Naraka: Bladepoint, a parkour melee battle royale out today for PC, starts you off in a match against bots. It’s a classic battle royale design choice, one that’s meant to ramp you up to speed, familiarise you with the game’s core mechanics, and maybe even offer a nice if artificial confidence boost. Yet some players are piiiiiiissed.
“The fact that this game is ‘pretending’ bots are players is super annoying,” one player wrote on Reddit. “Early games are filled with bots to, essentially, fabricate false first impressions of the game and make you feel like you’re good, thus selling you [past] the refundable time period,” another wrote in a negative Steam review. (Steam has a no-questions-asked refund policy if you’ve played less than two hours of a game.) Many of the game’s negative Steam reviews share similar complaints about the presence of bots.
This isn’t a new issue, either. Just take it from one elegantly titled Reddit post from back during the game’s April beta tests: “Stop with the bots already wtf.”
Over at PC Gamer, writer Tyler Wilde said that the first few matches he played seemed to feature bots, but that their presence quickly tapered off — though he noted that, sure, it’s possible bots could’ve been included from the start of later matches. It’s just that they’re worse than humans and could get picked off quickly. (Halo Infinite bots, these are not.) Bots are of course not uncommon in battle royales — Spellbreak, for example, eases you into multiplayer by giving you bot matches first. The issue here, as Wilde noted, is that Naraka: Bladepoint doesn’t tell players up front that they’re facing off against some, hence the furor.
Truth be told, I’m of the mind that bots are good, actually, particularly in battle royales. Naraka: Bladepoint matches feature 60 combattants. In that case, you’re saying I’m supposed to defeat not just 59 other people but also not die once the entire time? Yeah. No way that’s happening. If a game won’t give me respawns or unlimited lives, the least it can do is give me some programmatic opponents that haven’t the faintest clue what they’re doing. There’s precious little in this cold, cruel world to feel good about these days. I, like you, am human — and, like you, enjoy feeling good about myself. Running train on a bunch of bots is basically a money-back guarantee for that. Plus, the AI takeover is inevitable, so we should get our wins in now while we can.
Anyway, consider this a fair heads up: If you’re planning on hopping into Naraka: Bladepoint this weekend, and you start to feel good about your performance, well…