Published on June 7th, 2016 | by Gary Mullen


Review: Battleborn

Gearbox have brought a new IP to the table in the form of Battleborn. This is a first person shooter which from the outset Gearbox is insisting is not a MOBA (multiplayer online battle arena game). The jury is perhaps still out on that one with many fans arguing it’s more like MOBA than a standard FPS game. Regardless of the category it falls into, this new IP from the creators of Borderlands is making an impression on the market.

Now I am going to ignore the multiplayer aspect first of all and talk mainly about the campaign mode. Why you may ask? Well as Gearbox says it’s not a MOBA and the campaign section is perhaps the most non MOBA aspect. So the campaign comes with two modes online and single player offline, against my better judgement I stuck on the single player mode. The chaos erupted and I quickly found myself on the backfoot. Now I am not a large player of FPS however this was a bit of culture shock as I sort of expect more of a Borderlands feel to this game instead it felt more like Halo’s style of shooting and gameplay with the styles of Borderlands.

You get to select from a series of characters all with their own designed weapons. At the out start not all of the characters are unlocked. The only other aspect you need to worry about is trying to pick a suitable character to suit your gaming needs. Out of the original ones I opted for the more traditional gunner after a few nightmare games with some of the others that simply did not suit my needs. In total there 25 character to pick from. Each characters is vastly different so you should find one that suits your style.

While you level up you get to add packs to your players. These packs can be picked up during the game or using Shift Codes. Yip one aspect of something we love in Borderlands has made it’s way over to Battleborn! The Shift Codes provide chests that provide several of the boost items. These items offer several benefits be it health boosts to faster shooting. Finding the right mix of the packs and type of character will be key to your success if you try and solo this game.

From the packs you have you can select 3 items which you can then add to your active pack. You then need to collect coins during your game in order to activate them to get the boosts. This means you need to think wisely about what boost is the priority when trying to complete the level.

Killing enemies and collecting stuff will give you experience points to level up your player, however this is the first curve ball as there are two levelling systems running side by side. You have the in-game level system where you can pick options off of a levelling tree system in game picking left or right at the end of each level but this system restarts at the end of the game back to zero. The second level system is more of a traditional levelling system that carries over all the games you play. Now this is something new and I do understand the logic when you go into multiplayer it sort of resets the playing field after each game but rewards you during the game for getting kills etc. The only issue is that it’s a bit messy to use, trying to find somewhere to hide while you look at your two options of the level tree in game as there no point not picking one.

Now if your smarter then me you perhaps would not try and solo this game, why on earth would you solo a game that’s clearly designed for multiple players? Yea that was a very stupid move on my part! The game is clearly designed to be played by multiple players and to get the best out of the game I would suggest playing with at least one fellow player. The story game level design itself is fairly straight forward with the enemies on the game coming thick and fast as you move through the level which is basically point a to z style while moving off track to open doors/hatches. With plenty of areas to hide while your shields regenerate. This is not a game to go in all guns blazing but more of a planned mission through the levels is required (which was my second downfall).

On the subject of online gameplay… yip we are now at the tricky subject, sorry Gearbox but the main multiplayer option of the game is MOBA. The game format in it’s simplest format is Team 1 vs Team 2. You build towers to help you defend as you attack the enemies bases. How anyone can say this game is not a MOBA title is beyond comprehension if I am being honest. Does this make the gameplay bad/boring compared to traditional FPS? No! That would just be plain stupid to suggest that. The game is hectic at times with all the towers and enemies running around but I found myself sitting playing the game for hours on end. The thing was until now the only other MOBA I really played was Plants vs Zombies. That leaves me with the only option for a direct comparison to the market game in this genre. The fact is this game screams Borderlands to me, and perhaps is why I enjoyed playing it more then PvZ. The fact remains if I was given a straight choice I would pick up Battleborn every time. The gameplay itself was fairly easy with a standard point and shoot aspect with headshots taking off more health than other parts of the body as you would expect.

When you boil down to it the only thing that annoys me about this game is they did not use the Borderland IP. Surely this market was screaming out for a Borderlands FPS or was that just simply the voices in my head? This felt in many ways a nod to Borderlands but at a distance and you can’t help wonder if they missed a trick on this aspect.

Review: Battleborn Gary Mullen



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About the Author

Gary Mullen is an avid gamer from the days of C64 up to the latest generation of consoles/computers, for him the most important part of a game is the plot and storyline that drag you in and where you can't stop playing the game till the ending however the exception for the rule is his love of tycoon style games where he has spent far too many hours building his perfect theme park/water park/hospital/prison and so on! He has studied and currently works in the IT support industry with a wide range of IT technology exposure.

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