The lack of variety in campaign

After sinking a good amount of time in the PvE segment of Battleborn, in overall the content is neither terrible nor great, for me, it’s simply just alright for the most part. As a gamer, I’ve always loved playing campaigns or story mode, having done so ever since the first Borderlands to the Pre-Sequel. Think of the following as a side-review of sorts. I’ll talking about each campaign in order. Just be warned this will be quite a long read.

The Prologue
THIS! Is how you kick off an introduction to the game and it’s setting. The tone of the animation speaks of the dark yet wacky Saturday cartoon feel of the world. In this we, playing as Melka, are given a light tutorial and introduced to characters crucial to the storyline. One of the highlights, for me, is the banter between Melka and Deande. Gameplay is simple, a linear wade through enemy minions and a staple end boss, a blade-wielding sentry bot. It is simple yet effective means of getting a grip of the controls and the setting.

The Algorithm
The first mission is a classic raid, similar to the likes of an MMO. It is a battle through scores of minions, 3 mini-bosses, and the obligatory giant end boss with weak points. It has a good pace, and each boss offers a good mixture of different battles. While there’s much amusement to be gotten from Geoff (our first non-Jennerit sentry bot), I find it lacking in the exchange between Isic and Kleese, which is pale in comparison to the prologue. Other than that minor flaw, it is an enjoyable run.

The Void’s Edge
Here we are given an interesting mix between a raid and an escort mission. The mission has 2 bosses spaced between the said escort, which is an ally sentry bot, Wolf. As like the first mission the pacing is good, but it is here where the writing department starts to slip off. Angry words from Rendain, Kleese yelling at Wolf, nothing interesting. The saving grace to this however is the very first engagement against the Varelsi, the variant enemy types they have, and the awesome raid fight against the Conservator which emphasizes on keeping mobile.

The Renegade
Now we are introduced to another game type, a FPS tower defense of sorts. The outcome of this mission hangs on the selection of Battleborn, their loadouts, the towers, and player coordination. The fact that failing a mission means restarting from the very beginning is a cause for frustration for the unprepared. I give praise for the attempt to give a different game mechanic, however execution wise, there’s much to be desired. The concept of FPS Tower defense is not bad itself, just take a look at the indie games Sanctum 1 and 2 and you’ll get a far better example.

And as for the story, it’s just a rescue mission. There’s a great opportunity lost here. Considering Calderius’ gladiatorial background, why not have the mission take place in a giant colosseum. And rather than a jailor, why not have an evil lord of the arenas as the antagonist. Instead of tower defense, we could have a horde mode against different enemies, even against predatory wildlife. In between waves there could be bosses, and a virtual change of environment. If the ancient Romans could stage naval battles, surely it is a feat easily accomplished by an evil space empire. The entire mission could have taken place in the arenas and provide more insight to Calderius the former gladiator and the Empire.

The Archive
The transition from a winter plant to a forest plant is very refreshing and the artwork here is superb. But aside from that however, the events and game play taking place is sadly dull. Here we have another escort mission, where we escort another sentry bot, aptly named Chronicle. The escort here feels like it was just lifted from Void’s Edge and planted to pack in content, not only once but twice. In addition to that, we have a minion escort segment, which seems like a mini-tutorial for the meltdown mode. Compared, again, to Void’s Edge, the end boss in a step down in terms of the battle scenario.

For something that is as gravely important as the Eldrid Codex, the chores in the mission and the writing, makes it feel like there’s no urgency despite the predicament presented. I feel that a giant talking tree would be more entertaining than yet another sentry bot. If they wanted to emulate Meldown further, little codex-transferring wisps need to be guided into the waiting mouth of said talking tree.

The Sentinel
It appears that this is also meant to be a raid mission. But having The Algorithm before, it feels like a downgrade of what could have been a great alternate option for a raid. The Guardian mini-bosses used here are simplified versions of the Galactic Emperor, both having uninteresting combat scenarios and exactly identical. And all the build up to the purported “superweapon”, awards us just an enlarged copy paste of the mini-bosses with a regeneration phase thrown in to make it appear different. This only thing fresh was the environmental traps, but they were still rather underwhelming.

