A Fair And Well Reasoned Battleborn Review

Ok, so, a quick preface: before this, I had literally never read a Battleborn review.

I very rarely read reviews for any game, movie, etc as I trust my taste and like to form my own opinions, plus I know enough other well informed and fair opinion giving gamers that I usually hear what are essentially reviews from them.

Plus, from the start, I knew that any review may have just been heavily favouring Overwatch after a very basic, brief, non-in depth and potentially biased testing out of the game.

So I was trying to find a post winter update review of Battleborn and the first Google result that came up was this article, which, despite giving it 7 out of 10, goes in depth and actually gives very fair and mostly (MOSTLY) accurate reasoning as to how that score came about.

Enjoy and please let me know what you think, but please do so in a calm, polite, and logical manner.

Lol, ok I guess that preface wasn’t actually so quick.

WARNING: IF YOU OPEN THIS IN A NON SECURE BROWSER (I recommend Chrone) IT WILL SPAM A FEW ADS.

I will try to copy & paste the article text here.

ARTICLE TEXT FOLLOWS:

Gearbox has a genius for hybridizing genres. Take Borderlands: it might have been the cel-shaded madness and left-field humour that first hooked you, but the clever mash-up of FPS and Diablo-style dungeon crawler elements was what kept you coming back for months on end. Battleborn, then, might not be quite as crazy as it sounds. Part team-based shooter, part co-op blaster, part MOBA. It takes a mix and match approach to genres then splashes on a Borderlands aesthetic with gags to match. What’s not to love?

Well, a few things, actually, but we’ll discuss those later. Let’s start with what Battleborn gets right. For one thing, the basic mix works better than you might expect. The game takes its core combat mechanics from FPS’, as you race around the map blasting enemies, or using melee attacks if your chosen character is so inclined. Almost everything else comes from the MOBA side, including a choice of a big selection of varied playable characters, special attacks/capabilities with cooldown timers and the way that you level up during each map or mission, picking upgrades every time.

Whereas a superficially similar game like Borderlands or Destiny is all about the long game, your character slowly accumulating power through new levels, skills and loot as you progress, Battleborn is much more about the short game. You start each match or mission fairly weak, but half an hour later you could be a titan; strong, damage-resistant and wielding attacks of devastating power. Supercharged shots, juggernaut charges, brutal aerial attacks and windmill slashes all come into the picture in moves that are as spectacular as they’re satisfying to pull off.

To make things more confusing, Battleborn is really two games in one. In story mode it’s a slightly more conventional shooter, pitting one to five players against hordes of enemies on a long and complex map, with clear objectives to complete, obstacles to push through and vast, murderous bosses to overcome. Each of the eight missions (plus prologue) works much like a half-hour-long Destiny strike.

In multiplayer mode, however, it’s closer to a MOBA, particularly in the Incursion matches which import the whole MOBA structure, down to minions, defensive turrets and enemy towers (here mobile sentries) pretty much wholesale. Fans of League of Legends and DOTA2 will probably have an easier time of it than fans of Destiny, Battlefield or CoD. You might not need to be MOBA-crazy to get Battleborn, but familiarity will definitely help.

The MOBA influence is also clear in the character roster. If you were unkind you might say that it goes bigger on quantity than quality, variety or innovation. Several characters are, shall we say, heavily reminiscent of characters in other games, while a handful feel generic. There are gems here, all the same, with the gentleman robot assassin Marquis, or the bizarre waif/monster duo, Shayne and Aurox, proving that Gearbox hasn’t lost its touch for unique protagonists.

You won’t meet them all at first. Instead, you begin with a handful of heroes and unlock more through completing story missions, winning multiplayer matches with a specific character type or completing certain objectives. With 25 to collect it’ll be some time before you play them all, let alone master them.

You won’t meet them all at first. Instead, you begin with a handful of heroes and unlock more through completing story missions, winning multiplayer matches with a specific character type or completing certain objectives. With 25 to collect it’ll be some time before you play them all, let alone master them.

