In a industry that is filled to the brim at this point with MOBA's and other class based shooter games it's getting increasingly difficult to create something that stands out from the rest. Battleborn has done just that as it is something new and something unique. I have put over 40 hours into Battleborn at this point so I must be having fun right? Well it is but there are also a ton of issues that prevent Battleborn from being the great game that it truly can be.
Of course the first thing you will probably want to do when jumping into Battleborn is to go straight into the PVP modes and the game features three different game modes. The first mode "capture" is basically just domination where your team earns points by capping three different points on the map. The second game mode, and my favorite is called "Meltdown". In meltdown, you have to guide your minions to the enemy "grinder", which earns you points. The first team that reaches 500 points wins, but if one team reaches 250 points, the grinder will move to the back of the map and into enemy territory. This means that pushing minions becomes much tougher and the good thing about this also is that it theoretically gives the other team a chance to come up. Why theoretically? Well, i'll get to that later, but the other part of Meltdown is that by earning 600 shards, the currency used in game, you can spawn big tank minions that can earn your team big points. I love this game mode because it's still got MOBA elements but you don't have to worry about things like taking down towers and such, so it's a nice change of pace from other MOBA's out there that have similar objectives between them. The third and final game mode is "Incursion" and this mode is more of the traditional MOBA's style mode. This one only features a single lane and you have to guide your minions to the enemy side of the map in order to take out their two Sentry robots.
Of course the most important part of a game like this are the characters and Battleborn's characters are great. Out of the entire cast I think my two favorite characters were Oscar Mike, a total dudebro who is pretty much a parody of a Call of Duty character/player who runs around the battlefield yelling things like "get rekt scrub". Not only that but he is a fantastic character for clearing waves and attack from afar. One of his abilities in a grenade launcher that can be upgraded into napalm rounds and do AOE damage. His ultimate ability allows him to call in a massive airstrike from above and easily lay waste to any enemies or minions that are grouped up. My true favorite character has to be Shayne and Aurox, a bratty teenage girl that has a giant rock monster attached to her at the hip that pretty much acts as her own personal body guard. Both Shayne and Aurox each have their own unique personality and their interactions with each other on the battlefield provides for some pretty funny moments such as Aurox planning on murdering Shayne and eating her soul when he finds out how to break free of her, but Shayne isn't having that at all and goes on with the "BFF's for life" talk. The characters also all spawn your typical MOBA classes including snipers, tanks, assassins, lane pushers and brawlers. Whatever your play style, you will easily find a few characters that you enjoy.
With all characters in the game, each one can upgrade their abilities via the Helix. When you level up you earn Helix points which gives you the ability to choose for one of two different mutations at each level. In the case of Oscar Mike, one mutation choice would be to decide whether you want your grenades to be upgraded into napalm rounds that do aoe damage or to have the grenade spawn five smaller grenades after detonation. The Helix is great because it allows you to upgrade your playing style each game based around what you and your team needs. If the enemy team has a lot of burst damage, you could opt for health and healing upgrades such as having your shield respawn faster or by giving you additional lifesteal. The other element of both PVP and PVE gameplay is the gear system. Much like the weapons in Borderlands, playing the game can earn you gear which you can purchase in battle and give your characters and advantage. Some items will increase your movement speed, reload speed, your total heath, damage output and more. All of the gear in the game is sorted by rarity and all of the high level gear are either found in rare drops in story mode or rare drops by purchasing loot packs from the in game store with in game currency.
Story mode currently features eight different story missions which can be played multiple times with any team comp that you desire. Each one of these missions will give you a piece of the Battleborn story and how the different factions in the game are fighting back against the Varelsi and the final boss Rendain. If you are familiar at all with Borderlands, you will feel right at home because the story mode really does feel like individual Borderlands missions. You go through each level collecting loot and killing baddies. Battleborn does shake things up a bit by adding escort missions, hoard mode type objectives where you have to survive waves of enemies and of course boss fights. Each mission can be played alone, with random teammates online or in a party and there are various difficulty options as well including . The difficulty also scales depending on how many players are on a mission so playing the story mode alone is just as fun and challenging as playing it with a full party. Playing through all of the story missions took me about 8 hours or so but the story itself is pretty much relegated to characters talking back and forth at each other through the intercom and honestly, I really wasn't paying attention while most of this was going on. I was more focused on picking up loot and killing all the Varelsi in our way. I have played through the story missions multiple times and honestly I don't really understand what was going on story wise.
