Black Desert Online, the highly popular Korean role-playing game was finally released in full last month. After years of partial release, testing and plenty of anticipation, the massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) is now available to players all round the world.
The reviews have been mostly positive too, scoring 7/10 with both GameSpot and IGN, while collecting 73% from user reviews at GameRankings and 74/100 at Metacritic. However, there’s a common theme keeping Black Desert Online from those scores of eight or nine out of 10: poor localisation.
Critics and users point to poor localisation
Reviews of Black Desert Online are raving about the visual work of developer Pearl Abyss and its spin on the MMORPG style of gameplay. From the character design, to the in-game artwork and the world Black Desert Online builds around you, there’s a lot about the game that sucks you in. Yet there’s still something missing.
As Cody Gravelle puts it in his Game Rant Review, “Black Desert Online is an incredibly detailed, visually gorgeous MMORPG that succeeds at nearly everything but having a beating heart and soul”.
Further into the review, Cody explains that a lack of story and poor localisation means players will struggle to find substance beyond the visuals and active gameplay of Black Desert Online.
“The game’s localization can be comical at best and frustratingly confusing at its worst. NPCs will often say one thing audibly but say something different, and entirely unrelated, in a dialogue box, which makes it feel as though two people are talking to the player at once.” – Cody Gravelle
Reviewers aren’t the only ones struggling with the game’s localisation either. Players have been discussing the game’s poor translation, voice acting and all-round adaptation for overseas audiences.
“Conversations (when they’re at their best) seem translated using Google translate, and the voice acting is simply atrocious.” – Asrahan, commenting on Rock Paper Shotgun
“I bought it, lasted about 5 minutes before the terrible localization and confusing UI bounced me off of it as hard as I’ve bounced off anything recently. May go back in a little bit, but how hard would it have been to hire one native-speaker for the localization? That stuff just really bothers me.” – surgeonufo, commenting on Rock Paper Shotgun
So despite achieving some great things with Black Desert Online, developer Pearl Abyss and publisher Daum Games have let players down on the fundamentals.
Big titles falling behind on localisation
Localisation has become one of the biggest talking points in the gaming industry over the last few years. It’s not a concept reserved for the gaming experts, developers or publishers – it’s something gamers hear, see and feel every time they pick a title. Gamers are informed and educated about what makes good game localisation, yet so many big titles continue to let them down.
The truth is gamers don’t expect anything unreasonable either. They simply want to understand the game they’re playing and get a real feel for the experience. We’ve seen what happens when publishers go too far with their localisation efforts, as proven by a string of Nintendo releases.
This only reinforces the importance of getting the fundamentals right. To see poor translation in modern games released globally is a real shame. Ultimately though, it’s Pearl Abyss and Daum Games who will lose out from poor localisation on Black Desert Online. There will always be other games and more publishers who take localisation as seriously as gamers want them to.
Jackpot Translation has years of experience in video game localisation and can help you to beat the critics by making sure your game is perfectly localised for the intended market. Just get in touch for a quote and we’ll get back to your right away.
- Posted by Alexandra Kravariti
- On 5th May 2016
- 0 Comments