On first acquaintance, it can be hard to differentiate one big, heavily-armed tank from another. The same goes for long-range damage dealers and melee brawlers too. Yet the complexities start creeping in as you level up, finding new or upgraded capabilities that make, say, the twin-bladed duellist Rath a real stormer for boss battles or crowd control, or ISIC – a malevolent AI in a battle-droid’s body – a great option in defence scenarios. Tempting as it is to play the field with the characters early on, it’s actually smarter to take the time to learn a few, just because that way you’ll learn to understand their capabilities and figure out which upgrade choices will eventually form a stronger build.

The curious thing is how well the mix can work. The core combat mechanics are smooth and the MOBO additions make for some satisfying smackdowns. Moment to moment, Battleborn can be a lot of fun.

In Story mode that’s not always apparent. Battleborn can be a little dull – even tiresome – as a solo experience, as you stroll through plain landscapes and do your best to whack bullet-sponge bosses. Add other players, though, and it’s transformed, ranging from good all the way up to awesome. The enemy AI isn’t smart, but your foes are numerous, and there’s a real thrill in smashing through their ranks or taking out hard targets with a mixture of sharp-shooting and showboating special moves. Building turrets, traps and drones is also a winner, adding a little tower defence strategy to the mix.

At their worst, the missions can be plodding, as you follow instructions from one area to the next, battling enemies in one, triggering something in the next then settling down to defend the thing you’ve just activated from waves of enemy attacks. At their best, though, the missions are smart and engaging, throwing you through weird alien scenery and up against new and complex enemies that force you to work smarter with your team-mates to survive. One mission throws in the kind of death traps more usually seen in platform games.

Another has you escorting little robot minions as they try to harvest and upload an ancient archive’s knowledge. Working through one of these missions with a great team where you’re challenged but come out triumphant is a massive rush. Ditto taking down a massive bruiser of a boss with your party on its last legs. This is a big part of what makes Destiny or The Division so enjoyable. It isn’t any less effective here.

There’s magic to be found in the multiplayer modes as well. Played with well-matched teams, the MOBA-like Incursion mode can be a rollercoaster of small victories, defeats and reversals, with highs, lows and an unpredictable conclusion. The more conventional, control-point Capture mode isn’t quite so brilliant, but the Meltdown mode, where you shepherd minions to be sacrificed to a crazed AI, is surprisingly strong. The constant switching between defending your minions and attacking the other team’s makes for some brilliant confrontations, particularly once you get to grips with each hero’s powers.

Yet what really makes Battleborn tick is its anarchic style and humour. It’s a fun game that doesn’t take itself too seriously and never hesitates to go for a cheap gag. The dialogue, both from the playable characters and a cast of cackling villains and deluded sentry robots, can be laugh-out-loud funny, transforming what might be a generic scrap into something more memorable. Combine it with a visual style that’s not a million miles away from a next-gen Borderlands, and you have a game that’s far from being another drab shooter. In a world of generic me-too shooters, Battleborn has personality to spare.

And while it takes a risk with its MOBA-style progression, that risk just about pays off. The danger is that the focus on the short-term, in-match levelling might make for a game with fewer long-term hooks, but by giving you more characters and throwing in loot boxes with persistent buff items – three of which can be carried into any mission or match – Battleborn gives players reason to keep coming back for more. What’s more, sticking with a certain character will see them go up in rank, with benefits that – unlike the levels – don’t reset from match to match. Most, like the skins and taunts, are just cosmetic, but mutations add new options to the upgrade tree that open up new enhancements to your abilities, and so new builds.

I like Battleborn. Sometimes I love it. All the same, it’s not quite where it could be right now. Both the single-player and multiplayer sides have issues that need addressing, and that make what could be a great game a little too open to attack.

Across both modes, it’s hard to upgrade in the heat of battle. Gearbox has done what it can with a quick system of D-Pad presses and triggers to select between paths, but too often you’ll make a fast choice rather than a good one. I suspect the most successful players will be those who optimise and memorise their builds.

I like Battleborn. Sometimes I love it. All the same, it’s not quite where it could be right now. Both the single-player and multiplayer sides have issues that need addressing, and that make what could be a great game a little too open to attack.

Across both modes, it’s hard to upgrade in the heat of battle. Gearbox has done what it can with a quick system of D-Pad presses and triggers to select between paths, but too often you’ll make a fast choice rather than a good one. I suspect the most successful players will be those who optimise and memorise their builds.

