At E3 2018, Microsoft announced a slew of acquisitions designed to diversify their collection of game studios while also increasing their output of titles. Among the five to be announced was Ninja Theory, a developer who had just recently received acclaim for Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice.
Their latest project, Bleeding Edge serves as the first title to come from these acquisitions. Initially starting as a passion project for the studio, the game is an online multiplayer combat game. Featuring a diverse cast of 12 characters, the game’s two modes are built around team deathmatch and collecting energy cores to score points.
The two modes are fun enough, but if you get a great team they’re on a whole other level. This isn’t exclusive to Bleeding Edge, but there’s nothing more satisfying in team-based multiplayer games than wiping out the opposing team entirely. Communication works wonders in Bleeding Edge, and when everything goes to plan the game makes for some awesome moments.
Unfortunately, moments like these aren’t enough to justify the fact that an online multiplayer game only has two modes. There isn’t enough variety here, and I feel like the game would greatly benefit with the addition of more objective-based modes, such as capture the flag.
Bleeding Edge excels in its character design. As a game that shares similarities with titles like Overwatch and Paladins, it’s clear that Ninja Theory went to great lengths to establish an aesthetic that differentiated them from competitors, and it’s worked wonders. Kulev, Miko, and Makutu are some of my favourites and they’ve got some great abilities too. While fun to play, characters such as ZeroCool and Gizmo are held back by some weak voice acting, and character dialogue can get really repetitive too.
Outside of its multiplayer mode, the game also features customisable options for boards, as well as skins for each character. These can be unlocked with in-game currency, which is accrued from challenges and through matchmaking. Board designs are quite varied, but I can’t say the same about character skins. Unfortunately, they merely serve as alternative colours and aren’t worth the purchase. This would be a different story if the team had used their creative flair to also include some unique skins, but once again this boils down to the game just lacking in content.
Let me make it perfectly clear, I really do enjoy Bleeding Edge. It’s fun to play, and can definitely be a great team-based title. The issue is that it feels like a concept that hasn’t quite been built out into a complete package just yet. The elements are there, but it needs more meat to really attract a dedicated fanbase and become a threat to other games in the genre. As far as I’m aware, the team at Ninja Theory are providing post-launch support for the game for the foreseeable future so it’s perfectly possible that they’ll introduce new modes, characters and customisable options in future, but I’m judging the game as it is now and it’s just not enough to warrant a purchase
Thankfully, the game is available through Xbox Game Pass, so if you’re a subscriber you’re doing yourself no harm in checking it out.