Deadly Edge – Review
Follow Genre: Action Sidescroller
Developer: Bison Kings Game Studios
Publisher: Bison Kings Game Studios
Platform: PC
Tested on: PC

Deadly Edge – Review

Site Score
4.0
Good: Commendable Art Style
Bad: Terrible gameplay
User Score
1.5
(2 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 1.5/10 (2 votes cast)

A dark world, a shimmering edge of a sword in the vague light. You make sure your grip is firm and your step is steady. Ahead, a road full of peril and angry people are waiting for you. It’s the world of Deadly Edge, the first official game from Bison Kings Game Studios. 

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Story

You play ‘Grey’, the protagonist soldier who is tasked to figure out what the hell is going on at ‘The Duke’s Keep’. The Duke seems to have cut off all communication with the rest of the country and besides that, there have been a number of mysterious deaths around that your captain ordered you to figure out. You head out to find a contact near the keep who will explain some things to you, but just as your arrive, enemies attack you and this is where the story gets a bit messy. There’s the main storyline which is hard to follow, or at least confusing. This is due to the fact that random NPCs suddenly say weird things to you, or start a fight which sometimes could be considered side quests though there is no way around them. The story overall seems just a bit chaotic even though it has a proper start.

Graphics

The graphics in this game look very cool. Sometimes they are just a tiny bit amateuristic, but most of the time they are smooth, highly retro and quite atmospheric. The game consists of pixel art that has been put in grayscales. These visuals might be the strongest part of the game and must have gotten the most work. The levels are rather detailed and the animations look fine even though they lack some frames every now and then. It’s frustrating that the graphics have a lot of potential but the game just doesn’t use them well. Also the fact that every now and then there suddenly is a sloppy scene or graphic thrown in between makes the esthetic value drop a bit too by breaking the atmosphere. The environments and people you come across combined with the graphics give a good setting for weird things that are about to happen, like a Lovecraftian story, but the game somehow just doesn’t fit in the atmosphere it creates. It feels like in total it would have been way more at its place as a classic point-and-click dark story instead of an action.. walker – not even platformer.

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Sound

The sound is also a good part of the game. It has a fitting retro theme that you hear in the main menu and sometimes in the game. Other times there is a nice mysterious or dark atmospheric background track. Again, it’s foreboding for what possibly comes further on, but the gameplay simply screws it all up. The sound effects added to the fights are on point and also contribute to a retro feel with slashes, grunting and thumping that have that 16-bit serious game sound. But every sound that is being made quickly gets killed by putting a pillow on it. One of the other things that could be added  is i.e. the crackling of torches on the wall and water dripping in a cave., but you don’t really miss it until you pay attention to it.

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Gameplay

As an action sidescroller, this game has a few major flaws. First of all, it’s a small game with pretty big loading times. When starting, you get dropped in a story that smells of betrayal, fear, and haste, eager to find out more about what’s happening. Then quickly after your first fight, everything turns to shit. No, not the story, the gameplay just turns to shit. It’s incredibly unclear where to go, why to go there and why there are randomly different people randomly named thugs, assassins, barbarians etc. on your path. Basically, each and every NPC you encounter has two different options. Either they talk and give you a completely unexpected story or the vaguest hint of what comes next, or you have to fight them. Fighting in this game has nothing to do with mechanics. There are many different animations and possibilities when fighting. You can slash down, crouch and slash, slash up, stab, block. And none of it matters at all. When you can kill a boss by standing still and smashing buttons, something is wrong. It’s not proper gameplay. Especially if you do this with every enemy you encounter until you get to the next part of the main story (whenever that may be).

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It seems like besides the gameplay that basically consists of walking and smashing buttons there are two other major flaws going on. Firstly, there is no explanation, no tutorial, barely any dialogue, background or reasoning why you do whatever it is you do. Secondly, you have no bloody idea where to go as soon as your road splits up which it does quite a lot. Normally in a game, you would find a ”main” road and a road that ends in a special event, different route or maybe a treasure. Here you simply don’t know where you are or what you are doing there. Together the experience just seems like a lack of coding knowledge from the developers, or maybe a lack of seeing possibilities. It feels like it’s a sketch for a 2D retro Dark Souls game that is far from finished. It feels like the developers were reaching for the stars to make a great game, realized they had no idea how they were flying, and sadly, brutally crashed into the ground.

Conclusion

Even though the game brings some greatly appreciated aesthetic value into the gaming business, it’s almost all it does. There is just such poor communication in almost everything that it would be hardly advisable to play the game as it is right now. There certainly is potential but it feels like the developers should gather and discuss the core gameplay before they do anything else. It’s a project where a lot of revision might save it, such as also a proper storyboard to see what’s going on in the world of Deadly Edge, but right now it’s not really a game at all.

Deadly Edge 5

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Rating: 1.5/10 (2 votes cast)
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Deadly Edge - Review, 1.5 out of 10 based on 2 ratings
Pim Hoogeveen
Pim Hoogeveen


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