Jul 24, 2017 Last Updated 1:57 AM, Jul 23, 2017

Battleborn Review

Published in FPS
Read 1675 times
Rate this item
(0 votes)

From the creators of Borderlands, this fun shooter delivers the co-op experience I have been craving in a market full of bland MOBAs and Team Fortress 2 copies.

Since the day I laid eyes on Borderlands, Gearbox has had me by the wallet. In fact, the majority of the AAA purchases I have made each year have been dedicated to the quirky, humor filled shooter (of the one or two expensive games I buy per year, at least one probably has something to do with Borderlands). It’s definitely safe to say that my expectations for Battleborn were impossibly high and I am pleased to report that the developers gave me half of exactly what I wanted: an experience that the current surge of releases in this genre simply don’t deliver (most recently Paladins and Overwatch). Basically, the elements of story and co-op play far outstrip the competitive multiplayer experience provided.

On the bright side, the Battleborn story mode is beautiful in that it shifts between two different art styles seamlessly. While the style of characters in-game is similar enough to Borderlands, the cutscenes are animated in the style of a superhero show or Saturday morning cartoon. As I didn’t follow trailers and press terribly closely leading up to the official release, this shocked and delighted me. I love that the cutscenes between missions don’t look graphically better than gameplay because that’s what I expected. Instead, the gorgeous illustrations pulled me right back to my childhood. As in Borderlands, the campaign mode is packed with vivid, snarky heroes and villains, but the overall tone is lighter. It’s the little things, like the artificially intelligent ship that can’t drive and the death robot that has decided to be a giant spider that make the whole thing shine with personality. Beyond that, it’s the simple premise of good guys duking it out with bad guys superhero-style that truly sets the player up for loads of fun and great laughs.

Although the campaign mode is really intended as a way to farm gear for multiplayer, it is so much more exciting than the average match against the a.i.

For one, turning up the difficulty actually makes it challenging to complete a mission. The mobs are tough to deal with and the bosses make me switch my brain back on and really think about how I am handling the fight. The boss of the first arc could only be damaged after certain parts of him were heavily damaged. Another thing that surprised me is the abandonment of popular tropes in first person shooters in favor of “retro” rules. For example, the player only has a certain number of “lives” to get through the campaign, meaning that they only get to return to the spawn point a few times before they fail the mission. There is even the option to activate “hardcore mode,” which removes the option to respawn at all. I tried out hardcore mode myself and found that I enjoyed the pressure despite my dismal failure as I accidentally jumped off the map near the end of a mission. As devastated as I was at my own stupidity, I love that Gearbox gave me the option to really test myself. Further, each player scores points based on how well they play through the mission and awards a medal based on that high score. Just like in many older games, I can go back and try to beat my own high score (at this point, you may or may not have guessed how I will be spending the rest of the month).  

As attached as I am to my beloved co-op campaign, I have to say I am extremely disappointed in the PVP. For a title that is entirely about competitive multiplayer, I was quite surprised to find that I hated playing against others. I am no stranger to this type of game. I like competitive shooters and I play MOBAs regularly. Am I the best at these? Honestly, no. But the struggle should never be as real as it was for me in the few matches I played. I felt like I was walking into a giant meat grinder where it was impossible to kill a single enemy player. While many people play the infuriating “weave and repeatedly jump” game that competitive shooters have become, there are deeper problems that just made me quit. In general, large characters with large pools of hit points tend to have reduced damage to compensate for their ability to survive. In Battleborn, they mow down any other class leaving no hope of escape. Granted, I did not sample a huge number of characters and I tend to play squishier classes, but I did notice that very few had any viable ability with which to disengage or run away from a bad engagement. It’s so disappointing that such a great cast (including a robot gentleman sniper, a spell-slinging wizard with four arms and mushroom man that heals) is spoiled by unbalanced heroes.

8

The Verdict

My biggest complaint is that the characters work so well together and the story mode is so enjoyable that the competitive maps don’t appeal to me the way that current competitors in the genre do. The jarring multiplayer just feels wrong next to the seamless cooperative play. Still, Battleborn is worth the money it costs. I know that I will keep playing it because it offers me more than a simple match. I will even buy the DLC if they expand the campaign. I definitely recommend this title because it it sets itself apart from what I already have in my collection.

Katlyn Manka

Katlyn Manka has loved video games since her first encounters with platformers on the Nintendo Entertainment System and original PlayStation console as a child. She is currently a senior Liberal Arts major with a focus in English/Communications at Marymount University. In her spare time outside of academics and gaming on her laptop, Katlyn enjoys hanging out with friends and playing tabletop role-playing games.

Latest from Katlyn Manka

Related items

  • Blood Bowl 2 Set for September Release

    Blood Bowl 2, the sequel to the video game adaptation of Games Workshop's classic tabletop game combining American football with the Warhammer fantasy world, will expand in September with Blood Bowl 2: Legendary Edition. Screenshots of the new races and the new stadium coming with the Legendary Edition came with the news that pre-orders are available starting today.

  • inVokeR Early Access Review

    inVokeR is, by far, the best spell-casting virtual reality experience that I’ve played, thanks in large part to its immersive controls and exciting combat. If more modes and features get added past those initially available, inVokeR would have no problem becoming the must-have VR experience for those wishing to duel in the world of wizards.

  • Agents of Mayhem introduces The Firing Squad

    It’s Mayhem Monday, Agents! When LEGION's most sinister troops are wreaking havoc and MAYHEM needs to get the job done, Persephone calls on The Firing Squad.

More in this category: DOOM Review »

Latest Shows

MyWorld Early Ac…

MyWorld – THE Action RPG Maker! Unleash your imagination with MyWorld and create, share and play amazing 3D adventures with our growing community. Claim glory and treasure as you c...

Dawn of Andromed…

Dawn of Andromeda is a pausable, real-time 4X space strategy game providing an accessible, fun and immersive experience, introducing fresh ideas to the genre. Build your empire, co...

Out Soon

PC Gaming Incoming

Fortnite

Fortnite is described as a co-op sandbox survival game and is about exploration, scavenging items, c...

Neverwinter: Tom…

Neverwinter’s Harpers seek to end the wickedness of a new death curse on the jungle peninsula of Chu...

The Inner World …

The flute nose dynasty has been watching over Asposia for centuries on end. In secret, they fill the...

Pyre

A New World From the Creators of Bastion and Transistor, Pyre is a party-based RPG in which you lead...

Dead Purge: Outb…

Dead Purge: Outbreak is not fun or innovative, borrowing too heavily from many superior titles. Ultimately, the title is a zombie itself: slow-moving, mindless, collapsing readily ...

inVokeR Early Ac…

inVokeR is, by far, the best spell-casting virtual reality experience that I’ve played, thanks in large part to its immersive controls and exciting combat. If more modes and featur...

The Walking Dead…

The Walking Dead: A New Frontier – Episode 5 is a gripping, emotional ending to this chapter in the series, but it's also one that doesn't quite hit the mark as well as the prior s...

Late Shift Revie…

Late Shift is interactive storytelling at its finest, a Full-Motion Video (FMV) title where Choices Matter. This gripping "crime thriller" puts players in the hot seat, allowing th...