I’ll ALWAYS love sword fighting in virtual reality, with the action of physically lashing out at opponents with motion controls not only feeling realistic but also mighty satisfying. Naturally then, I’ve been interested in Broken Edge from the moment it was revealed, with developer Trebuchet’s title looking to take the art of swordcraft and put players into one-versus-one duels where the player with the most patience and finesse will be deemed the victor. This isn’t a game about slicing-and-dicing non-stop to defeat your foe, but picking your moment to strike and preparing yourself to deal that death blow.
Check out some screenshots down below:
Broken Edge’s gameplay revolves around facing off against your opponent in a duel, with each player automatically moving towards each other and having to pick the right moment to strike. However, there’s as much of an emphasis placed on striking your opponent’s sword as there is their body – if you connect your blade with theirs, their sword will get damaged and decrease in size based upon where you hit it. Players need to try and hit their weapon as close to the hilt as possible whilst only using a small amount of their own, meaning it’s better to catch them with the tip of your blade as opposed to sticking to a closer range and clashing swords carefree. It is worth noting that damaged weapons will repair if the player has HP remaining though, but that whittles down with each successful strike.
Of course, it’s all well and good damaging a weapon, but you’ll still need to strike your opponent to cause them to lose a life. A standard strike won’t do though, with players instead having to perform an Awakened hit in order to defeat an opponent. This is done by performing a specific action before attacking, which is something that doesn’t only require precise movement but also leaves you vulnerable to attacks from your opponent. It’s therefore imperative to try and damage their weapon first, if only to prevent them from parrying strikes of your own or trying to catch you off-guard when charging up an Awakened attack.
This is where the strategic elements of Broken Edge come into play. Do you focus on performing an Awakened attack straight away and catch opponents off-guard? Or do you simply break down their weaponry first to make them more vulnerable? Do you go on the attack and always land the first hit on your opponent? Or do you play defensively and instead parry their attacks? For such a simple concept, there’s a satisfying amount of strategy involved in each of Broken Edge’s duels that ensure it remains fun to play for a long time. I’ve faced off against varying foes with different tactics and it’s made for a rewarding learning experience, with plenty of tricks to pull off to try and out-smart your opponent. Be warned though: you’ll need some quick reaction speed and be willing to move around physically, with players having to respond fast when landing a strike or blocking an incoming one.
“For such a simple concept, there’s a satisfying amount of strategy involved in each of Broken Edge’s duels that ensure it remains fun to play for a long time.”
What also spices up the experience is the varied classes players can utilise in battle, with each bringing enough differences to make them interesting to use. The Knight can use a sword and a shield, for example, whilst the Barbarian has an extra long sword. Fancy using two swords at once? The Samurai uses dual katanas and the Persian dual scimitars. You can even unlock the Tyrant which uses a MASSIVE sword, so yeah, there is plenty of variety on offer within the roster. Each has a different approach to using Awakened attacks too, so there’s more to figure out when following their movements. There are other abilities you can use that give a bit more protection against attacks, though these remain the same between each class.
Between the simple but rewarding concept and the variety offered within the classes, there’s plenty to like about Broken Edge. I’ve had a ton of online duels now and they’ve all been a lot of fun, whilst the different strategies both I and my opponents have utilised have kept each showdown tactical and intense. There’s nothing more rewarding than changing up your strategy to defeat a foe who had the upper hand, though destroying an opponent who just can’t handle your skills is pretty fun too. In fairness, the online matchmaking is pretty competent at matching up players with similar skills, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t the occasional mismatches.
Whilst I did have a lot of fun with the game, it does have a few little issues that could cause some annoyances. For one, the precision required when performing Awakened attacks or abilities could be a bit sensitive, with there being plenty of occasions where I was certain I did it right only for the game to not recognise it. It isn’t a consistent problem, but it seemed to occur at the worst possible moments. The game’s single player offering could be frustrating too, with the AI perfectly performing said motions and also proving quick to respond to actions – it wouldn’t be so bad if battles were fair, but with AI opponents having multiple lives, every mistake you make is severely punished. And don’t get me started on the incredibly tough battle against the Tyrant at the end. It all shows that there’s still room for improvement, and whilst Broken Edge’s core mechanics are a lot of fun, some of the hiccups it has can prove costly for the player.
Check out some screenshots down below:
I suppose the main thing I’m worried about with Broken Edge is if it sustains an active online community. Whilst it’s fun to play and there are rankings to consider, there isn’t a whole lot there right now to keep players coming back for more for the long-term. The single player isn’t meaty enough to keep players invested, so hopefully the developer pushes out more content in the future to keep the player base active. It’d be a shame if it didn’t, because it really does stand out as one of the Meta Quest 2’s more unique and clever multiplayer experiences.
I can’t end this review without mentioning the visuals, which I absolutely loved. I’ll always prefer cartoon-style visuals in virtual reality and Broken Edge really nails it with its colourful but muted aesthetic, which adds an almost whimsical vibe to the fierce sword fighting. It looks really good in motion and helps make the game stand out in the crowd.
Broken Edge Review
Broken Edge is a really fun multiplayer experience that feels unique on the Meta Quest 2, though some minor issues do hold it back. It’s not that anything is bad, but when a game relies so much on quick-reactions and precision, the hiccups when recognising movements could be more annoying. It’s not for the single player crowd either, with the game’s stand-out moments had when competing with other players online.
When it comes to online play though, things get super addictive thanks to the strategic action and variety offered with characters. Broken Edge is just a really cool game that has the potential to get even better if the developer keeps bringing fresh content and updates to the experience.
Publisher: Fast Travel Games
Platform(s): Meta Quest 2 (Reviewed), PC VR