Does Naraka: Bladepoint Have Esports Potential?
Will the game's unique mix of fighting game and battle royale genres be a fit for the world of competitive gaming
24 Entertainment’s Naraka: Bladepoint is one of the most interesting entrants in the battle royale genre with the game adopting fighting melee combat and throwing it into the battle royale format. Naraka has found some serious traction with it being one of the most played games on Steam currently. It stands out among the most popular battle royale games which include PUBG, Fortnite, Warzone and Apex Legends. While all of the abovementioned games are FPS titles, Naraka implements RPG-like customization, fighting game mechanics and fluid movement.
Here's what's so unique about Naraka: Bladepoint
Naraka: Bladepoint is a Battle Royale that has movement mechanics similar to Apex Legends with its use of grappling hooks and momentum, allowing players to traverse hundreds of metres in a matter of seconds. Each movement ability links to the next and it merges well with the combat making for fluid experience. Naraka is also able to offer an immersive experience without any cooldowns on movement mechanics, making it possibly the fastest-paced battle royale out there.
There are weapons available that allow players to choose between close-range lethal melee attacks or long-ranged damage. Some of the weapons available include a katana, a longsword and spear. There are buffs that can be picked up which are known as Souljades. They offer damage resistance or even completely change how some weapons function. There are real-time RPG elements included with deep character customization. Currently, the open beta has a training mode, a replayable training mode and a free-for-all deathmatch mode.
While the game has potential to succeed with its unique mechanics, it remains to be seen if it catches the attention of enough players. The global fighting game community (FGC), battle royale fans and RPG enthusiasts are all target markets for Naraka: Bladepoint.
There are many factors that go against the game with the fighting game community being too small, while the battle royale genre is dominated mostly by free-to-play titles. With the exception of PUBG (PC), all popular battle royales are free to get into and the upfront investment cost can deter potential players.
Can Naraka: Bladepoint be an esports title?
While the game makes use of bows, rifles, cannons and repeater crossbows, most fights in Naraka are dictated by melee combat. While it does not have the same skill requirements as a traditional fighting game like Tekken or Street Fighter where you need frame-perfect inputs, it is deep and encourages mastery. All attacks can be countered and the potential for mind games and outplaying your opponent is definitely there.
It requires a lot of skill to fully master the movement and combat in this game and it can definitely shine as an esport. The game is also spectator-friendly considering how the high FOV third-person view lets anyone get a great view of every melee battle.
Content creators like Shroud, Lirik and Summit1g had positive feedback for the game and the early access of the game has been well received. It is the fourth-most sold title on Steam in June 2021, so far. It remains to be seen how it fares at launch when all of he game modes are available. The developers have not revealed any plans to push the game towards a competitive scene but it has the elements necessary to be a popular spectator-friendly esport.
Battle royale fans or anyone who likes the idea of a fighting game in a BR should keep an eye out for Naraka once it launches. The game will be available in August 2021, and only time will tell if Naraka sands out as a competitive title.