Wildly popular Korean fantasy MMO Blade & Soul finally launches in North America and Europe tomorrow. Check out the thrilling opening sequence players in the early head start are experiencing over and over right now. Rather than speak over the action, I went ahead and recorded the opening sequence of the game without commentary, as that’s how I prefer to watch my fantasy martial arts epics.
Don’t get used to her, not fond of the character class I chose.
The game opens with your created character being hauled out of the ocean by a fisherman beneath what looks like a burning mountain fortress. Using the cinematic device everyone seems to have fallen in love with over the past decade, we then flash back to the day before in order to discover how we got there.
Make sure the character you create looks good passed out on a wet boat deck.
As the fisherman tries to wake us we flash to the previous day, where a perky friend is trying to rouse us from bed for training.
She’ll probably live forever.
What follows is a meet-and-greet/tutorial with the disciples and masters of the Hongmoon Clan of martial arts. You’re a promising young student who’s about to have a very big day. You’ll meet your bestest friends forever, Jinyung and Gilhong.
Not just a meeting to establish camaraderie before something horrible happens.
There’s your trainer, Yungmuk, who isn’t happy about you sleeping in.
He’s stern but fair, probably.
Brother Yusung gets his own brief cutscene, which while not outwardly saying it, pretty much indicates he is evil.
Insert Sephiroth theme song here.
Luckily we are immediately distracted by gaining the ability to float, which is the best reason to play the game. We all float down here.
Finally we meet the wizened Master Hong, leader of the Hongmoon Clan, who promotes us to full student because we are player characters.
We also meet Master Hong’s dog. They say people often wind up looking like their pets.
Once all of this is done there’s a bit of training, introducing players to the game’s combo-centric combat system, all action and aiming and such.
After that’s over everyone lives happily ever after. The end.
SPOILERS BELOW THE NEXT SCREENSHOT
OK I lied. Everyone dies. A trio of villains arrive on the island and start killing everyone.
OH COME ON.
In the end only Master Hong and the player character are left standing. The bad people have come for a mystical blade possessed by Master Hong, and Traitor McTraitorson has been slowly poisoning his teacher in order to sap his strength.
Despite a last-minute attempt to destroy his foes by transforming into puppy Akuma, Master Hong ultimate trades his life for yours. As his body disappears you charge at the villains, only to be knocked off of the fortress into the water, where you drown.
And so your character is rescued from a watery death. When they wake up they find themselves in a small village beset by raiders. Raiders than can only be defeated by completing a series of quests that lead you to the next series of quests. Repeat that for a while. You get the picture.
I’ll be playing more Blade & Soul as NCsoft launches the free-to-play MMO, but so far my favourite bit is the opening sequence. Except for the dead puppies.