Review: Bleeding Edge
Bleeding Edge hit PC and Xbox One (available on both via GamePass) this week, bringing a four-on-four melee take on the increasingly popular ‘hero shooter’ genre. It’s a take that’s light on content, but heavy on promise.
I have no problems at all on the roster side of things, with 11 characters ranging from a guitar wielding heavy metal maniac to a sweet old lady named Maeve who can trap enemies in a cage and fires energy bolts. There’s the standard ‘hero shooter’ class types at play here, with DPS characters that deal damage, support characters that heal and buff friendlies or debuff enemies, and tanks that use big hitpoint pools and damage mitigation abilities to stay in the fray the longest. I’d love to see them add some characters from other Microsoft properties. Get Master Chief, Marcus Fenix, or Banjo and Kazooie in here – trust me, anyone can fit into this world of crazies.
Each character model is well-detailed and none look too similar – even at a distance, which is key in this team-based brawler. Sticking together is vitally important, as is communication – updating your team on where the healer is moving, for example, so friendly DPS characters can move in and take them out, which in turn makes the enemy tanks far easier to dispatch.
At this point though, as with most every teamwork-heavy game at launch, it’s a bit of a free-for-all out there. In several games I had 2/3 of the team’s objective points in a win, simply because I was the only one going to collect and turn in the power cells, or moving around to claim the point in the domination-like mode, while everyone else kept rushing back to the center to battle and die. If you get a team together that’s talking, you can absolutely dominate the opposition – enjoy that while it lasts.
With 11 fighters (and one – a super intelligent dolphin in some kind of mechanized fishbowl – on the way soon) there’s no shortage of content on the roster side of things, but there are only two game modes and five maps at this point and that doesn’t really feel like enough. One mode involves collecting power cells during a collection phase and then turning them in at designated positions around the map during the turn in phase, while the other is a domination-style battle where you take and hold up to three spots on the playfield to gain points.
The maps that are here are fine, with solid level design that allows for some combat flow. Though this is a team-focused game it’s still really fun to, for example, kite tanks around by yourself using environmental props like launch pads or movement abilities to make jumps that they can’t, while you whittle them down bit by bit until they die or give up the chase. There just aren’t enough maps at this point, however, and though that’s likely to be something they address in the future it doesn’t help gamers right now.
What I liked:
- Great characters with a variety of weapons and no ‘one best character’ that everyone wants to be
- Great level design, with a lot of little touches like traps or environmental hazards
- Teamwork is super rewarding
- Fast games
What I didn’t like:
- Not enough maps
- Can be frustrating if you get bad teammates