Gearbox Software already won over my heart with its many renditions of the highly acclaimed series, Borderlands.
The FPS giants now have a new and fresh game in the works that seeks to blur the lines between FPS and MOBA games in its new title, Battleborn.
Aside from watching one of the basic introductory trailers that gave a cinematic take introduction to some of the characters, I had absolutely no knowledge of what the game was about before jumping in and joining the beta. Aside from a surprise, either good or bad, here is what I learned from my continued Beta Bonanza!
Note: Please keep in mind this game is simply in beta and this is not intended as a review of a finished product. Features and gameplay may change in development. The purpose of this article is simply to share my thoughts and experiences. Thank you for reading!
One look at the opening title sequence and I found myself reminded of several other games including Gearbox’s other heavy hitter Borderlands. The cell shading helped link the cosmetics between the games but there was something more. The volume of characters felt very similar to other MOBA titles like League of Legends or Smite, yet they all seemed unique. The FPS aspect brought up memories of Team Fortress 2.
For fans of any of the aforementioned games, Battleborn aims to please.
Upon initial load, I jumped directly into versus competitive multiplayer. This proved to be a mistake as it was far more distracting and confusing than I had initially anticipated. I chose the steampunk-inspired robot butler “Marquis”, adjusted my sensitivity, and ran headfirst into utter confusion and failure displayed in my video below.
The controls at first felt somewhat stiff compared to other games. I didn’t really know what I was doing, to be honest, and I kind of just spammed abilities and stayed back and sniped. The cell shading makes the environments and characters really pop and the game looked absolutely gorgeous and alive.
The characters all have unique abilities and are limited to 4 skills with the option to choose passive perks to enhance the utility of these abilities upon leveling up within the match. You can level up from a variety of sources including killing NPCs, players, or by using crystals found on the map to improve and upgrade defenses. The objective in the initial playlist I played was to slowly push back the enemy team and wipe out their gigantic sentry robots. This task is the epitome of “easier said than done”. Out of the hours of matches I played, victory or defeat typically came down to who had done the most damage to the other team’s’ defenses rather than a complete wipe of the gargantuan spider-like sentries.
To add further insight, I am not a big MOBA guy. The pacing of such games feels a little too slow and the damage in many cases seems too low to me. I was expecting to hate these mechanics in the game, but put in an FPS setting with some memorable characters, I actually found myself enjoying the pace of the game and slowly leveling up. It takes the snarkiness and humorous nature of Borderlands and puts it in an environment that really feels unique and intuitive. The characters often talk trash or yell insults while you take out enemies and the character-specific taunts caught me off guard and made me laugh pretty hard.
Playable in this beta, a story mode was also present in which you can choose to play locally or via a matchmade group. The game then loads two options to vote with a third option to simply pick random. From there, a loose story is formulated and the game pretty much more or less throws you into these instances to learn the ropes. I felt the story missions were pretty bland but on the positive side, it did give you a less demanding environment to learn the basics which I used in full to hone some of the controls and learn more about the characters individual play styles/abilities.
Completion provides you with experience and unlocks packs with rewards of gear to further boost your performance, but the gear and loadouts (pre-selected gear options) don’t feel like a necessity or extremely overpowered. You also get titles for various achievements, the first of which I received was “hobo” with a small icon that displays next to your name in the lobby.
Overall, I had a lot of fun playing the game and ran into no real issues or major bugs other than some occasional disconnects from the lobby when going through the menu.
The game felt really polished for a beta and already has a very strong basis in the sense that the visuals combined with the individuality of the characters creates a fun and inviting atmosphere. I legitimately wanted to keep playing and I am excited to see what the full game plays like once it is released.
For more on Battleborn, feel free to play the beta this weekend or look for the release next May!
One more video of me sucking in multiplayer:
Featured image courtesy of battleborn.com