Gosh, it would have been fun if the Sentinel was a being so colossal that the Battleborn have to take a trip into its innards to destroy its core. And obstructing the way to the core could elemental spirits of Eldrid wildlife.

The Experiment
The second tower defense of the campaign, and the story by then just falls flat. Since in the Archive there is an instance where a PvP mechanic is featured, why not have this one have the Capture mode. It could be a tag and pull situation between the Battleborn and Rendain’s forces where Boldur’s experiment needs to be powered by captured points.

The Saboteur
It is simply a harder version of the Renegade. It’s disappointing to find that three of the eight missions are watered-down tower defense. Not much to say here, but they could have taken a page from the Claptastic Voyage dlc in Borderlands the Pre-sequel. What if the only way to sabotage the Tempest is to enter a virtual realm of the mainframe’s demented AI? Or the mission could function like a heist in the Payday games.

The Heliophage
Two-thirds of this mission is taken up by wave elimination pressured on by a countdown. The final segment is a classic showdown against the big bad in the form of a boss rush. Unfortunately half of the thrall and Varelsi bosses are basic and dull. It’s cool to finally fight against Rendain but the battle scenario itself is rather uninspired. While fun in an alternate mode, the boss rush just feels like it is a filler for a lack of variety on Rendain’s part. Despite having experiences from three Borderlands games, the end boss fight, while admittedly adrenaline-pumping, was less than stellar. I personally would have liked to see a battle against just Rendain with a few phases.

As a note to end this, I’d like to throw out a couple of ideas. I frankly wouldn’t mind another take at having a sci-fi and fantasy mash-up like in the vein of Borderlands 2 Tiny Tina’s Assault On Dragon Keep. Perhaps the Varelsi invasion has cause an anomaly on a planet causing it to be ruled by a maniacal sorcerer. I mean how could this wacky game not have space dragons?

Another source of material that I notice that Gearbox has yet to tap into (or make parodies of) is the fiction of HP Lovecraft. Suppose if the mysterious power behind the Varelsi have rivals in the form of ancient entities, and that they’re none too happy that the Varelsi is taking a large pie in the universe ending business. There can be an Incursion style mission where the Battleborn have to shut down a portal disgorging a vanguard of other invading horrors. Surely we can’t go wrong having a gun-toting Cthulhu as a boss.

TL;DR - The campaign could have been better. Too many defense missions.

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Completely agree with you. The first 3 Levels felt unique but then some of the others were just kind of the same. A lot of the reviews of the game I’ve seen have the same issues. I hope the new levels bring more variety and maybe they could add some touches to these levels too.

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I agree, loved the first 3 missions. The others are just not fun for me. I either do them in a group and hope I don’t waste 40 minutes, or solo and plod along on my own.

The waves and defense targets need serious rebalancing in multiplayer, and npc bots would make single player a bunch more fun for me.

I picked this over overwatch for story and campaign.

40 minute insta fail missions just don’t do it for me.

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Great ideas you have going there! Sadly, though, it’s a little too late to save the campaign. Even if they did a BACKFLIP on the pvp style tower defence/escort missions in the dlc and put in some real cut scenes and story it would feel even more disjointed from everything they’ve already put on the table.

Side note, I have no idea why my phone auto types BACKFLIP in capitals :joy:

This is great feedback, hope they listen to this. I don’t play the game for the pve but those first few missions were stellar and I hope the next five are as good!

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[quote=“Abradax, post:3, topic:1421349, full:true”]
I agree, loved the first 3 missions. The others are just not fun for me. I either do them in a group and hope I don’t waste 40 minutes, or solo and plod along on my own.

The waves and defense targets need serious rebalancing in multiplayer, and npc bots would make single player a bunch more fun for me.

I picked this over overwatch for story and campaign.

40 minute insta fail missions just don’t do it for me.[/quote]
Same.

The only edge Battleborn had over Overwatch was the potential Gearbox style campaign. I was expecting a Borderland-grade campaign with this game. What we got was afterthought defense missions…

I bought Battleborn and the season pass for the main focus on the campaign. I did try some of the PvP modes and they were…eh. I then decided to try the Overwatch beta this weekend and the hour I played was so far beyond the PvP gameplay of Battleborn.

They could still possibly save the campaign with DLC missions, but it looks like they bet everything on their MOBA style PvP modes. That’s not enough to win against Overwatch; they needed that campaign.

