Bleeding Edge comes dangerously close to not being recommended, mostly on its price tag. The mechanics are solid, the setting and characters a wonder to behold, the art style and music astonishing…. but it costs £24.99. That’s a lot to pay for a game wherein the players you’re teamed up with can make or break your experience, where victories can be few and far between, and defeats are miserable. Whatever good is masked and what ill is exemplified by the matchmaking, and there’s quite a few things missing for this to ask for the money it does.
Ninja Theory’s brawler pits four players against another four, each choosing characters within the Damage, Support and Tank roles. It doesn’t take long to figure out character’s strengths and weaknesses, or their counters and who they’re best suited against. Characters are easy to learn and take only time to master, the hardest part being putting up with a character you’re unfamiliar with when someone else has taken your main.
There’s five maps each with muted gimmicks such as bottomless falls, fiery pits, electrified walls and conveyer belts, capitalising on its funky visual style and hectic audio. Within these maps players will partake in two game modes, both of which are too similar for there to be much replayability if you’re not instantly hooked on your first win of the day. Capture Objectives and Power Cells are the essentially the same – capture the marked location and hold it while brawling, and in the latter do the same except handing in vital Power Cells to earn points. It’s not the most exciting stuff, but it gets the job done.
“Getting the job done” is really the best Bleeding Edge can claim to do. Before the likes of Brink, Overwatch and Paladins: Champions of the Realm, Bleeding Edge could well have fit in an industry bloated with grey and brown military shooters. But it seems too late to be a pioneer in any multiplayer subgenre, and too early after the hero shooter/brawler fad.
I only recommend this because Xbox Game Pass allows you to experience it for £3.99/month to begin with (£1 for new subscribers’ first month). The game suits Free-to-Play with its style and desperate need to grab new players’ attention, but doesn’t have enough to sell for real world cash. It’s between a rock and a hard place, but it’s fun enough while it exists. How long that will be remains to be seen.