We went hands on with Trebuchet’s Broken Edge a few months ago, and now the final game’s been released on the Quest 2 and on SteamVR. We checked out the Quest version of this multiplayer dueling title to see how we’d fare in one on one combat.
Because we played Broken Edge for a preview we did earlier, we already knew that the game was different than other swordfighting games in VR. Rather than using its mechanics for an action adventure, this one is all about the duel – a bit like fencing and jousting. It’s also primarily a multiplayer game, which will certainly scare some people off who are afraid of seeing empty servers after a while.
It would be a shame to miss out though, as there’s a lot to enjoy in Broken Edge that makes it far less gimmicky that other VR titles. This starts with your character selection, which is actually meaningful here. Picking between a Knight, Barbarian, Samurai, Duelist, Persian or Tyrant, you’ll quickly notice differences in weapon, abilities to defend, weaknesses and fighting styles. Some characters even have a secondary weapon, and although some are geared more towards beginners than others they feel nicely balanced.
There’s an order to the classes when playing the ‘campaign’ in offline solo mode though, which is a series of fights against AI opponents – ending with a battle against the Tyrant class. Fights get consistently longer to win, forcing you to win more rounds – though for some odd reason a lost round instantly loses you the match. It’s weird, but the offline mode offers a few nice ways to train and familiarize yourself with the controls and tactics.
One key element to each round is trying to break the enemy’s primary weapon. Sounds easy enough, but there’s a lot more to it. Hit it with the side of your blade, and you won’t do much damage, but hit it clean and near the hilt and you can do a lot of damage instantly. The same is true defensively, so ideally you’ll hit your opponent’s weapon near the hilt with the tip of your blade – this isn’t a game where you just hack away and hope for the best.
In a bit of a ‘gamey’ twist, each class can ‘awaken’ their weapon with a special pose/move, which gives it more damage dealing abilities. We thought the ‘pure’ experience of weapon type vs weapon type was the most interesting element of Broken Edge though, and as you play more and more you start discovering what styles work best against which enemy type – dueling is surprisingly deep here, and it pays to practice in the in-game training dojo. This also introduces other ‘gamey’ aspects like some advanced abilities that move the combat beyond mere swordplay while adding a fantasy-like element to it as well.
Broken Edge’s developers have opted for a very colorful cel-shaded approach to the visuals, which keeps the performance up while also feeling refreshing and polished for a budget-priced title. We have some doubts about the game’s lasting appeal in the online arena, but right now this is a nice little dueling title for VR.