Blade & Soul: 5 Things The Unreal Engine 4 Update Made Better (And 5 Things It Didn’t)

The just-released Unreal Engine 4 Update for Blade & Soul got here full of a bunch of recent options. There’s a brand new class, the Twin Blade, for gamers to grasp. There’s additionally the Forest of Echoes, a brand new 4-player dungeon to discover. The patch notes additionally point out a brand new story extension, further character slots, and new gear to loot. However there’s little question that probably the most anticipated replace was the namesake of the patch itself – the transfer to the Unreal Engine 4.

The Unreal Engine 3 dates all the way in which again to 2006, a time when the Xbox 360 and PS3 dominated the console world, and a PC with a dual-core CPU, 2GB RAM, and a 512MB video card was thought of high-end. Even with the quite a few updates UE3 has obtained over time, UE4 is a far superior platform that’s in a position to make the most of the entire highly effective {hardware} packed inside a contemporary PC. Switching from UE3 to UE4 isn’t so simple as discovering a weapon improve or studying a brand new spell, so the Blade & Soul improve is probably not all that you simply have been anticipating, at the least not but. So we put collectively 5 issues which can be higher after the Unreal Engine 4 replace and, simply as essential, 5 issues that didn’t get any replace love.

Only for reference, listed below are my system specs which can be related to the replace:

  • CPU: Ryzen 7 3700X
  • Graphics Card: EVGA 3080 XC3 Extremely
  • Reminiscence: 32GB (2x16GB) @ 3200MHz
  • Laborious Drive: Gigabyte Aorus Gen4 SSD 1TB

Higher: World Textures

Irrespective of the place you look, it’s loopy how rather more element the textures have after the replace. Certain, the blurry floor isn’t fairly as blurry as earlier than, however the constancy goes nicely past that. Roads and paths have a way more pure look, as do the perimeters of cliffs and hills. Rocks, each pure and minimize stone, all have a element that makes them leap to life. And one in every of my favourite enhancements is the element of the moss rising on the aspect of boulders and cliffs.

Not Higher: Object Pop-In

There’s no query that textures close to and much look a lot better than earlier than. There’s much more floor cowl, and the environmental results like water and smoke are additionally rather more refined. Sadly, with extra to attract on the display screen, pop-in has develop into a serious distraction.

It would not occur in every single place. Dungeons and different small areas are beautiful, and the restricted sight distance permits the engine to render every thing unexpectedly. The visible upgrades to far-off mountains and different backdrops additionally look a lot better than earlier than and are proof against the pop-in impact because you by no means get shut sufficient to set off the extent of element modifications.

The place the pop-in turns into insufferable is if you find yourself operating via an space with a variety of floor cowl or objects scattered about. I can see tall grass render in only a brief distance from my character. Timber, pots, and even buildings seem out of nowhere as I crest a hill. It’s as if the sport engine is caught off-guard by my presence and immediately begins loading belongings into the scene later than it ought to.

I’ve to be trustworthy. I’d somewhat have a world with fewer objects rendered at a higher distance than a bunch of objects that pop out and in of existence close to my character. Discovering the best steadiness with the extent of element is crucial, and NCSoft has actually missed the mark. 

Higher: Environmental Results

My oh my, does the volumetric fog and smoke look so a lot better with Unreal Engine 4. Smoke and fog now not block no matter is behind them from view, including new depth and immersion to the world you might be in. The identical goes for the water. Whether or not watching a waterfall cascade from above or taking a look at a stream or pool of water, all of it seems implausible.


Not Higher: Body Charges

The entire up to date pretties come at a price, and it’s a worth that many gained’t be keen to pay. Whereas the multi-core help that comes with UE4 has helped scale back stutter and lag, the improved visuals have lowered total body charges. In UE3, my most body charges have been about 30fps larger than they’re with UE4. With an Nvidia RTX 3080 that also delivers nicely above 60 fps in most areas (Mushin’s Corridor is horrible, however the Tower appears okay), that’s not likely a problem, however extra reasonable rigs might battle to keep up first rate body charges. For a lot of MMOs, a decrease body fee isn’t a serious concern, however within the motion fight of BnS, lowered frame-rate results in lowered management of your character.

Higher: Cleaner UI

For so long as MMOs have existed, there’s all the time been the problem to create the proper Consumer Interface. If an excessive amount of of the on-screen actual property is used, it could possibly hamper immersion; too little and gamers gained’t get the knowledge they want. With the UE4 replace, my first thought concerning the in-game UI was that it didn’t look any totally different. Upon additional inspection, although, there are some refined modifications. For me, the black and white menu bar is way simpler to decipher, and on the similar time, much less distracting than the outdated icons.

