to tweak every element of the face, the hair and so many parts of the body. It features mini options to adjust the muscles, to basically sculpt your own character.

You can even adjust each individual eye with various choices in just that. It's amazing quite honestly, just as impressive now as it was on PC. The best part is that your in-game character actually looks like how you designed them. That in itself is a great feature, the transition is typically not a smooth one. There are options to create multiple characters and they share a family name system for easier management.

Black Desert Xbox Boss
The general visuals for the game are beautiful, they really look great. The main issue though is that there's a ton of pop-in present in regards to mid-range objects and shadows. Strangely the further objects and close up ones load fine. On the Xbox One X you get two visuals options, you can toggle 4k on or off. If it's on which is what I primarily use you'll get screen tearing at times during combat. It's somewhat hidden though as your screen is just layered with particle effects. Combat is flashy, and visually appealing. Performance wise it does generally run well, if you turn the 4k off it runs even better. I'd say despite the better visuals, it runs better than a number of other MMORPG options on modern consoles.

They've done a great job of getting so many skill combinations onto a controller. When you start the choices are minimal, but as you level you'll gain access to more skills. These powerful attacks are streamlined through natural combinations of bumpers, triggers and buttons. It makes sense and feels natural within the game. You get to unleash some neat moves and you'll battle against tons of unique enemies. If that's not enough, every once and awhile you'll face off against a boss. What's neat about combat is this game is that you start off not knowing how tough enemies are. As you kill more of say, goblins you'll begin to understand them. You'll see their health bar and be able to inflict more damage with each strike.

Black Desert Cover
When it comes to movement you're able to auto-run to destinations, whether that's on foot or with a mount type. The game offers options for changing your guiding arrow among other hud choices. For the most part this automatic running sequence works well, though on the odd occasion your character might be stuck running into something. Still, helps on those long journeys. It's a streamlined control experience with various quick menu rings that can be entirely customized.

It's impressive how they scale it down, the controls are fairly smooth. They could however do a better job of going over the niche menu elements as some automation options felt as though they were hidden. There's a full chat option to engage with others, guilds to join and parties to create groups with your friends or even randoms. You can have titles, monitor your progress and level up with a clear indicator that uses a percentage at the top of the screen. Everything loads rather fast and despite it being packed at times the servers seemed to run generally fine.
Black Desert Xbox One Combat

The Conclusion

Black Desert on Xbox One delivers the full experience of the MMORPG in a streamlined way that works. There are countless hours of gameplay to be had, enjoy this easily alone or work with others. There are tons of quests to engage in whether you're working through the main narrative or enjoying a side venture. The game looks rather good visually, hopefully over time they'll be able to smooth it out further. It's honestly not bad visually and it runs generally fine. I felt the controls packed the typical combative layout into a controller well.

It handled easily, while offering simple ways to produce combos to unleash your powers. The world is massive here, there are tons of creatures to kill and a pile of side activities. The background economy in this is rather impressive actually, the whole node system is as well. There's just a lot going on and it came across as worthwhile experience. I do question the late game PVP elements, but honestly didn't have much of a problem at all with it. I worked through this game and really didn't have any issues, battled so many monsters and chatted with ever so many NPCs.

Read our Tera Xbox Review
View our Black Desert Hub

Black Desert Xbox One Review on Xbox One X
Review Code Provided by TriplePoint

Rating Overall: 8.0

Gamerheadquarters Reviewer Jason Stettner