On the multiplayer side the biggest problems are balance and that it’s all a bit chaotic. I’m sure opinions will differ, but some heroes – Montana, Ambra, Caldarius – seem a lot more useful than others, particularly early on in the game. Combine them with a healing character, like the toadstool-headed Miko, and they’re very, very difficult to defeat. And with simpler maps and without the top-down view of a conventional MOBA, matches often seem to turn into messy chokepoint brawls, as basically everyone collides in one or two central areas. Sometimes, frankly, it’s impossible to tell what the hell is going on.

Inexperience isn’t helping, either. At the moment, too few players seem aware of their character’s abilities and how to use them, or focus too much on killing the enemy and too little on the actual objectives. Play Battleborn like Call of Duty and you don’t just waste your time, but the time of everyone else on your team. As for the gits who join a game then disconnect midway through or before it’s even started…… well, let’s just say that Gearbox needs to find a juicier carrot to keep them playing or a bigger stick to beat them with.

On the single-player side the issue is content. There are currently just eight missions and only four to six of them are all that great. To add longevity, Gearbox makes each one playable on two difficulty settings and in both regular and hardcore modes. What does hardcore mean, you might ask? Well, Battleborn doesn’t feature infinite respawns. You have a set number across the team with extra lives to be grabbed now and then. Die when the counter hits zero and you’re out. Everyone dead? It’s ‘Mission Failed’ time. You’re back to square one, no checkpoint and no retry. Hardcore mode means no respawns whatsoever. You have been warned.

I don’t have a problem with Hardcore mode or even with the lives idea as such, but after a while the whole ‘Mission Failed’ thing feels less like a challenge and more a waste of energy and time. You see, you can fail a mission not just by dying but by failing to protect a specific contraption or escortee. When this happens right at the end of the mission because the designers have decided to swamp you with a last-minute wave of heavy damage-dealing enemies, well, it gets tired after the first three or four attempts. I’m sure this will change with more experience, smarter strategies and the right team, but there’s at least one mission that I can’t face replaying any more, because it always falls apart in the last fight.

These issues are reflected in the final score, but the important thing is that they’re things that can be fixed. Some changes here, some rebalancing there, a few more maps and missions and Battleborn could easily go up a notch or two. Much also rests on Gearbox’s ongoing support. We know there’s more coming in a season’s worth of add-on packs, but a few more goodies for those who’ve already stumped up the initial £40 wouldn’t go amiss.

These issues are reflected in the final score, but the important thing is that they’re things that can be fixed. Some changes here, some rebalancing there, a few more maps and missions and Battleborn could easily go up a notch or two. Much also rests on Gearbox’s ongoing support. We know there’s more coming in a season’s worth of add-on packs, but a few more goodies for those who’ve already stumped up the initial £40 wouldn’t go amiss.

Gearbox’s ingenious hybrid has its problems, not the least that we’re all still wrestling with what it actually is. There’s not enough story mode content, the PVE missions vary in quality and the multiplayer modes can be a mess. Yet these are problems that Gearbox and the player community can fix. Battleborn has flaws but it also has potential. With time and the right attitude, it could be brilliant, but it’s going to take a little work first.
Pros
Ingenious mix of genres
Big cast of playable characters
Some fantastic, imaginative mission design
Anarchic style and humour
Cons
Multiplayer matches feel messy
Not enough great story mode content

Read more at http://trustedreviews.com/battleborn-review#hWr1pKksRlsEAVh0.99

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Dang that site is intrusive and annoying, hit me with 13 ads and busy reading all of my cookies.

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It’s alright.

Funny part is if you read that and then look at the changes Gearbox made the game probably drops to a 6.

While they made PvE better with their new missions. They are heavily working on destroying PvP.

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Oh crap, my bad.

I forgot about that.

I had to end up opening it on my mobile Chrome Browser, which shuts down any pop ups etc and is also the only mobile browser I can navigate these forums on.

I’ll copy / paste the article text.

@wisecarver

@hexhammer

May I politely inquire how so?

Ok, yes, new Meltdown sucks but I still play it a lot. IT IS shorter and the finale generally becomes a “victory parade” (can’t take credit for that brilliant description, someone said it on mic recently), but it’s still fun and challenging against another skilled team. FaceOff is fun (if sometimes TDM heavy) and the reworked Capture is a lot more fun.