The replace to the battle UI can also be a welcomed change. Splitting all of the various things like buffs and cooldown timers into a number of rows makes it an entire lot simpler for a scrub like me to observe what’s going on in battle. 


Not Higher: Character Fashions

I’ve to confess that I’m unimpressed with the character fashions within the replace. I genuinely don’t see a lot of a distinction, if any. I anticipated extra fluidity in the way in which my character’s outfit flowed, but it surely was the identical animations I noticed earlier than. I anticipated to see components of my clothes flowing within the breeze and my hair rustling within the wind. As a substitute, I’ve the identical static look that solely reacts to my actions and nothing else.

Higher: Load Occasions

Loading screens are the worst, so it’s with nice pleasure that I can say the UE4 replace has made an enormous distinction. With UE3, it took about 40 seconds from clicking Begin and my character loading in. After the UE4 replace, that point is right down to a median of 13 seconds.

Saving 27 seconds would not sound like an enormous deal, and by itself, it is not. Add that to the lowered time of truly loading into the preliminary character choose display screen, and there’s a noticeable distinction. Load instances, measured because the time between clicking Begin on the NCSoft launcher till the NCSoft brand seems, dropped from 68 seconds to 42 seconds. At that time, we’re taking a look at a complete discount of 53 seconds. 

Saving practically a minute loading up BnS is good, however I’ll admit that start-up time is a first-world drawback. What’s a minute or two matter in comparison with a multi-hour play session, proper? Thankfully, load time when Windstriding can also be affected. Any time spent gazing a load display screen progress bar is an immersion breaker, and the 24 seconds between starting your Windstride and touchdown at your new location with UE3 felt like an eternity. With the UE4 replace, Windstriding nonetheless is not instantaneous, however the load time is lowered to only underneath 14 seconds. That could be a very noticeable enchancment given the variety of instances you’ll Windstride throughout a play session.


Not Higher: Lighting

There are occasions when you possibly can inform the lighting improved with the UE4 improve. Different instances, although, every thing appears just a little muddled. Particular person mild sources look very good, however total it doesn’t appear any higher than earlier than. At instances, shadows have been too darkish; at others, they didn’t appear to exist in any respect. That is clearly an space that’s nonetheless a piece in progress, and over time I might suspect the lighting will develop into extra uniform all through all the world.

Higher: Every little thing Not UE4 Associated

As I discussed earlier, there’s so much to this replace that isn’t associated to the change to the newer Unreal Engine 4. Though I haven’t had an opportunity to see it in motion, the brand new Breaker Gauge seems like a neat addition to boss fights. And the little high quality of life issues just like the change to the price of opening up bag slots and extra character slots (for those who want that many) are a pleasant contact.

Not Higher: Sound

I’m unsure why I hoped for higher sound high quality after the replace; I simply was. To my chagrin, it’s the identical because it was earlier than. As a substitute of the opposite extras like a brand new class and zone, I might have somewhat seen the group spent a while going via the audio and seeing how UE4 may present higher sound. Or perhaps they need to have trashed the entire UE4 replace and spent the cash on redoing the voiceovers all through the present sport? 

Remaining Ideas

The Unreal Engine 4 replace is known as a combined bag. The load instances are a lot better, and no matter your laptop specs, you need to see an enchancment. You must also see an enormous enchancment within the stuttering and lag that everybody skilled with the UE3 platform. Whereas that easy gameplay is good, gamers on much less beefy methods might have simply traded the stuttering for a constantly decrease body fee. Meaning any graphics improve caused by the UE4 improve could possibly be misplaced when it’s important to decrease the general high quality settings to push the body fee again to a suitable stage.

It’s potential that as Blade & Soul matures on the UE4 platform that among the wrinkles will get ironed out. There’s all the time room for optimization, and future design selections may decrease points just like the extreme pop-in present in some areas. I might additionally count on efficiency good points because the dev group additional hones their expertise with the UE4 platform. Blade & Soul has all the time seemed good, even underneath the growing old UE3 engine, and it is going to be attention-grabbing to see simply how far the group can push the UE4 envelope.

So what do you consider the UE4 improve? Was it definitely worth the wait? Or is it too little, too late? | Blade & Soul: 5 Issues The Unreal Engine 4 Replace Made Higher (And 5 Issues It Did not)


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