This last decade has proved to be truly surprising for the gaming industry, a double luster filled with thick titles, new experiments and experiences that have upset - for better or for worse - the world video game scene. The competitive scene, which has always been declined in the gaming sector, has experienced a real rebirth thanks to streaming platforms such as Twitch or Mixer, bringing e-sports at an increasingly surprising level of popularity. It is therefore natural that development studies have plunged headlong into the production of titles focused on multiplayer, possibly competitive, to earn at least a slice of this delicious and exceptionally profitable cake. Bleeding Edge tries to grab the limelight by presenting itself, not too covertly, as "Different twin" of Overwatch, Blizzard's hero shooter who has been able to attract the attention of the whole world, albeit currently traveling on the descending tracks of his parable of success. However, the Ninja Theory game concept does not focus on one component shooting in the clashes but tries to offer exciting hand-to-hand combat, trying to wink at the fighting game genre, in what could be called a "Hero Brawler"backed by the presence of Rahni Tucker as lead combat designer, the same person who created the much-discussed "apocryphal" Devil May Cry, rightly reevaluated over time, who enjoyed unexpectedly solid and fun gameplay.
The crazy universe created by the study of Heavenly Sword and Hellblade offers us a handful of histrionic characters very different from each other, who have nothing to do except addiction to cybernetic grafts and the desire to exploit them to harm others. So here are the doors of bloody underground battlefields ready to host - illegally - the distorted game of these absurd individuals: welcome to the Bleeding Edge.
Fast-paced, but not so fast-paced
Bleeding Edge is based on discounts 4v4 in large arenas in which to exhibit the colorful abilities of our avatars, which are divided into three categories: Attack, Support and Tank. It is necessary to balance your team in the best way in order to be ready for any eventuality and it is interesting to see how the combat system works melee has known how to decline for every wrestler. Basically, the control scheme is very simple and designed to be optimal with the joypad, an option that is also highly recommended by the game itself. By repeatedly pressing the X key we can perform an autocombo, the A key is used for jumping while Y and B are two of the three special abilities of our alter-ego, the triptych is then closed by the right backbone RB. The right trigger allows us to dodge - at the cost of stamina - and the left one will guarantee us the "lock" on the targets, thanks to the left back we can unleash our Ultimate, able to drastically change the fate of a clash. Moving around in the vast game maps is simple, also being able to count on a hoverboard that can be recalled at will at any time, able to speed up the movements between the various points of interest, and it is here that a structural problem of Bleeding Edge jumps to the eye: slowness. Jumping on a futuristic “skating-flight” should give a certain sensation of speed, but this is not the case, especially considering the size of the game maps, really huge when compared to the phlegm with which the characters move. Mind you, the clashes work well managing to be excited but very rarely chaotic, and it is necessary to make the most of not only our character but also the group tactics to get winning at the end of the match. Consequently, the combat system works and the command mapping proves to be almost excellent, with good game design solutions that make everything effective and usable in an intuitive way, also ensuring a certain satisfaction once you become familiar with the character used.
Analyzing in detail the various characters that make up the mosaic of the exclusive Microsoft, they can be further admired lights and shadows of a title with high potential but evidently still immature. First of all, finding that at the launch of the title there are only 11 characters is a bit of a blow to the heart, even in the face of their good characterization. In addition, it should be noted that the balance of the roster is currently not optimal, forcing the pick of some wrestlers, without whom the clash would be lost at the start or in any case a lot unbalanced. Zero Cool - to be honest a bit too similar to Overwatch's Lucio - is one of these, being the only one of the three supports that can guarantee a constant flow of care and good defensive and evasion mechanics. The other two categories work a little better and leave more choice for the group, although it should be borne in mind that you can only have four members. The best configuration for a team seems to be a 2-1-1 divided into double tanks (usually Buttercup and El Bastardo), a healer and a DPS, among which Daemon and Maeve stand out, both very flexible characters and able to use the own ultimate to instantly eliminate an opponent from the ongoing battle. Clearly, this is a timid analysis born from the games carried out in these days dedicated to the review and it is still early to perform in real discussions of meta-games and tier lists, and everything can change over time, perhaps even in the face of patches voted for. balance of experience.
