With Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, developer Ninja Theory was able to set a fat exclamation mark in the world of video games. While the studio is currently busy working on a successor for the next Xbox generation, another game was created: Bleeding Edge. A crazy mix of multiplayer brawlers with a subtle overwatch feel. Ninja Theory again hits the mark in style. However, a rather mild breeze blows playfully at launch.
Powerful companies keep their fingers crossed for society. Some quaint characters plan the rebellion by beating each other up. These hostile fight clubs are well received by the crowd, a kind of rebellious movement is developing against the tailored normality of the greedy companies. They don't like to see that of course.
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But that is irrelevant. Of course, the framework plot does not play a major role in Bleeding Edge. What is important is what happens in the arena. Here eight players split into teams of four and put on their hats. Before you are let into the ring, choose one of eleven different heroes.
Who with whom?
They are divided into different categories. There are damage dealers, tanks and supporters. Because each hero has their own skills, everyone plays fundamentally differently, which makes coordination within the team an essential component. For example, each team should always have someone with them who is able to pep up their fellow campaigners.
However, there is no possibility to set a role before the game so that you can join a group with the right players. So it may be that when you choose a hero, someone snatches your preferred role from your nose and you have to rethink. This hits inexperienced players in the shin, who have just got used to a certain character.
The house rules
No classic team death match is fought in Bleeding Edge. You always have a task that you have to perform as a team. In "Target Control", important places on the map are regularly unlocked that need to be taken. Those who have control over the corresponding patch of earth collect points. The first to reach 600 points wins.
The second game mode is called energy collection. In it you have to bag containers that you unload at certain locations to score for your team. If you eliminate opponents who have energy cells with you, you can dust them off afterwards. It also pays to thrash enemies. For this, a small bonus will be credited to the team account. The team that first accumulates 50 points leaves the field as the winner.
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As for the variety, Bleeding Edge is manageable for the release. There is currently no ranking matchmaking or league system, but according to the developer, it should be submitted later. In any case, the game with the long-term motivation is in the clinch: You gain experience for each character and unlock a few fresh skins, mods or new hoverboards over time, but that's about it.
As far as the visual style is concerned, you might think that Jet Set Radio had founded a flat share with Overwatch. In this regard, Ninja Theory has not been in the slightest slouch. The whole world and the eleven characters available are just bursting with pop-punk flair. There is, for example, the graffiti artist and hacker daemon, who can also handle a katana just fine. Or Dr. Ignatius Wright: the history professor with a voodoo craze who researched immortality, turned 120 years old and whose soul was put into a robot snake after death. As you can see, the team of heroes in Bleeding Edge is really crazy.
Teamwork is crucial
Ninja Theory relies on tactical tapping from the shoulder perspective, which at first seems somewhat unusual for a classic multiplayer title. Despite the shrill frame, Bleeding Edge creates a familiar image that is not unlike the hero shooter Overwatch. For example, the protagonists chat a bit with each other before a match, just like the genre primus from Blizzard.
Coordinating in a team is crucial. When a player acts on their own, it rarely leads to success. Fortunately, the brawler is not too complex: there is a button for the normal attack, which you can expand in combos. Then there are the three special skills, each with a cool down. A powerful ultra-attack charges up over time. So it's less about how, but more about when.
The game kindly recommends heroes that are easier to use than others when choosing. If you just want to chop effectively, Daemon is a good choice. Anyone who wants to make a contribution as a healer right from the start slips into the skin of Zero Cool. Maeve, on the other hand, requires more tactical skill and a watchful eye on the cooldowns. For this, their skills can be cleverly combined to mix up the battlefield and eliminate the opponents in no time.
A little more taste, please!
Bleeding Edge, however, leaves its feathers in his feeling. The pace is leisurely despite the use of hoverboards for faster movement, and the fights lack punch. The visual style is so expressive, but the action on the screen is relatively lame. As if the developers had put the gameplay in chains.
This applies above all to ranged combatants. You target the enemy with the left trigger and hold the attack button down to shoot. If there is an enemy in the radius, every shot is a hit. It's playfully shallow and feels that way. As if you were shooting with foam arrows made of plastic ratchets. On the other hand, the sighting behaves vaguely because the targets cannot be switched comfortably. Luckily, targeting the right hero in a bunch of players.
A ping system helps with communication, but also does not work without problems. If you press the lower button on the digipad, you will inaccurately highlight something in the landscape. In combination with the other buttons on the controller, the whole thing can be handled more precisely. However, this means that when you grasp the pad laboriously, you stop briefly in the heat of the moment.
In the workshop, the heroes can be modified and optimized with mods. You can increase the damage value or the life energy or increase the defense value. Three mods can be activated at the same time. Several sets are available to create different play styles for each character. But all of this is so incidental that you hardly pay attention to this aspect. After all, everything can be unlocked without real money.