Bleeding Edge from game developer Ninja Theory launched on Xbox One for players with Xbox Box Game Pass access and is compatible with Games Pass PC on Windows 10 and Steam.
For anyone unfamiliar with the game, it is a unique online, combat-based, third-person brawler that drops four vs four teams into arenas with objective-based gameplay.
At launch, there are currently eleven playable characters, all with a unique skills, looks and attitude. Each character suits a particular role, damage dealer, healer and tank. At this stage, there are five damage dealers, three healers and three tanks. For anyone familiar with Overwatch it’s basically the same system, when a player loads into a match you can select your character which makes it unavailable for others in your team to choose. The game does not force the team to have each role on the squad and will allow four damage dealers or three tanks and so on, but forming a squad without at least one of the three roles will make your chances of success very low. Each of the characters specific skills vary greatly and will take players some getting used to.
The game offers a tutorial when you begin and my suggestion to new players is to run through it. There are cosmetic rewards for completing this and it does a good job of giving new players a grasp on the gameplay mechanics. Once the player has completed this, there is an opportunity to visit the Dojo. This arena is a training ground in which the player can change settings such as skill cooldowns, unlimited super moves, enemy player aggression, along with a large host of options to suit the player. I found myself using this quite often before I changed characters in a live match because trying to figure out how a character works in the heat of battle will more than likely end badly. I really enjoyed trying out each character and some are much harder to grasp than others. I can see players who put the time into mastering one or two specific characters will be able to change the tide of battle. I really enjoyed listening to each of the characters banter and trash talking throughout the matches. Listening to Makutu the large Kiwi tank yelling at enemy players had me laughing my ass off every time.
The player has an individual levelling system that opens up different mod unlocks for characters, and each playable character has a separate levelling system. The playable characters will level up the more you play with them and will unlock cosmetic awards, along with specific mods. The cosmetics include character skins, which to be honest are no more than slight colour variations but I can see the potential for developers to have a lot of fun with this in the future. Most characters also have a hover board available to them in matches to get around the maps faster. There are a variety of different styles for players to unlock from the get go which can be assigned to all characters that use them. There are characters that do not use hover boards such as Buttercup who has a large tyre to get around on instead of legs, and Zero Cool who travels around in a hover type go-kart.
Once I played through most of the characters available I found myself sticking to Nidhogger, a cybernetic rocker who breathes fire and attacks enemies with his pickaxe guitar all whilst yelling out comments such as “I’d rather shred, than be dead”. Ninja Theory also announced that a new character, Mekko will be coming soon after launch and is described as a trash-talking dolphin who appears to be in a large fish tank with robotic legs. None of the characters make any sense at and that is what I found makes this game such great fun.
There’s two types of music, heavy metal and bullshitNidhogger
At launch, Bleeding Edge features five playable arenas with cyberpunk themed aesthetics and two fast-pace game modes, Objective Control and Power Collection.
Objective Control is a mode that will be familiar to many seasoned gamers, with objective locations throughout the map that your team needs to capture and hold, the longer your team holds an objective the more points you score. There are opportunities throughout the match to find large Chinese style gongs that will shut down and reset one, or all of the objectives to both teams. Do not do what I did whilst trying these out and reset the objectives when my team had them capped… it is not a good way to make friends. This game mode is a fast paced and will require a team effort and strategy to overwhelm the opposing team.
Power Collection is a unique game mode, which I personally have not experienced in other games. The objective is to collect twelve power cells that spawn periodically throughout the match near each teams spawn location. The team needs to collect as many of those twelve power cells as possible whilst they are available, once all the power cells on the map have been collected, the objective pods unlock and the teams are required to deposit the power cells at those locations. There is no cap on the amount of power cells a player can carry, but if you are killed whilst holding power cells, they will drop for either team to pick up. Once all twelve power cells have been deposited by either team, the pods lock again, new power cells spawn and the process repeats itself until the match ends. The team with the most deposited power cells wins.
The arenas have loot scattered around that include health packs and damage boosters, each with cool downs once a player on either team has hit them. I did find the system frustrating at times, particularly on the health packs as they go into cool down even when a player runs over them with full health. It can be a great strategy with a highly co-ordinated group to put pressure on the opposing team. More often than not, I found myself needing a health pack and watching one of my random teammates running through it unnecessarily, stopping me from getting that much-needed health. I also found the rate in which the player’s health regenerates after hitting a health pack is very slow which takes the player out of the action, or leaves them a sitting duck for rivals to pick off whilst waiting to heal.
To be successful in Bleeding Edge you must communicate with your teammates. This game is not for the solo player and open mic communications is necessary. The game does have a communication system much like Apex Legends or COD Warzone allowing players to communicate pre-loaded chat such as group up, follow me, or ping areas of interest like health packs, power ups and enemy locations. This system works to a degree but will never be better than actual communication through a headset.
Bleeding Edge redefines the meaning of squad goals and teamworkNinja Theory
Ninja Theory have used tried and true mechanics from games such as Overwatch, Fortnite and Apex Legends to create a fast-paced, strategically centred game that forces players to focus on a team objective rather than just player kills, and with that in mind have created something different for players to sink their teeth into. Although there only two game modes at this stage there is huge potential to add endless amounts of content and introduce new and engaging characters along the way.
I played the game into the early hours of the morning and could not wait to jump back on and get back in the fight. The game is fast paced, engaging and most of all, a lot of fun. To get the best experience I would recommend playing with friends but the matchmaking also works well.
Therefore, what are you waiting for, grab your squad mates and jump into Bleeding Edge.
Best of all, its included with Xbox Game Pass!
4v4 Battle Brawler with Attitude
- GAMEPLAY - 75%75%
- GRAPHICS - 92%92%
- AUDIO - 91%91%
Bleeding Edge is a fast-paced melee combat brawler that requires high levels of team work and strategy as teams compete in 4v4 arenas. The characters are great, and the cyberpunk aesthetics of the each map are visually engaging.
Check out Bleeding Edge on Xbox One and Windows 10.