Battleborn is one of the most chaotic shooters I’ve played, which also managed to frustrate and amaze me at the same time. The single-player and co-op campaign was thin and hit and miss at best, plagued with bad jokes from NPC’s and really uninviting once you get into the game a bit. The multiplayer action tries to mix genres like the mechanics from popular MOBA’s but overall was a huge miss, as they tried to do to much.
Battleborn isn’t lacking diversity in characters as you have two dozen of them to pick from, and each has a fun creative look that makes for an enticing push to try each and everyone of them. Each of the characters has a huge bag of abilities to pull from as well so that is another good selling point. What gives each of the toons ability sets diversity is that you begin every new excursion at level one and progress through 10 upgrade choices in the course of a single session, with the twist that you have to choose the upgrades on the fly, like in a MOBA. This was a challenging feature, but a fun feature to integrate into a game like this.
Battleborn has a seven-hour campaign which are mostly repetitive with the exception of only a handful of good story moments. Each mission is made up of continuous waves of almost the same enemy with different boss battles or base defense settings. Using currency (called shards) you collect on each map, you also have to purchase turrets and bots to aid in your attack against giant mechs or base defense, which adds an interesting layer of resource management. With all that you have to manage during the battling, sadly the story the game tries to tell becomes white-noise and easily forgettable. This is a Gearbox game, so the makers of Borderlands had to add loot but this game gives you new gear in between battles. While Battleborn’s loot carries over from match to match, the bonuses you get out of it aren’t as good the in-match leveling system. Overall I think they did a good job with loot and adding a challenge to the levels of combat.
While the campaign feels empty and pointless to me, the PvP modes you get are a completely different story. You get three different modes to choose from each with their own unique challenges. Capture is a domination-style mode good for fast action and lots of frustration at times. Incursion is a condensed version of the campaign that avoids the insanely long battles, but you do get to take down some enemy mechs with some cool toys if you’ve purchased any. Lastly you have, Meltdown, which is a mix of MOBA and arena style FPS. Ultimately this could have been a great idea, but the first person perspective brings the action way too close and the map overlay is way too small to keep track of anyone. It would have been nice to have a free-for-all, or a team death-match but you won’t find it in this game.
One plus is that all the multiplayer maps are instantly available – unlike the hero roster, which you have to unlock as you go. The heroes you do get to choose from at start a bit lacking. You can though unlock four new characters by completing the seven hour campaign, and you can unlock more during the multiplayer modes by leveling up your profile. With a few dozen hours into Battleborn I’ve only just touched on the surface of earning access to the cast of toons you get. It’s a big grind and it doesn’t feel very rewarding for the toons you do get with all the time you have to put in to get them.
Overall this is one hybrid MOBA / FPS that doesn’t excite my gaming fancy and one I won’t return to very often. With no interesting story to take part in, or the lack of interesting stages it’s a bust on this game for me but I might return one day to see if anything has changed.
Until next time gamers!