Saturday, May 28, 2016


Rating: 7.9
Happy Price: 59.99


Battleborn is a first person MOBA which has three different primary multiplayer game modes. The blending of a MOBA and FPS is brand new which creates a fresh experience for experienced MOBA players, and something different for typical FPS players. This also creates a bit of a clash with players, since those are two different audiences which makes matchmaking a mixed bag.


There are three different game modes: a minion guiding mode, domination, and a linear point capture mode. Meltdown is the minion guiding mode, and unless you have a team of people that are communicating, it's a frustrating mode to play. Many players that come from FPS assume this is a team deathmatch style game which throws things into chaos. This was great for me individually because I'd constantly bait players who were dumb enough to play that way and score kills, but the problem is your teammates also play this way. I can see how the games were suppose to go. Groups of minions meet in an area, and then the player controlled characters duke it out in an area, winner of that battle will score the minions. The problem is there are five people on each time and no jungle, and the minions spawn at the same time with two lanes. This essentially takes the idea of having 2v2 on each lane with a jungler out of the picture. I think games would be more competitive and balanced if they were 6v6.

Domination is just not very interesting. The game mode is very familiar to most FPS players and there really is no need to discuss it much

Incursion is a decent experience since it's objective based and very team deathmatch oriented. The objective is very clear, and the strategy straightforward. Each team has two points that must be captured. Those points are guarded by a very tough sentry that has to be destroyed. There are numerous powerups and defenses that can be purchased and upgraded by killing minions and enemies. In addition to building defenses, there are mercenary camps that unlock powerful NPC characters that help attack other players and the objectives. Hiring mercenaries takes teamwork, you have to go to the mercenary camp and kill the mercenary(s) there, if you defeat them, you have to sit on a portal for about five seconds. During this time, the enemy team can steal the mercenaries. Doing this solo is very difficult and requires coordination, and mercenaries are necessary to win the game. A good solo performance can make the difference in this game mode, but if the other team is coordinated and frequently hiring mercenaries it turns into a 5v7 matchup and that will seal the game.

Character Variation

There are five factions and five class types in total. The class types include the Assassin, Tank, Healer, Sniper, and Warrior. Characters need to be unlocked by leveling up your profile or accomplishing specific game tasks like finishing story level four. It can take hours to unlock the entire roster, which is a bit detrimental to the experience of the game. Of the five starter characters, I'd say two of them are able to compete against players that have leveled up and have new characters. Thorn the Sniper and Roth the Assassin have very powerful skillsets that can do tons of damage. The other three characters that start the game are pretty average and underpowered, so when match up against people that have played the game longer it's unbalanced. When new characters are unlocked, they generally all play the same depending on class. At times it feels like it doesn't make a difference which assassin or tank I use, the only difference is their special attacks. When comparing to a game like Overwatch, it's a bit disappointing. There are 25 total playable characters with DLC on the way, but it will take hours of gameplay to ever experience all 25 players.


The campaign opens with this beautiful anime style animation that really kicks off the story and gets the player inspired to play the campaign. It's probably one of the best introductions to a story I've ever seen. I was really hoping that would continue throughout the experience, but it didn't. You would simply finish a section of the campaign, then move on to the next mission. It didn't create a cohesive experience, however the in game story writing was entertaining enough to keep you drawn in. The in game story writing was humorous and clever, which is consistent with Gearbox game leading back to Borderlands. Claptrap's personality is all over this game making light of the serious situation everyone is in mixed with the dark humor.

The way the campaign is structured is the team has lives. Each time someone dies, an life is lost for the entire team. What I found to be the most irritating is when you would get paired up with a crappy player that would constantly die, and would drain the team of lives. Because of this, I tended to do solo missions. The game was designed to have multiplayer missions with large areas to battle and mixing special attacks to create an awesome cohesive experience. I don't think Gearbox did a great job at creating these moments since it was so frustrating to see teammates constantly dying which would effect the whole team. Nothing is more annoying than spending 40 minutes in a mission, dying one time and having to start over from the beginning. While everyone else on the team died two or three times. Another frustrating piece was if internet connection was lost during a SINGLE PLAYER CAMPAIGN you would be disconnected from the mission and it would not restart you from your last checkpoint when attempting to replay it. I remember vividly the third mission I had the final boss at 25% health SOLO and losing connection for less than one second (I was wired in with an ethernet cable since it happened to me once before when wireless). This is an ongoing problem, and made me cautions of doing the campaign since I lost about 90 minutes of my life due to disconnection problems on a 50mpbs line wired in.


I've always enjoyed Gearbox's style of the 3d cell shaded characters, it's their style and how the studio is recognized. The different character types are interesting to look at and there are tons of character models in the game from minion, to sentries, and multiple NPC race types. Each character has a high level of detail like Golden sniper rifles with engravings and telekinetic rapiers. Each faction has their style and it's consistent with all the characters which created a cohesive visual experience that felt tight and clean. I'm pretty sure every LLC character had gold and engravings somewhere on their bodies, while the Jennerit all had red and plasma based weapons. The art style and quirky animations definitely enhances the experience of the game.


Battleborn makes a great initial impression, but it slowly begins to fade as you continue to play and unlock characters. It becomes clear that unlocking all the characters will become a tedious task that will take hours to complete, and for what? A game like Overwatch took the opposite approach, where you can pick any character and can switch each death. That game is more fun, and Battleborn will pay the price for it. It's a game I will likely keep in my library as they make updates, but I don't know for how long.   

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