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The most stylish free Steam game adds a new weapon to kick off 2024

The first Naraka Bladepoint update of 2024 is here, introducing the new Heng Sword as season 11 begins along with balance changes and more.

Naraka Bladepoint update kicks off season 11 with new weapon the Heng Sword - A woman wearing black and gold holds an ornate sword before her face.

The first Naraka Bladepoint update of 2024 is here, helping to reaffirm the stylish action game’s place as one of the top free games on Steam. Introducing a slick new weapon, the Chinese Heng Sword, along with new racing challenges in Fairyland Penglai, the season 11 battlepass, and a limited-time event offering bonus score and experience, the Naraka Bladepoint January 4 update is a great reason to jump back in if you’ve been trying out other games like The Finals or the recently resurgent Monster Hunter World.

Consistently one of the biggest free Steam games, Naraka Bladepoint is one of the more unique options you’ll find among the top hitters. Rather than the shooter-dominated world of PUBG Battlegrounds, Apex Legends, Call of Duty Warzone, and The Finals that make up most of the big-name battle royale games, Naraka is all about fast-paced melee combat and platforming, and its additional wealth of gameplay modes introduced last year means there are now plenty of ways to experience that without going head-to-head against expert players.

First shown off during the JCup 2023 event, the new Naraka Bladepoint weapon is the Heng Sword, a traditional Chinese weapon inspired by the Tang Heng Dao that’s paired with Naraka’s Katana as its congeneric weapon. It’s all about clean, snappy slices that are difficult to evade, mixing in a few dashes and even an area-clearing special attack that summons spiritual swords in a big region in front of you.

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As the Naraka Bladepoint season 11 battlepass kicks off, there’s also a limited-time event called ‘Freeze and Heat’ that gives you some big bonus rewards. Completing event quests will earn you ‘Eurekas,’ which are then consumed to either boost your score rewards in Ranked matches, or vastly increase your experience gains in Survival, Casual, and Showdown modes – but you can only choose one of the two options each day, so pick wisely.

There’s also more than ever to do in the Fairyland Penglai lobby zone, with new tracks introduced to the Sky-high Racing events to test your movement skills, and the introduction of instrument proficiency. Now when playing the Guzheng or Suona, you’ll gain proficiency, and can take special tests at levels three, six, and nine to unlock a ‘master mode’ that will increase your maximum music score recordings along with additional rewards. 24 Entertainment says other instruments will see proficiency levels added in future updates.

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Of course, there’s a series of balance updates as well, with nerfs to Hadi, Ziping Yin, and Takeda, buffs for Yoto Hime and Tessa, and a change to make Justina Gu’s popular ‘sprint-brake’ movement tech a little easier to pull off consistently. The PvE Showdown mode and the roguelike Yama’s Abyss also both get some additional tweaks. The Naraka Bladepoint update for Thursday January 4 is out now.

If you’ve been thinking about playing Naraka Bladepoint on Steam Deck, we’ve checked out how it runs. Alternatively, have a look through more of the best fantasy games that you won’t want to miss out on in 2024.

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