Big Head Mode was quirky, silly fun, and eonderful.

They are reworking the Draft Mode pick system.

On PS4, at least, Quick Match wait times are USUALLY super fast, a ton of good and skilled players have come back, and we VERY rarely encounter the same people multiple times.

Any thoughts?

@epicender584 @handsomecam @SirWalrusCrow @beatrix @ancientbelgareth

They are?

It seems fairish. Kinda meh on reviews of this game. It’s incredibly rare for reviewers to put in a lot of time, and this game requires investment

@epicender584

Are they not?

May actually be a rumour.

@Jythri I"m tagging you on this post because I keep posting this idea and I think you guys really need to consider it.

Mission failure is my biggest pet peave. And I definitely take issue with some of the story missions being so easily fail-able. The experiment is one of my least favorite maps because of that. Who thought it would be a good idea to give it one health bar and no way to regen it’s health throughout the entire mission?

However, mission failure would be more tolerable in my opinion, if we could get sent back to a checkpoint before failure (player call it a “wipe” in Destiny). If such a thing was in place I’d gladly play any mission and jump in any story MM Q.

Also, we need temporary bots to fill missing player slots in PvP and the ability to join matches in progress. See, Rocket League’s multiplayer. If a player leaves a team, replace him with a bot that’s using what that guy was using. If a player joins a match in progress, give them some levels and shards to match average levels and shards earned of players still in game, round down most likely to avoid some sort of gaming of that.

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Or just build the turrets before the waves and you will never fail? I think there is really no problem with the missions here. Once a wise man said - learn from your failures.

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The last time I attempted Heliophage Advanced was teamed with a friend and 3 randoms. We made it all the way to the the first Rendain encounter having lost no lives only to get absolutely crushed on the 3rd boss spawn due to 1-shots from Thralls and swarm/knockback tactics that comes from every direction. 45 minutes of campaign and we lost right before the final Rendain fight.

I don’t agree with the idea that the campaign needs to be easier to complete or failure should not be an option. Playing a game is just masturbatory if victory is guaranteed. There should be a very real element of danger and threat else why bother.

That being said, I understand the sentiment even if I don’t agree with it. 45 wasted minutes.

I’ve stated before in other threads that I used to agree with this wholeheartedly. Then came Bots Battle, and the first time I faced one of the BattleBorn Bots first hand.

So, as in other threads, I repeat. I’d rather be down a player than have to deal with the no gear using, bad helix choosing autistic shard gatherer that is the majority of the bots.

As for the ability to join in on games already in session, it would be a huge disadvantage to anyone jumping in after the first few minutes. They’d be down shards/ gear and levels and not by a small amount. I just don’t see how that would be a fix to uneven matches by forcing someone to fill a spot purposely at a disadvantage.

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I think the failure state Matrixneo was referring to was defense points getting destroyed, not running out of lives.

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Idk, I could very well be out of the loop. Haven’t been on the Discord lately

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I used my Heliophage debacle because it was the most extreme example of loss I’d personally had.

I have the same feelings regarding mission failure by running out of lives or by quest failure.

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Stopped reading once he mentioned the game had generic characters, Honestly this game has a good roster. To me I give them big props on not over sexualizing the females of the game, like OW did. Even the most generic character Oscar Mike is poking fun at himself and has way more character depth than most characters i find in other games similar to this one.

I do admit the spam of constant one shots makes missions really unfair at times.

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@Accursius13

Yes, that was the main part of the article I did not agree with at all!

To be fair, I see many, many old men in floating chairs and mohawked protagonists in other games. Also, cmon, I see mushroom ninjas in nearly every other game these days. Don’t be so unrealistic, Battleborn has no unique characters

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I feel kind of stupid for posting the review now.

I was having a pretty intense bout of insomnia brain was in a weird place.

I’m not saying they aren’t taking old things or are super original Characters, the thing that gets to me is they have done their own take on those tropes quite well. They complain about this in almost every review yet look at those same peoples Review on OW and man they over praise their characters when they are more obvious ripoffs of everything that’s out there.

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Oh I agree with you. I was kidding. I don’t actually see all too many games with floating old men and ninja mushrooms

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