Bleeding Edge poses a question I hadn’t considered before: what if the combat from Devil May Cry met Overwatch? A modestly-sized development team at Ninja Theory, spearheaded by DmC Devil May Cry combat designer Rahni Tucker, has worked for the past four years to come up with an answer. The result is a mixed bag. Bleeding Edge is, fundamentally, a fun experience, but it is a tad bland. And this launch on Xbox One and PC feels bare-bones, to put it lightly.
Here’s the setup: two teams of four work together to knock lumps out of each other while fighting for control points or, in the second of the two available game modes, energy canisters. There are 11 characters at launch, categorised into one of three roles: damage, support or tank, and already just two days after Bleeding Edge’s release that doesn’t feel like enough. The diverse roster of augmented heroes (augmentation is a theme, here) is made up of a few Overwatch-alikes and a handful of really quite impressive designs, all drenched in a sort of Borderlands meets ’90s sci-fi aesthetic that rekindles memories of hazy summers spent listening to Garbage. One of the characters is called Zero Cool, a nod to Jonny Lee Miller’s character of the same name from that most wonderfully crap mid-90s cyber thriller, Hackers.
I find myself gravitating towards a few of the characters in particular, the ones that work a little differently to the rank and file. Maeve is a granny (you don’t see many older women in video games – nice one Ninja Theory!) from Wicklow, Ireland, who is a cyber witch ranged assassin who rides a hovering bauble. The trick with Maeve is to perfectly time her traps and land killing blows, the latter of which resets her abilities. Struggle with this and Maeve’s a lightweight. But if you can dip in and out of combat, snatching last hit after last hit, she’s a beast.