A new battle royale game! Ok, that's not necessarily innovative. The genre has taken a beating by now. Naraka: Bladepoint nevertheless takes a new path: that of the fist. Instead of bazooka, assault rifle and co, the developers "24 Entertainment" rely on martial arts - the studio comes, how appropriate, from a traditional martial arts country: China.
Come on, let's play a round of "Battle Royale" - this is no longer automatically used to lure gaming fans out from behind the stove. If you don't already play PUBG, Fortnite or Call of Duty: Warzone, you can hardly get yourself up to the mass shooting. The Chinese developer studio 24 Entertainment wants to create new incentives - with martial arts.
Martial Arts at Shrink Arena
Naraka: Bladepoint's innovation isn't obvious at first glance. 60 players are thrown onto a battlefield that is constantly shrinking. As the Death Zone grows, characters will run and climb, collect weapons and armor, upgrade themselves, and stockpile healing items. This is knocked out, in the truest sense of the word: instead of shooting at opponents with rifles from afar, players in Naraka: Bladepoint have to primarily engage in close combat in order to be able to dish out properly. There are ranged weapons, but their use is limited and subject to breaks. It is therefore much more efficient to face the opponents face to face. In the end, one fighter remains, or a team of three.
And boom, 24 Entertainment have already created a new sub-genre: the martial arts battle royale game. The idea goes down well with critics, on Steam, and with us too. Despite some obvious quirks. But one after anonther. Naraka: Not only does Bladepoint do a few things differently in terms of gameplay, it is also much prettier than most of its competitors and special in its own way due to the Asia setting. The first thing that strikes you is that there is actually one topic, namely Asian culture. Instead of simply being thrown into a thematically interchangeable giant arena, as in Playerunknown's Battlegrounds, the Chinese developers rely on atmosphere.
Don't just knock, look too - that's the motto. And so you sometimes roam around, take a look at your surroundings, let your gaze wander. Until the death zone rolls in. Then it has to be fast - you know it from other Battle Royale games. The smaller the battlefield becomes, the greater the chance of encountering other martial arts fighters. There are a handful of them, each equipped with strengths and weaknesses and a completely different play and combat style. The heroes correspond to well-known archetypes: an assassin with dark magic, a combat monk with summoning bells, the brawler with fire skills - Naraka: Bladepoint is stylistically based on what you are familiar with if you have played a martial arts game before.
Tactics are king
Battle tactics are trumps in this Battle Royale concept: first shoot the opponent from afar and then it starts. You beat, hack and stab your opponents with fists, swords and lances, performing special maneuvers and rushing around. The latter can be quite annoying, because the overview often suffers. The reason is simple: where you can easily track enemy positions in ranged combat, you have to make quite an effort in close combat. After all, tutorials and training matches provide the basis and offer the first opportunity to test weapons and skills without stress. The AI opponents are no more than practice dummies, they often act pretty stupid - at least nothing compared to human opponents that you encounter in ranked battles. Despite preparation, you are not prepared for what follows: you get a rough head on at the beginning. That's frustrating, but also motivating - because despite all the defeats: It shows what's possible when you master your favorite fighters.
And something else is obviously different about Naraka: Bladepoint. Instead of a free-2-play model, the makers rely on buy-2-play - you have to buy the game once, then you can gamble. There are microtransactions anyway and not too scarce. The well-known Battle Pass, which can be played for free, can be purchased in an in-game shop as well as loot boxes or skins. After all: All the gem is optional and cosmetic. You don't need any of that, even if some skins actually look pretty tempting. If the game weren't rubbing its purchase offers in the player's nose so obtrusively, you could simply ignore the shop - but it's annoying at times.
Naraka: Bladepoint draws on its terrific melee system. This is the star of battle royale game. The highlight. So that piece of gameplay that needs to be mastered. It's not easy, even if the start is quite pleasant. The first maneuvers are quick, until you counter opponents and lead them by the nose, many hours will pass.
Apply - polish
With a click of the mouse, you execute standard attacks that chain combos that are too simple and result in a particularly strong finish. Charge attacks are also part of the fights, quite powerful, but can also be parried with the right timing. The problem: none of this is a problem against the tired acting bots. Against human opponents, the fights sometimes degenerate into wild brawls. Tactics? none. It is knocked, what the keys give - in the end the player who was able to bring more attacks to the target wins. Sometimes the fights just don't seem choreographed enough, chaotic and sometimes unfair.
does it stay that way No. However, one must first arrive at this knowledge. You get beat up until you ask yourself if your playstyle isn't the biggest problem of all. The fact is, you only win with the right combat tactics, and they rarely consist of simply throwing all possible combos at the opponent. Move and dodge, dodge and move—an occasional hit, a well-timed attack: this is how you progressively wear down your opponents with every swing and swing of your sword.
The art of Naraka: Bladepoint is to provoke mistakes from your opponent and use your playstyle against them. It's at this point that the value of each character's wildly different special attacks becomes apparent. They are usually not decisive in the fight, but supportive. You have to overcome the initial phase, but you also have to endure frustration. When you do that, Naraka: Bladepoint becomes really engaging at a certain point. Overall, the game is aimed at experienced players or fans who have the will to familiarize themselves with it. It takes patience, because 24 Entertainment is constantly working on bug fixes and updates.
Number of players: multiplayer
Age: from 12 years
Long-term motivation: medium
Genre: action game
Subgenre: Battle Royale
Developer: 24 Entertainment
Official Website: Link
Year of publication: 2021
Platforms (Test system): PC
Costs: from 19.99 euros / free of charge
what to say Naraka: Bladepoint is a genre player that players have been waiting for - maybe they just don't know it yet. The Chinese developers from 24 Entertainment are bringing a lot more fresh air to the outdated genre than Fortnite and Co with their regular content updates. Finally, the gameplay is changing in the Battle Royale games and not just the look. Naraka: Bladepoint looks nice though. Even more: It is probably one of the prettiest battlefield games currently.
But players have to struggle with the innovation at the beginning: the fights are wild, frustrating, unfair - and they often end in defeat. So what do you have to do? Turn brawls into tactical battles. Then suddenly Naraka: Bladepoint is fun because it can play to its strengths. The combat gameplay is terrific, the attacks can be combined into strategic chain maneuvers. It's about annoying your opponent. As Muhammed Ali said: Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee. Once you have mastered your character – or several if you are a professional – the fun is only just beginning.
However, in a buy-2-play game, even if it's a cheap one, you don't have to be annoyed with constant premium purchase offers. The advertising could have been placed more subtly.
In the end, Naraka: Bladepoint turns out not only to be a brave experiment, but also a successful one. However, due to some bugs and server challenges, this has not yet been researched to the end. As with the competing titles in the genre, time will ultimately tell how long 24 Entertainment's idea can survive on the market. The game certainly deserved it.
Last updated on 19.08.2022/XNUMX/XNUMX / Affiliate Links / Images from the Amazon Product Advertising API. * = Affiliate links. Images from Amazon PA API