Seriously, it’s fun, people.
I get it. There are a lot of shooters out there with the same kind of premise. “Hero Shooters” as they call them are all the rage right now, and come in many different forms. While many people tend to lean towards one or the other, it seems like Battleborn is the one game in this fray that isn’t getting looked at. Or if it is, it’s getting looked at in a negative way. After putting several hours into both the story mode as well as the competitive multiplayer, I can say I actually like the game, and think others should give it a shot if they’re into this style of “Hero Shooter.”
Battleborn has a lot going for it: 25 playable characters, each with different powers, weapons, and play styles; a story mode that can be played solo, local multiplayer, or online multiplayer; and a competitive multiplayer mode where things play out in different ways depending on the type of match. On top of that, unlocks for more skill for each character, loot drops with color rarity equipment that can be used for load outs, and a progression system that feels rewarding and fun when leveling up both the character profile as well as the player profile.
Platforms: PS4, XB1, PC
Price I’d pay: $59.99
Let’s start with the story mode. Here, players can take on missions in a sort of raid style set up where players will move to certain positions while traversing the level and have to hold off certain enemies from capture points, or defeat a boss that can soak up damage. It really feels like each level is a mini raid. Kill the trash mobs, protect the area, and kill the boss. Using their powers and weapons as well as activated turrets and traps that can be used with the crystal currency that both enemies drop and can be found in the environment. Along the way, players will get the Gearbox style story that revolves around multiple factions contesting over planets near the one last star in the universe. They throw in a lot of that humor that both hits and misses at times, but it is still colorful nonetheless.
During these story missions, players will share a lives pool with the entire team, so reviving teammates before they die can be very important for finishing missions. There are checkpoints throughout the levels, but these aren’t the standard kind of checkpoints. You see, these aren’t for the level objectives, these are for when a player fully dies. They can respawn at the unlocked checkpoint. If the team allows the mission objective to be compromised, that means the mission is over. The End. It’s like the party is essentially wiping during a raid. Let me just say, doing a mission for 30 minutes only to have our computer terminal be destroyed by trash mobs and have to start the entire 30 minutes over is a very infuriating thing. Coordination and knowing the environments and surroundings is very important to the story mode. One slip and it’s back to the beginning of the mission for everyone.
The competitive multiplayer has two teams of five fighting against each other in three different modes, each one focusing on different objectives. One mode has players controlling capture points in a king of the hill style game, another mode feels like the MOBA everyone has been talking about where players will push the other team into their base while also escorting their AI controlled mobs to the core of the enemies’ base. The other mode I didn’t even know was in the game is basically the opposite of the MOBA mode, where teams must escort their mobs to be sacrificed in order to score points. So killing the enemy team’s minions before they get sacrificed will stop them from gaining points.
Each mode adds a lot to the overall game, and while it can be hectic at times, it’s actually a really fun style, especially when coordinating with team members. It can be highly rewarding and a lot of fun.
After each match or after finishing a story mission, players are rewarded with loot that can equipped onto their load outs of three specialized items. This gear must be activated in order to come into use. Doing so requires that crystal currency I mentioned earlier. Think of it as in-game gold used for buying things, both for activating gear from one’s load out or building a turret on the map for better defense in the base. Gear comes in all shapes and forms, and can offer up better critical hit damage, faster movement speed, higher damage output for abilities, etc. It adds another layer to the strategy when playing. And a player with some legendary or epic loot activated can become a powerhouse for when the chips are down for their team.
The characters really do feel completely different from each other. Not a single one acts the same. Depending on the style of play, players can gravitate towards more tanky characters like Montana or go for my personal favorite, the sniper style like Thorn. Each has their own special abilities and button layout, and when leveling up mid-match, picking through each individual skill buffs in the skill tree takes a lot of strategy. On top of that, leveling up the character’s profile by using them in the story or multiplayer will open up even more augments when leveling up mid-match. There’s a lot here, and surprisingly, it is deep as hell.
Even with each character playing completely different, everyone has a role to fill. If players on a team aren’t keeping that in mind when selecting their characters before a match, they are going to have a difficult time. While it feels balanced, if a team isn’t well balanced with healers, tanks and DPS characters, they are pretty much dead in the water. So playing with randoms online (which I did for every single thing during this review) can become bothersome.
All in all, I’d say Battleborn is a very well made game. The gameplay is fun and actually well thought out, and the characters all bring something different to the table. The story mode can be hit or miss, but the competitive side of things is really where the game shines in its strategy and game play. If you have a couple of buddies that are on board with Battleborn, partying up with them can be a really fun and rewarding time. It can even be that way with random players online, but everyone knows what comes with that territory sometimes. There are tons of things to unlock, and seeing everything will take a long time, most of which is a fun time. I suggest this game to people looking for that MOBA multiplayer style game in a fun wacky feel. It took me by surprise how much I actually enjoyed Battleborn, and I think a lot of other people will too if they give it a shot.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.