official release is just around the corner, but before that developer Ninja Theory decided to introduced a neat new character for us to look forward to at a preview event in San Francisco. Mekko is a dolphin from Japan who gets around in a mech suit equipped with a tank and uses experimental technology to communicate with humans. You’ll have to wait until sometime shortly after the March 24 launch to play this ranged tank, but until then, we have a rundown of his kit and tips for you to keep in mind for when he’s available.Mekko is one of the few “advanced” characters. He’s equipped with an automatic sonar gun that has good but limited range and even more limited mobility. Evasion is important in Bleeding Edge, and Mekko’s generally lacking mobility is what can make him a challenge to play. Evade is swapped out on Mekko for an ability called Bubble Block. This is a bubble shield that absorbs damage and, as damage is taken, fills two Power Orbs. A filled Power Orb can be consumed to give a bonus to one of Mekko’s specials. The bubble does have an automatically recharging duration meter that limits the bubble from being kept up indefinitely.
Speaking of which, here are Mekko’s specials as they were shown in the preview:
- Lifeline – Connect a lifeline to an ally. Mekko takes 40% of their incoming damage. Press the mapped button again to wind the ally in. With Power Orb: Grant the target a shield.
- Safety Zone – Mark out a Safety Zone that grants Mekko and his allies armor and lifesteal. With Power Orb: Reduces healing received for enemies inside the area.
- Surge – Surge forwards, knocking enemies in your path. With Power Orb: Also generate life while traveling.
Mekko’s two supers are interesting zoning tools. The first, Sonic Barrage, lets Mekko emit a controlled sonic blast that deals heavy damage and pushes enemies back. It doesn’t slow Mekko in any way while it’s firing, so this super can be used aggressively to control a large area. Then there’s Exclusion Bubble, which does exactly what you’d expect it to do. Mekko traps a targeted enemy inside the bubble. The enemy doesn’t take any damage and their teammates can destroy the bubble.If you’re interested in playing Mekko, I’ve gathered a few basic tips you might want to keep in mind when you take him into battle. These are based on my experience with Mekko in three games and things I noticed while evaluating replays:
- Keep your bubble up in combat, but don’t keep it up so long that you allow it to pop. You’re usually much better off pulsing the shield rather than leaving it up continuously (unless you’re taking excessive damage from multiple sources at once).
- You always want to play as a team, but consider keeping especially close one or two of your lower HP teammates. Your Lifeline allows you to take their damage and allows you to pull them out of a sticky situation. If you’ve got a Power Orb ready, you can give them a shield too.
- Use the tether to pull a teammate up to a higher level for a high ground advantage.
- Mekko has so many easy ways to improve armor through the Bubble Block and Safety Zone, so you’re the one who should be standing on points! Surge provides for decent escape too.
- Try to save Mekko’s Surge to hit a line of enemies and keep the Bubble Block shield up while doing so.
- Doing damage with the Sonic Barrage super is great, but you’ll likely want to pick the Exclusion Bubble more often than not. It’s expectedly great for removing a key tank from a fight so your attackers can focus on killing the enemy supports and attackers.
- If you’re thinking of using Sonic Barrage to knock enemies out of depositing power cells in Power Collection, instead consider using Surge to do the same thing and use Exclusion Bubble to split up the fight.
- You can Surge through the air if you jump then use Surge.
- Safety Zone moves if it’s placed on a moving surface.
Mekko is an interesting tank in a literal tank with a lot of great combo potential. I’ve only scratched the surface of how he can play well with others, and I look forward to seeing where he excels. For more on Bleed Edge, be sure to keep up with our review in progress.
Miranda Sanchez is an executive editor at IGN. You can chat with her about video games and anime on Twitter.