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‘Battleborn’ Impressions – The Unexpected Virtue of Sameness

Looking for a new game to play, I recently had the opportunity to play Gearbox’s latest venture, to offer up my Battleborn impressions. For those that don’t know, Battleborn has been delayed a lot over the past two years. Couple that with the fact that it’s one of a few non-Borderlands properties for Gearbox and one is left scratching their head. How did Battleborn arrive in its current state?

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When the game first loads up, you’re treated to a rather interesting animated sequence. You get to see the vast majority of playable characters and how they fight. From there, a prologue mission unfolds with familiar Borderlands-style tutorials. While this started off fun, I was watching the clock right before the final boss appeared. A single-player mission for a casual player took about 27 minutes. Having involved content is great, but so much of the level felt like mindless running and gunning. Feeling that the multiplayer experience adds to the game, it seemed like it was time to start playing with online friends.

Multiplayer online battle arenas (MOBAs) aren’t my idea of fun. The closest I’ll come is Team Fortress 2. The first Battleborn multiplayer match that loaded led me to getting booted by the other players in seconds, the second match placed me with players that outgunned me by about 10 levels minimum. These guys carried me throughout the Saboteur story map, but my perks at the end of the match weren’t that amazing when compared to what I could do solo. That should be a bonus for players that don’t want to carry the weight of their teams.

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The replay factor on the game quickly goes away after the second playthrough. So many of the levels are a grind that it makes you closely examine the entertainment value associated with the different characters. Most of the special abilities were abstract and the chance to play with the abilities was slim and far between. The only major power set was with Marquis and his ultimate’s reload time takes nearly 90 seconds. You have time in multiplayer to get around that, but single-player missions will see you die before getting off a second shot.

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The grand takeaway from the game is that it tries to stand apart from the other hero shooters dropping between April and June. When the game was initially brought to my attention, I thought it was Overwatch, since Blizzard’s been killing it on the marketing for that game and it doesn’t help that so many aspects of the two games are similar. Hopefully, issues with enemy AI aren’t shared between the games. Mobile pay dumps have enemies that respond better than most of the lower-tier villains in Battleborn. Honestly, we’re about a month away from a Tumblr showing the bestial grunts and the Veil warriors slamming into walls or firing their tendrils in the wrong direction. Have we learned nothing from Aliens: Colonial Marines, Gearbox?

 


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