As someone who doesn't typically enjoy first-person shooters, it's odd that I'm a huge fan of Borderlands. The same developers have now created a multiplayer-focused experience known as Battleborn and I couldn't resist checking it out.
Playing Battleborn is quite a rush. It begins with a lengthy tutorial level that introduces you to some of the characters and teaches you the controls. After that, it's time to play online either cooperatively or competitively. You control your character of choice as expected for a first-person shooter with the exception that you have some cool abilities to thwart your enemies with. Doing so is simple enough that you don't have to try and remember the controls. Two shoulder buttons are used for different attacks while the others unleash skills. You can also use the digital pad to bring up useful menus such as a map, upgrade screen, or gear information. Tapping other buttons allows you to taunt, reload, interact with objects, strike with a quick melee attack, jump, and even perform an Ultimate Skill that'll devastate enemy forces. As you can tell, a lot of the controls are optional but thankfully the necessary commands are intuitive and easy to learn. Trust me; you won't have time to tinker around much when you're in the middle of the incredibly chaotic battles.
What Battleborn does best is boast a massive collection of colourful characters. Each one has their own set of weapons, skills, and attributes so taking a few hours to experiment can be a lot of fun. Seeing as they can use swords, shoot magic out of their hands, fire arrows, or blast away with a variety of guns, finding a character that fits your play-style probably won't take too long. That being said, you may eventually unlock one that you'll fall in love with and leave your previous favourite chum for.
Along with a fantastic cast of characters comes an impressive visual style. Everything is colourful and appears as if it's a 3D comic book. It really is a gorgeous game. Stages feel alive with massive moving parts, animated backgrounds, and formidable enemies. Environments include snowy mountains, large sci-fi bases, desert canyons, and huge battle arenas yet the cohesive vibrant atmosphere always remains present. To complete this colourful setting, a consistently wacky sense of humour will surely keep a smile on your face.
Although the gameplay is chaotic in a very fun way, it can be a bit too much at times. Whenever the room fills with enemies and your team tries to clear them out, you'll quickly get confused. A good idea would be to hang around as many of your teammates as possible so that if worse comes to worst, one of them could revive you. Don't get me wrong, the majority of the time that you'll spend playing Battleborn will be full of excitement. It's just moments when the action devolves into a mess that are hard to fully enjoy.
As previously mentioned, you can either cooperate or compete online. The story missions are where cooperation takes place and these are great fun to work through. However, a major issue with them is that the difficulty is all over the place. Some missions can be completed with almost no effort while others (one in particular) require perfect teamwork. Of course, if you're jumping in online with random players, these missions can be infuriatingly difficult. Challenge aside, each mission is distinct enough with humorous narratives and exciting bosses that you'll want to play through them multiple times.
Considering there are only eight story missions and each one takes about half an hour to beat, you're not looking at a very long campaign. Besides that, you can play in three competitive modes that involve claiming territory, strategically taking out walking enemy tanks, and feeding minions to machines. Each mode contains two environments which do great jobs of complementing its gameplay. Out of the three, I found feeding the minions to be most enjoyable due to its uniqueness. The combination of running around the map while setting up turrets, taking out enemies, protecting your minions, and destroying enemy minions is spot-on for multiplayer mayhem.
In the end, I'm enjoying my time with Battleborn. It may not have that much content and it can occasionally feel frustrating, but the amount of fun to be had is definitely worth it if you're in the market for a crazy online multiplayer experience.
- + Chaotic yet easy to learn gameplay is a blast
- + Large and diverse cast of characters with unique weapons and abilities
- + Fantastic visual style and sense of humour
- - Gameplay can be a bit too chaotic at times
- - Story missions are incredibly imbalanced when it comes to difficulty
- - Currently, there just isn't enough content