I play Overwatch almost every night with friends, and I thought about that game a lot during my hands-on session with Ninja Theory’s Bleeding Edge. This 4v4 third-person fighter is more about close quarters melee than gunplay, but draws close comparisons to Blizzard’s shooter in its character designs, their unique powers, their classes, the user interface, and overall visual style. Needless to say, I was quite pleased with what I played.
Ninja Theory doesn’t have a release date it wants to reveal yet, but players will be able to enter a technical alpha in a couple of weeks. Two game modes are planned for this session, one is an objective-control mode where players must stand on a space to capture it. The number of spaces is different on each map. The second mode is called Power Cells, which pushes players to collect power cells and deliver them to a zone. If you kill someone carrying a cell, they’ll drop it and you can grab it. At this point, ranked play isn’t planned, but if the game is popular, Ninja Theory sees it as a possible addition.
Much like Overwatch, the true allure of Bleeding Edge is just how different each character is both in personality and play. One of the characters named Kulev is a former Cambridge professor who, at the age of 126, dies and gives his brain to a tech friend who manages to upload his consciousness into an A.I. Since Kulev loves voodoo, he loads his A.I. into a robotic snake that is attached to his corpse. It’s a wild idea that makes for a hilarious and interesting character. Right now, the story is delivered through bios, but Ninja Theory hopes to deliver those story and character details in more ways in the future.
Each character can jump, has a standard attack, dodge, and three abilities, including a super attack that slowly builds up over time. Each of the characters fall into classes of healers, DPS, and tanks. One character creates a field that slows enemies, another can turn invisible, and many of the powers can be combined with other characters’ to truly mess with the opposition.
The combat is fluid and fun, at times reminding me of Ninja Theory’s DmC: Devil May Cry. Getting in close and hacking away at enemies, and then dodging before they can retaliate feels good. Even though the focus is solely on competitive play, the game offers the ability to lock-on to specific targets to keep them in your sights.
Bleeding Edge is a little bare bones at the moment, much like Killer Instinct was when it originally launched, but Ninja Theory hopes to deliver plenty of content post launch, whenever that ends up being.