Naraka: Bladepoint’s fluid melee combat and unique cast of characters make it one of the most unique battle royale games to release in recent years.
Launching a battle royale game in 2021 is a tricky affair, particularly when the genre itself is so well defined. Popular titles like Apex Legends, Fortnite, Warzone, and PUBG continue to dominate the market – leaving little room for competition or originality.
As a result, standing out from the crowd is incredibly important. This is especially true for new BR titles looking to avoid falling into obscurity. Fortunately, Naraka: Bladepoint adds a unique twist to this well-established genre, cutting through the sea of popular FPS titles and carving out a new path.
While its melee-focused combat may be far from perfect, Naraka is one of the most interesting BR’s to release in recent years.
Naraka: Bladepoint – Key Details
- Price: $19.99 / £17.99
- Developer: 24 Entertainment
- Release Date: 12 Aug, 2021
- Platforms: PC
Naraka: Bladepoint trailer
Fluid melee combat
Unlike other 60-player BR games, Naraka puts a huge emphasis on melee action. While you can pick up crossbows, canons, bows, rockets, and flamethrowers to defeat foes – the real magic is found in the game’s deadly clashes of steel.
While fights may seem simple at first, you’ll need to do more than spam light attacks if you wish to survive against skilled blade masters. In fact, it’s best to think of combat as a game of rock, paper, scissors. Light attacks beat parries, charged attacks beat light attacks, and parries beat charged attacks.
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If that wasn’t enough, dodges and crouches enable you to animation cancel – providing the opportunity to bait out and punish certain moves. Combine all the above with a movement-enhancing grappling hook and deadly character abilities, and you have a surprisingly deep combat system.
Unfortunately, Naraka’s combat isn’t without its flaws. Readability is often a huge problem in trios, particularly when everyone is using their character’s abilities. In fact, fights can often descend into a flurry of particle effects and flashy ultimate animations, which makes reading enemy attacks incredibly difficult.
Adding to this frustration is the lack of counters to knockdowns. Unless your character has an invulnerability move, then your chances of breaking free are very slim. Instead, you’ll be forced to watch as your character helplessly gets juggled until their health bar ceases to exist.
When all of Naraka’s mechanics click, fights have the opportunity to become a deadly dance of blades, where even a single wrong move can lead to a swift death. It’s in these scenarios where the BR is at its best, but the bot-filled lobbies, lack of counter potential, and general readability can lead to some rather frustrating issues.
Deadly arsenal of weapons
From the mighty swings of the Greatsword to the elegant slices of the Katana, plenty of deadly weapons are scattered about Naraka’s map. Not only does each weapon have its own unique moves, combos, and rarity – but they also have a variety of weaknesses.
For example, the Greatsword may be able to dish out huge damage with its charge attacks, but the colossal swings make it incredibly slow and susceptible to counters. Meanwhile, ranged weapons like the Cannon can obliterate players with area-of-effect blasts, however, the slow projectile speed makes long-range shots tricky to land.
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Knowing in which scenario to use each weapon and learning to counter them is extremely satisfying, particularly when you manage to swiftly cut down those that purely rely on spamming attacks.
Souljades also add another layer to combat as they enable you to alter your weapon’s default moves or even add unique properties to existing attacks. For example, picking up the Katana Sap Souljade will enable you to recover health whenever a counterstrike combo is performed.
These equipable items vary in their usefulness, but they can increase your kill potential and help add further depth to the game’s deadly clashes.
Unique cast of characters
One of the most interesting parts of Naraka Bladepoint is the game’s colorful cast of characters. You can choose between seven warriors – all of which have their own unique abilities and ultimates.
There’s Viper Ning, a Blind Blademaster who commands the battlefield with deadly knockbacks and stuns. Meanwhile, Tianhai is a humble monk who can shield himself from attacks and has the ability to transform into a gigantic titan.
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Whether you’re looking to command matches with abilities tailored around damage or help your allies with life-saving heals, there’s an archetype for every kind of playstyle. What’s more, you can unlock different variations of a character’s abilities, which change their default attributes.
For example, switching from Kurumi’s Sacred Circle to Sacred Circle: Armor Enhance will restore armor instead of health. While these changes may be subtle in their nature, they do create opportunities for you to switch up the way each character plays, allowing you to experiment with certain builds.
Learning to synergize character abilities with various weapon attacks can take time to master, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll be effortlessly slicing and dicing your way to victory.
Naraka: Bladepoint may feature all the familiar trappings of a traditional battle royale game, but its combination of melee-based brawls, beautiful setting, and customizable warriors help to differentiate it from the well-established crowd.
While Naraka’s combat may be far from perfect, there is enough depth here for those that are willing to scratch below the surface. If you’re looking for a BR with a unique twist, then Naraka: Bladepoint could be the game you’re looking for.
Reviewed on PC