BLEEDING EDGE ALPHA
This one has hoverboards.  


HANDS ON PREVIEW
By JAY TEE
22/08/19

CHOOSE YOUR POISON - Characters are divided into groupings, based on their primary roles. You can choose between support, assassin, or heavy, and then whether or not you prefer a melee or ranged playstyle. You can also select which super move they’ll activate (once your special meter is fully charged), and even mod their abilities with swappable cards.

MURDER DOESN’T PAY - The included modes in the Alpha place a much larger emphasis on playing the objective versus straight up deathmatch style tactics. You’ll earn bonus points for the odd kill here and there, but smart control of the map and achieving the goals of each gametype is much more important.   

HOVERBOARDS - In a massively appreciated nod to Unreal Tournament, you can deploy a hoverboard to travel around the map faster!

Bleeding Edge is Ninja Theory’s first brand new IP since their surprising Microsoft buyout, and a huge step away from their most recent success, Hellblade. You won’t find any nuanced commentary on mental health. This is a broadly slapstick, hero action title that rewards clever positioning and quick thinking on the fly. Prepare yourself to be overwhelmed by a fairly steep learning curve; the included training mode does a good job with the basics, but once you jump into public matchmaking, you should be ready to eat a slice of humble pie. Or three. Combining a cel shaded visual design, with a whole mess of character specific abilities, Bleeding Edge has personality in spades, and certainly made a strong first impression. Given that it’s multiplayer only, an eventual full release via Game Pass makes a world of sense. A game like this will live and die by the strength of its recurring player base.

THE BACKSTORY - Ninja Theory have been making waves in what they have deemed the independent AAA space, minimising team size and selling games at a lower price, whilst pushing production value and retaining creative ownership over their projects. Their recent buyout by Microsoft was surprising, but also makes sense; they will bring huge value to Game Pass.

BACK TO BASICS - Bleeding Edge represents a move back to a more traditional style of pick up and play gaming, after Hellblade was a more deliberately paced narrative experience designed to be played in extended sessions. Ninja Theory have multiple projects currently in development, which will help significantly bolster Xbox first party.

ALPHA SITE - The current technical Alpha seems quite polished, despite still being a long way from final release.

Team Fortress 2 and Overwatch did a wonderful job popularising hero shooters. Apex Legends and Bleeding Edge owe a lot to them!

BOMBARDMENT - There are a couple of mechanics that might need tweaking. If you’re playing as a ranged character, you can very quickly become overwhelmed by a melee opponent (or three) and there’s very little you can do about it. The cooldown on dodges could do with a buff, along with perhaps a small damage boost. Both playstyles are fun, but there’s work to be done.  

SMOOTH MOVES - I thoroughly enjoyed the variation in character abilities; a lot of them compliment each other really well, and absolutely encourage tight team work and coordinated manoeuvres. The ‘control the zones’ gametype can become a bit of a clusterf**k though, which make it less about good positioning and more about mashing attack.

PERSONALITY ABOUND - The characters are genuinely brilliant. Great designs across the board, with strong voice acting.

THE BASICS - Third person class based multiplayer, with hero characters, various game modes, and hoverboards.

PLATFORMS - XB1, and PC

PLAYERS - Offline - 0, Online - 8

CO-OP? MULTIPLAYER? - The game is online multiplayer only. Team work and co-ordination are critical.

DOWNLOADABLE CONTENT - None announced.

TARPS? - At the bottom of all our reviews, you’ll see a series of absurd looking images (with equally stupid, in joke laden names). These are the TARP badges, which represent our ‘Totally Accurate Rating Platform’. They allow us to identify specific things, recognise positive or negative aspects of a games design, and generally indulge our consistent silliness with some visual tomfoolery. Back of the Box is a broad overview of key features and gameplay mechanics. Get Schooled provides background info on the developer, fun facts, and views the game in a broader context. Finally, Inside Scoop is a collection of random thoughts and musings, along with hopes and concerns.

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THE CURRENT WORD

Bleeding Edge shows heaps of promise, with superb character design and a strong visual aesthetic.

*Alpha Access on Xbox, with a copy provided by Ninja Theory*

The DISNEY PIXAR badge is for a game with a unique and / or interesting graphical style.

The WAR-ROCK! badge is for a game that absolutely deserves ongoing player support.

The JOHNNY FIVE HOLE badge is earned for a game where you are likely to get destroyed in multiplayer if you're new to it.  

The POO MEDIC badge is for a game with class based multiplayer.

The CLOONEY badge is for a game with outstanding character design.

The DEANNA TROI badge is for a game that had a great Demo, Alpha and / or Beta[zed] test.

The APPLES AND PEARS badge is for a game that features lots of British accents.

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