Naraka: Bladepoint is a Chinese battle royale game, deeply inspired by the elegant martial combat of wuxia media. Available on Steam, the Epic Games store or the Naraka: Bladepoint website, it beautifully melds the “loot and scoot” nature of a battle royale with the more “up-close and personal” nature of a brawler. Players have eight characters to choose from, each with unique abilities to augment gameplay. While it might seem like a small roster, the game - having been released in August 2021 - is quite new (at the time of this article). 24 Entertainment, the developers of Naraka: Bladepoint, have just released their eighth character - a dangerous sea captain with aquatic powers named Valda Cui - and will be continuing to expand their cast.
While the player’s choice of character affects their abilities, most of the interesting gameplay spawns from the items players can find around the map. The game highly encourages players to use close combat, providing each character a grappling hook to quickly maneuver. They can close distances quickly, allow the player to reach high places, or even evade in unexpected ways. Beyond these however, players must pick up weapons to properly fight opponents. There are thirteen weapons in Naraka: Bladepoint, six melee and seven ranged. These weapons affect the character’s attacks, combos and range, making the player’s choice of weapon vital to their success. This variety ensures combat is chaotic, fast-paced and deeply enjoyable even as a spectator.
On the whole, battle royales have been immensely popular. Originally inspired by the 2000 Japanese film, Battle Royale, it wasn’t until PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) - and later Fortnite, which hit as many as 10 million concurrent players - really set off the genre. Since then, the battle royale genre has become almost over-saturated, with more than thirty releases since PUBG released in 2017. Even despite the plethora of similarly-formatted titles, no other game uses such a skillful wuxia-style combat system. To create such a unique, entertaining battle royale like Naraka: Bladepoint is a deeply impressive feat.