Actually, I do realize what was going on in one mission called "The Algorithm" in which we have to destroy a rouge AI called ISIC. The reason I know this mission front to back at this point is because I probably played it 10 times in a row. When playing with random players online, you only get a choice of three different missions to choose from when the map vote comes up and for whatever reason, everyone kept picking The Algorithm. This means that you are probably going to replay the story missions several times before playing the ones you haven't before unless you play solo and the game is much more fun with a full crew and there are some characters who probably wouldn't be able to complete the story missions on their own. It's not that the missions aren't fun, it's just that it gets really boring having to play the same missions over and over again. This unfortunately is where Battleborn's weak points really start to stick out like a sore thumb.
Battleborn is a MOBA style game and while there are plenty of other MOBA's out there, I would say that for those who have never played them before, might not know what they are doing. The problem is that Battleborn offers no tutorial at all for multiplayer. The only tutorial you do get is for story mode where you play as Mellka and you can get a pretty good understanding of how that game mode works and how she plays as one of the various characters in the game, but after completing the tutorial prologue, the game promptly locks said character you played as and you can't play as her again until you finish the story mode or you get to rank 34. Why on earth would you do this? Usually MOBA's will give you the tutorial character for free. So you finish the prologue and want to get into the PVP action. Good luck, and hope your teammates are nice enough to explain what is going on because the game doesn't do this at all. Let's take Meltdown for example. At the beginning of the match you will get a loading screen saying that you can build bots to help push lanes and then when the match starts you get a quick 15 second video of Nova telling you how the game mode works. Ok, great but this isn't enough. Let's look at SMITE. I could easily tell you "killing the gold fury gives your team extra gold", but if you are new to this game, you will have no idea exactly how the gold fury works or where it is on the map. It took until I got to level 10-15 or so until I realized that for 600 shards I could build giant bots to help push the lane. I never asked because I never even knew it was a feature. Of course you can say "lead your minions to the enemies grinder for points". Okay, whats a grinder? where are the minions coming from? Who, what, where? Because of this, most people thing this game is simply team deathmatch and they just go running around the map getting killed. There is so much more to MOBA's than just "how to win". They need to know about feeding and leveling up, about objectives, about the neutral objectives, about the turrets, about how building and destroying turrets and accelerators earns you XP.
And now we get to the biggest problems with Battleborn and that is both the matchmaking. The matchmaking in this game is absolutely horrific. As of this writing, I am about level 27 and I can say that most of the games I play end up with players that are levels 1-5. So my team consists of the following levels. 27-5-15-3-10. Now here is the enemy levels. 55-70-45-3-35. Do you see the problem here? It's one thing if there is a little difference in player levels but this is ridiculous. Even worse, it means that the enemy team most likely has high level gear and way more experience with the roster of characters than our team. Needless to say, these games always end up as stomps that are not fun whatsoever or they end five minutes into the game after our team (or theirs if the matchmaking works in your favor) surrenders. It also doesn't help that Battleborn has a sever lack of maps to play on and one of them I actually haven't played at all. Meltdown offers two separate maps to choose from in the map vote session with one called Coldsnap and the other called Paradise. No joke, in the 40+ hours I have played this game, I have never once played the Coldsnap map. No one ever chooses it. On one of the incursion maps, Overgrowth, one of the snipers named Marquis can stand on the steps and just cheese the enemy sentry the entire game. These are severe issues that only lead to players rage quitting matches and giving up early.
At the very least, I would say that there is still plenty of fun to be had with Battleborn as I have put about 40+ hours into it already. When you do get matched with teammates who know what they are doing, it leads to some fun and intense matches that go back and forth and these are usually worth the price of admission. Unfortunately you are going to get an equally bad amount of matches where you get matched up with teammates who have no idea what they are doing, against teams that just steamroll over you until either you surrender or rage quit. Story mode however does provide for a nice little break for the hair pulling that comes with multiplayer. All of the missions are fun and unique and is a great place to try and earn some rare loot or to try out some new characters you may have unlocked, if that is of course you aren't forced to play the same mission 10 times in a row. Battleborn is a good game, that provides plenty of fun but it's just incredibly frustrating seeing all of these tiny issues that come in and ruin the fun every so often.
* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company.
I have been playing video games for as long as I can remember. My earliest gaming memories come from playing Lady Bug and Snafu on my fathers Colecovision and Intellivision respectively. It wasnt until I was 6 years old and played a Mortal Kombat 2 arcade machine in a game room at a hotel that I truly fell in love with a videogame. I have so many wonderful memories of my dad and I playing Mortal Kombat on SNES every night after dinner. Throughout my childhood NES, SNES, Gameboy and Sega Genesis were the loves of my life. Here I am 29 years old and still as much in love with videogames as I ever was. And for the record... I enjoyed the Mass Effect 3 ending... sue me