Battleborn Review (Xbox One)

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After the success of the Borderlands games, Gearbox Software have been going from strength to strength. Their latest release Battleborn combines FPS, MOBA and RPG mechanics to create a game that is definitely interesting in a lot of ways.

For starters, it looks a lot similar to Borderlands with its cell shaded graphics and the FPS mechanics seems to be quite similar too. I guess Gearbox Software wanted to stick to a winning formula.

The game can feel quite complex and overwhelming when you actually jump in the story mode. There are 25 whopping heroes in the game with their own skills and ability and each one of them look quite unique. You have to unlock them though and you can do that by just playing the game.

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The story involves stopping a bad guy called Lother Rendain from destroying the last star. There are 8 story missions including a tutorial one and the latter teaches you some basics about the game.

If you’ve played Borderlands then this should be very familiar, at least the visual style. After starting the tutorial mission, a brief cutscene plays showing some heroes taking on some of the enemies including a spider tank, and after the cutscene you are given control of a hero called Mellka has a gun that shoots a projectile while reloading.

The story missions resemble Destiny strikes a lot. If you haven’t played Destiny, strikes are basically big missions with multiple objectives and a boss at the end. The missions in Battleborn are a lot more fun as they combine Gearbox’s classic humour and clever one liners along with some interesting gameplay.

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The gameplay mechanics aren’t that complex. Heroes have a few powers at their disposal which can need to be recharged after using so basically you can just spam left and right shoulder buttons when they are ready. The campaign feels quite repetitive and filled with bullet sponge enemies. It can get really tiresome sometimes and that’s why I prefer playing it in co-op.

Heroes have different powers at their disposal and they can be improved by just playing the game. By pressing the up button on the d-pad brings up a menu which gives you a choice between two abilities and you can unlock most of them quickly.

There are two types of ranks: Command rank and character rank. Just playing the game normally will level up these ranks. Command Rank will unlock new characters and there are also specific requirements to unlock some characters. Playing with a certain character will increase the character rank and unlock new abilities. It can all get a bit overwhelming but after spending some time with game it should be easier to understand.

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There are also currencies like shards which can be obtained by just playing the game. They are required to purchase stuff in-missions or activate items from loot packs. There’s no microtransactions in the game thankfully.

The game looks gorgeous and holds a stable framerate even in multiplayer where things can get a bit chaotic. Sometimes it feels like there are way too many things on your screen to overload your senses making it difficult to spot certain enemies. It feels confusing early on but gets better as you keep playing.

I encountered a bit of lag in PvP and while it was not game breaking it was pretty annoying from time to time. The incursion mode is pretty fun can is quite lengthy. There’s a 30 minute timer for this mode. The goal is to destroy two large sentries with enormous health in the enemy bases. It will not be easy and requires a lot of teamwork but this is a really fun mode.

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There’s a Meltdown mode in which you have to escort your team’s minions to minion grinders. You need to reach 500 points or be ahead when the timer ends to win the game.

The capture mode which is self-explanatory. There is a 15 minute timer in which your team needs to get the maximum amounts of points to win. To get points your team has to hold areas marked A, B and C. The more areas or energy collectors held by team the more points you get. The goal is to reach 1000 points.

The three multiplayer modes is on the lesser side and the campaign which can be played in co-op or split screen is fun but quite repetitive and get boring. The game has 25 heroes which is the main draw here and keeps the game fresh as each of the heroes have different abilities and playstyles. Rath one of my favourite characters. It’s just fun to slash things with two swords in first-person view.

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Battleborn is a fun game, although can get quite complicated and chaotic at times. The singleplayer mode prepares you for the multiplayer mode and the latter is the best way accurately experience the 25 characters in all their glory.

While the netcode is a bit iffy and there can be lag while playing PvP modes, it can be incredibly fun when it actually works. The game has a big learning curve but having patience will be rewarded.

Score

8/10