The first year of PS VR2, a peripheral released in February, has been a mixed bag. Some stellar titles have come along, including Horizon Call of the Mountain and Synapse. Still, early adopters are always looking for the following reasons to strap on the headset. Broken Edge, coming from developers Trebuchet, is a 1v1 Sword Fighting game launched on September 19th. The big question: is Broken Edge the next cutting-edge VR game, or should it stay in the sheath?
Broken Edge is limited but fun
Broken Edge brings 1v1 sword-fighting action to PS VR2. One of my favourite parts of the game is the variety in combat styles across the game’s 9 different characters. Are you looking to dance around the battlefield while waiting for the perfect moment to strike? The Duelist class will be perfect for you, as you need to take steps back and forth while moving the sword in specific motions to use them effectively. Do you prefer a sword and shield strategy, biding your time for one big hit? The Knight will be your way to go. I’ve been on a One Piece kick lately, and playing as the Pirate, who has a variety of weapons to choose from, made me feel like a total badass.
And Broken Edge is split between two modes: single-player and multiplayer. The single-player offerings are pretty slim, and this is an area I wish was more built out. The dojo is a fantastic place to learn the intricacies of each character, though I wish the dialogue prompts were faster. Reading it the first time is fine, but each character has different ways of playing, and reading the same prompts over and over between characters got old quickly. The other single-player mode is a roguelike story mode as you progress across battles, but one loss will send you back to the start. Your character will stay static as the enemy comes up towards you. You’ll want to aim and time your swings to hit as close to the hilt as possible, as the health meters diminish depending on who took most of the other’s swords off. This worked to varying degrees, as some hits from the enemies felt unfair, while other times, cheesing the system worked well enough by just standing off-center.
A Pirate’s Life
Each character has a different way of Awakening their swords, allowing you to deal proper damage or end the battle entirely. Striking at the enemy’s sword becomes a balancing act of keeping your awakening going while waiting for the right time to strike. As previously mentioned, the Duelist class has you dancing in small steps back and forth to keep the awakening going. The knight has you holding your weapon stationery, almost charging it up. I had issues with this system. When it works, pulling off the significant attacks and ending a fight quickly can feel genuinely satisfying. The problem is losing the awakening for reasons unknown, even though I was doing exactly what the game asked of me, which became all too common and frustrating. Slashes that should have ended fights just ended up pushing enemies back to have them slowly come towards you again as you desperately try to reactivate your awakening. The variety in awakening techniques across characters didn’t feel consistent, as some worked great, but others felt confusing and silly.
Additionally, Broken Edge also has unique abilities that work in different ways. One will regenerate your sword quickly; others will give you barriers. Unfortunately, activating them takes specific body movements that just weren’t all that fun to do. Remembering each movement is a wild dance of confusion, especially when trying to pull off quick moves in multiplayer battles. The intent is definitely to practice and hone these skills in single-player, but it doesn’t work as well when the single-player mode isn’t that fun or engaging.
There’s not enough content, but what is available is fun
All this is essentially training for the multiplayer battles, which is the game’s shining point. Online battles can be thrilling bouts of trying to read the opponent’s moves and use abilities when needed while trying to account for various character differences. The taunting and competition were always fun online, and matchmaking was quick. I had no latency or technical issues at all playing Broken Edge. The unfortunate issue in multiplayer is its limited modes. Private bouts and ranked fights were the only options. I generally don’t care much for ranked modes and tend to stick to casual, but unfortunately, this wasn’t an option in Broken Edge.
The game will have you dueling in a pastel-coloured environment that looks pretty good. The graphics can look simple, but I think they work well. It feels like you’re battling in a Saturday morning cartoon. The music and sound design are also solid, as the swords clash. All of this combines to make an immersive experience that helps pull you into the world and battles.
The biggest thing about Broken Edge is that it can be fun when everything clicks, but the barrier to entry is high. Learning the characters, specific Awakening rules, and particular movements for abilities, all while trying to progress through a forced ranked setting, takes a lot of time and attention and isn’t all that fun. If you push past all this, Broken Edge can be a good time, despite it being a slim package. The lack of features and high entry barriers may become too significant for others, which makes it hard to recommend.
[The publisher provided a copy of the game for review purposes.]
Reviewed on: PSVR2
Review: Broken Edge
Broken Edge can be fun in PvP, but the steep learning curve, complicated systems, and limited content makes for a lackluster experience.