Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Reviewed On: PS4
Developer: Gearbox Software
Publisher: 2K Games
Distributor: Prima Interactive
Release Date: 3 May 2016
RELATED: Battlefield 1 Announced
Battleborn is Gearbox Software’s latest creation. Although it is all over the place at times, deep down under all the flash and comedy, there is a fun multiplayer game. Battleborn definitely doesn’t lack personality, but at times this is its biggest downfall as the game’s mechanics are often never fully realized, leaving you wondering why you started a mission in the first place.
The game is divided into two parts. You have the main 8-hour campaign, and the PvP portion of the game, with the ability to play all 25 characters across both parts. The game is also an online game meaning that even the main missions can be played with up to 3 friends. The campaign sees you crossing 8 stages as you choose your favourite hero. The missions are all based off the same enemy and start at one point and end at another.
Along the way you will collect a currency called Shards, and purchase turrets and bots to either heal you or aid you with killing the enemies. Once you have played one mission you have basically played them all with the exception of the boss which os found at the end of each mission. The enemies you face along the way are the same in each mission, and the wave-based portions get a bit dull after a while. The heroes are the real stars of the game, as each of them bring a unique play style to them when going through the main story.
25 playable heroes sound like a lot, but you can only really play a handful of them at first with certain requirements unlocking the rest. The starter heroes are well-rounded and easy to get the hang of. Rath which was our favourite, is a sword-based hero that is super quick and slices and dices up enemies. You then get Miko who is a healer and can drop his head on the floor and heal and damage enemies in a certain range. The heroes in the game resemble classic MOBA gameplay and are divided into specific classes.
Getting the hang of a hero only take a mission or so, and we do not recommend going into a PvP match with a hero you have not played before. The detail goes even further when it comes to the heroes and their unique skill tree. Each hero has a primary attack and a few skills which are based around their character category. As you defeat enemies you will earn XP and level up. Each level you reach will allow you to choose from two or three skill advancements which will buff or change the skill you have. Rath for example will learn to double jump or jump forward when using his cross slash attack.
Apart from the skill tree the game also has a questionable loot system which could use some work. These loot items change and buff certain skills, pickups, attack damage, and even sprint damage. First you need to find the loot which is the issue in the game. Loot is dropped during missions and after missions, but we felt that by the time you are level 20 in rank, you should be receiving better quality loot, which you we weren’t. Also, the game’s end-game activity is the PvP, which you do not get any loot drops from, which is concerning. You can only purchase high-end loot packs at rank 30, so this mechanic will require a massive grind to get to. It’s a shame as the loot system is pretty unique and as much as we wanted to get purple drops, which are the highest with the largest impact, we never got any due to the poor execution of the feature. Loot does play a massive role in both the campaign and PvP as you can equip these items and purchase them once per match, which in theory will give you the buff you really need.
When it comes to the PvP, Battleborn has nailed it and it provides a solid competitive experience throughout the three game modes. Sure there are only six maps, but it is just the right amount to perfect your routes through them and master your favourite heroes in the mode. Capture sees you take control of a certain point and hold it as the enemy team tries to kill you and take it from you. Incursion is very MOBA based and sees you and your minion push into an enemy base and defeat their sentry, while they are doing the same. Meltdown is very similar but instead you are escorting minions to a furnace to sacrifice them to earn points.
After everything we did in the campaign, we could not get enough of the PvP.
Battleborn might seem to be throwing itself in a thousand directions, which it kind of is, but underneath its loud and confusing personality, is a solid FPS. A few things might need some tweaking, but its characters, boss fights, and solid PvP, make for a great experience.