March 7, 2019 at 7:49 AM #663
Rating: 4.0 – Great
Why did this game try to compete with Overwatch!?
Battleborn was Gearbox’s attempt at a "hero shooter", a multiplayer FPS with a bunch of different characters with different playstyles, like Overwatch and Team Fortress 2. And that is exactly where the similarities end. Battleborn is a blend of first person shooter and MOBA, with minions to farm, camps to attack and leveling up and picking a build throughout the entire match. The game released to lukewarm praise from reviewers but failed financially, with copies of Battleborn hovering around 5-10$ dollars as of today, as well as the launch of an extended demo which gives limited hero selection and unlimited multiplayer access. Part of the failure was the horrible marketing that made consumers believe that it was incredibly similar to Overwatch, because the games looked the same on the surface and both had names that were just two words put together because they’re easy to remember. So as of today, the playerbase of Battleborn is dead on all platforms, but there is a full campaign and bots for every game mode, which makes for enough single player content to satisfy the buyer.
The gameplay of Battleborn is surprisingly varied. The campaign is mission based, where you escort tanks, kill waves of enemies, defend objectives and fight bosses which drop loot that increase your stats. The multiplayer has three modes, Incursion, which is your classic MOBA "escort the minions and kill the enemies big turret without letting your big turret die." and it works well enough to be enjoyable. This mode remains playable online, at least on PS4, as there are still players on at most times of the day. There’s also Capture, which is basically just capture the control point and accumulate enough points before the enemy team, and there’s Meltdown, which while it has an amusing "story" with sacrificing minions to some sort of god, it boils down to "escort your minions and kill the enemies minions". While Incursion and Capture are fun, Meltdown is incredibly tedious and boring, and I couldn’t imagine playing it more than a few times. Back over in Story mode, most of the missions are enjoyable, there’s only a few that players will find themselves wanting to replay for new loot, because some missions just drag on too long. The characters steal the show, as most are incredibly fun to use, like Ghalt, the shotgun wielding powerhouse, or Miko, the sentient mushroom. Some characters are just horrible, like Attikus, a melee focused thing that might look incredibly tough, but has very low health and deals almost no damage, and as a result is complete garbage in most situations. But all in all, Battleborn has some incredibly fun gameplay, with satisfying weapons, well designed maps and a ton of variety.
Battleborn‘s gameplay earns an 8.5/10.
Battleborn‘s story is ripped straight out of a Saturday morning cartoon, in that it’s incredibly basic and serves as an excuse for the artists to go wild with crazy ideas. The basic gist of it is that multiple factions are fighting for control of Solus, the last star in the universe, and that the Battleborn are a team of "badasses" who are trying to reclaim it from Rendain, an over the top evil villain who really isn’t memorable or funny in the slightest. There’s a bunch of factions that make up the Battleborn, like the corporate LLC, the soldiers from the UPR, the Eldrid and Jennerit races, and some Rogues who aren’t part of any, and are for the most part completely insane. The story is basic, and in the context of the campaign is barely touched upon other than "kill Rendain and take Solus". But since most of the campaign Story missions are just meant to be replayable raids, most players will ignore the little story here. The multiplayer doesn’t even touch the story, other than saying "this map is on an Eldrid planet" or "this is a Jennerit ruin map". Battleborn‘s story felt like it was only a setup to give an excuse on why all the characters look so different from each other rather than act as a cohesive narrative. But, to it’s credit, it works.
Battleborn‘s story earns a 5.5/10.
GRAPHICS & SOUND:
The art style of Battleborn is clearly inspired by cartoons, with over the top proportions and bright colors, and it looks really good. The ingame HUD is fairly cluttered, however. The graphics are nice and pretty, but the anime styled opening and cutscenes aren’t the prettiest, in my opinion. If I had to compare it, I would call the art style "Borderlands but cleaner". The sound is fine, characters sound good enough, the sound effects are acceptable and the music is generic, but it didn’t really need to be anything special anyways. The design and voices of the characters are distinct and creative, and that’s what matters. The maps look great, effects are nice and everything works well enough.
Battleborn‘s graphics and sound earn a 8/10.
As a multiplayer and loot grinding focused shooter, Battleborn better have a ton of replay value! It’s a multiplayer shooter with a replayable 8 hour campaign on top of it. You could play it for 8 hours, or you could play it for 2,000. The problem here is that the desire for loot has dropped immensely because you don’t have anyone to compete with for the best loot anymore, not to mention that the loot was basically useless anyways. The multiplayer will hook you however, since each class is so unique that you won’t be getting bored any time soon, since playing a match as every character takes about 25 hours anyways. The hook is there, and there is a lot of content. There’s special DLC heroes (five in total), "Lore" challenges which are basically grind heavy challenges that unlock the character’s backstory, and premium operations that are focused on earning loot only, and the lack of value in loot nowadays kind of defeats their purpose, but I digress. Battleborn has a lot of quality content, a lot of mediocre content and a lot of replay value. Even if you do get bored after a few hours of playing, it’s not like you broke the bank to buy the game. The replay value coasts entirely on if the game hooks you or not. If you know what you’re getting into with the whole FPS/MOBA hybrid and that’s up your alley, you could be playing Battleborn for thousands of hours, and that’s what counts.
Battleborn‘s replay value earns a 9/10.
If you see Battleborn at 10$ or less? It would be stupid to pass it up. Even if you’re just in it for the campaign or to try out the heroes, the dirt cheap asking price of the game in 2018 makes it a no-brainer to pick up if the idea of that FPS/MOBA hybrid that I can’t shut up about intrigues you at all. It’s fun, has a ton of content, a nice art style and still has a small but dedicated player base. The amount of variety and content you get is unparalleled by any other "hero shooter" on the market. (If Overwatch gets a campaign, you can ignore that.) Battleborn is a great shooter that did nothing to deserve the amount of hate it received. I understand people hate Randy Pitchford, but if the dude makes a good game, you can put that aside, and Battleborn is that good game. It didn’t deserve such an ignoble end, but in such a saturated sub-genre, I guess that’s the only possible way it could have turned out.
SCORE: 8/10 – GREAT
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