Ready Player One
The most out of tune note of the Bleeding Edge experience lies in the content poverty offered at the launch of the title. The shortage of usable "heroes" clashes with the presence of only two game modeswhich are also not divided in any way between Ranked e casual match but leave at the mercy of a single game option in the main menu that throws us directly into matchmaking. In contrast, this somewhat bizarre choice offers players, perhaps unwittingly, the chance to find almost instantly a game to dive into, an advantage obviously supported by the cross play between PC and Xbox One and the presence of Bleeding Edge on the game pass. The two modes embody a classic battle based on the control of different points on the map (a king of the hill where the hill often moves, so to speak) and a collection, slightly more complex. In this second mode the game is divided into two phases, in the first one is called to destroy the energy cells and then collect the globes contained within - with the risk that once they are KO'd by the enemies, the latter can steal them - while in the second, you have to deliver the loot in specific points to acquire the points needed to win the game. Although the maps try to characterize themselves in a very different way and also interpose environmental dangers between us and the victory - which if necessary can be exploited to kill opponents - the feeling hardly changes between the different game arenas and almost never will a different strategy according to the pitch.
A small mention to the personalization system is a must, although it is difficult to date define the importance that the latter will have in the overall balance of experience. Unlike the Blizzard title (or Paladins), Bleeding Edge does not simply focus on the aesthetic "customization" of warriors but allows us, game after game, to accumulate experience for us and for the characters we use in game, earning modules that can increase the characteristics of our avatar or improve its skills, in a passive way. You can equip up to three different modules and combine them as you see fit, being able to create different sets to be selected before each match. The idea is intriguing and it could prove to be an interesting point in favor of the experience, but also a double-edged sword if some of these modules prove indispensable for a certain fighter.
The lively and whimsical world of Bleeding Edge presents characters well characterized, both in design and in their models, thanks also to an aesthetic filter that refers to cell shading, cared for and with a good number of details. The same cannot be said for the maps, which despite being technically well-made, lack the mordant that distinguishes the eccentric challengers protagonists of the title. The animations are very good, functional but not buried by unnecessary frills and frills, but the same cannot be said of the dynamics of the collisions. The blows inflicted often lack power and impact, especially the more "corpulent" ones, and leave a little a bad taste in the mouth once done. The "special" effects and the particles of the various special moves of the characters are good. The soundtrack is excellent, sharp and captivating with its distorted electronic sounds, which fully underline the character of the work. The experience proves to be quite solid in terms of frame rate, which has wavered only on a couple of occasions - and only on a map, strangely - but which otherwise remains firmly clinging to 60 fps per secondor. The sight is satisfying and pleasant, while not making the miracle cry out.
Ultimately, Bleeding Edge is a successful product half. In itself, the game works, entertains and entertains but is presented in a form with a rhythm that is too compassionate and decidedly lacking in content, in short: it is probable that the "novelty" effect will be exhausted quickly and that the appeal of the title will also disappear suddenly. It is still too early to definitively draw conclusions, all the titles focused on the online part of the rest need some time to "settle" and show all their aces up their sleeve, but today the feeling is that the title of Ninja Theory is still in beta. If the question is simply: "Bleeding Edge is a good game?" The answer is definitely "Yes", because it is a well-kept and well-directed work, at the same time it is difficult to recommend the purchase to anyone without a Game Pass and therefore able to give the new Microsoft exclusive a chance, which I still have to thank for giving us the code with which it was possible to write this article. The truth is that I sincerely hope that Bleeding Edge can fly and show its full potential. Ninja Theory has created a title full of charisma and with good foundations, but the bulk of the work now comes, in keeping your creature alive by continuing to fill it with content, characters, maps, modalities and everything that can make what shines bright today it is still a rough diamond.