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I still think they could fix these current story missions and give them some flair. I like the dialogue with some of the characters in the missions though. I still like it more than Overwatch though. 3 Great story missions and some mediocre ones I’ll still take over just a PVP game.

Just some thoughts to add more variety:

The Renegade: Spawn locations for the first and last defense locations needs to be randomized. Also either increase the number of spawn beacons at the last defense location or outright do away with them with enemy units spawning in directly. Final boss needs more health and have more enemy units spawning in at all times (instead of when he escapes outside)

The Archive: For the sentry escort, instead of enemies spawning at specific locations at checkpoints, have enemies spawn at locations at intervals instead, sort of like a mobile version of a wave defense. Increase the density of spawns against the minion escort significantly. The boss should have a interim phase similar to Void’s Edge, which one can possibly differentiate by making it a wave defense with no setup time.

The Sentinel: Boss and minibosses needs to be faster and with more varied attacks. And a stun or similar to knock Isic out of his cheese-mode. The Sentinel could have an interim phase to showcase why he’s a weapon of mass destruction, by bombarding the whole area with attacks which players needs to avoid, or take heavy damage/die, sort of like the traps which the players have been avoiding in the previous parts of the stage. Spawn rate in general outside of the initial segment also needs to be increased, and more guardian-related units (and variety of such) as well.

The Experiment: Waves needs to have attacks coming from all sides, not just one, at least for the final two waves. The boss needs a complete revamp; Add a LOT more health, an actual defense mechanic like the other two varelsi bosses, perhaps also add an interim attack phase.

The Saboteur: Possibly have an actual escape segment with the whole place collapsing.

The Heliophage: Increase spawn rate during wave elimination, especially in smaller groups. Possibly have an actual proper attack segment to destroy some spider tanks (like maybe some Huntsman 2.0), along with a LOT more turrets and traps; It’s odd that Rendain didn’t put up more defenses considering he should have seen this coming.

Core defense missions overall: Perhaps have some way to repair/buff the core temporarily, similar to the Wolf escort mission.

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What disappoints me is the difficulty of boss fights. Most time it’s harder to get to the bosses than fighting against them. I got the feeling that most of the time a healer is not necessary. I never played heliophage, so i can’t say anything to this mission, but the rest seems pretty easy.

i played overwatch as well and came to the same conclusion. but i also realized that PvP is all overwatch has and im not really interested in just that. its all 6v6 competitive shooter. thats fine if your into that but it just wasnt enough for me. also no character progression system and weak unlocks are huge deterrents for me. that game is all based on gameplay, which they nailed by the way. however, i found battleborn heroes to be much more badass and engaging. ive already found several battleborn heroes i enjoy playing. its just a different style game. even though the campaign is somewhat bland here that is probably where ill be spending most of my time regardless.

There’s some good ideas to spice up the existing missions and I do think they would make an improvement. The elementals in the Sentinel mission didn’t really feel different to fight.

I hope we see more variety in the missions after release. I’d personally like to see a proper horde mode with more varied upgrades and deployables like different kinds of spider bot and drones, barricades and so on. Perhaps I’ve played too much Orcs Must Die recently? :stuck_out_tongue:

Perhaps an assassination mission where your team drop in to take down one of Rendain’s henchmen which would encourage to pick their fights carefully to eliminate patrols and avoid larger conflicts, a bit like a “soft” stealth misssion. Tough team compositions could bulldoze their way to the target, more nimble teams could bypass larger battles and instead gain their experience by sabotaging enemy installations?

We could have intel gathering missions or even just do a Serious Sam segment that throws hundreds of minions at you (rather than a defend objective) for the sake of it.

I think I’ll still be playing the missions were have for quite a while, but I do wish we’d had less “defend the mcguffin” objectives and a few more unique looking bosses.

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Yeah I bought the Season Pass & this game too over Overwatch! I thought the Campaign was going to steal the show like Borderlands has! The Story Missions are great but lack the replayabilty the Borderlands Campaigns had. Theres no incentive for replaying the BattleBorn missions. Sigh…Guess it’s going to be a looooong wait for Borderlands 3. SLowly leaning towards Overwatch now. Buying it this Friday actually.

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