wed 23/10/2019

Battleborn | reviews, news & interviews



Chaotic, cartoony, co-operative carnage

Battleborn: Messy at times, but there's fun to be had

If a good game is measured by the sum of its parts, then Battleborn is a cacophonous cocktail overflowing with noisy, distracting ingredients, fighting for your attention and clouding the overall flavour. Like a big night out, this fast-paced blaster has a tendency to be a bit messy, but good fun at the same time.

We’re in the cartoon-like, frenetic first-person shooter world where you get to unlock a 25-character roster, running and gunning your way through colourful sci-fi fantasy levels on a quest to save the last star in the universe. Every character has their own personality and comes equipped with unique weapons and powers. You can customise and develop each one through playing either single-story episodes or competitive multiplayer matches.

Battleborn, while possible to be played alone, is all about co-operative gameplay and multiplayer battles where up to 10 wannabe gunslingers can play simultaneously. The game is developed by the team behind Borderlands, so the multiplayer angle is slick, robust and the main hook for shooter fans.

The characters are the stars of the show. From upper-class, crack-shot robots with a snobby attitude, to power-crazed penguins piloting giant mech robots or assault rifle-wielding space marines and stick-thin samurai-sword masters, they each bring an individual gameplay style and are remarkably different, which aids longevity, as characters are unlocked as the game progresses.

BattlebornThere also an iOS companion title that acts as a standalone game. Battleborn Tap does precisely what it says on the screen: it’s a ‘clicker’ game that requires little more than tapping the screen. You can even set the game down and it will calculate how many coins you’ve earned while away – and it can unlock main Battleborn content, including new characters and gear.

And now for some less positive news. The prologue intro, complete with its own snazzy theme tune and slick visuals sells an eye-candy promise that doesn’t deliver in-game, where rather basic cell-shaded animation is the order of the day. The poor enemy AI leans towards gameplay drudgery, and the bullet sponge end-of-level bosses lack any wow factor. The missions are linear and the gameplay never lends itself to mammoth sessions. Sometimes Battleborn plays like a straight-up shooter, but the character classes and customisation can give it more of an action-RPG feel, which jars against the cartoon-style presentation.

The game throws so many ideas into the mix you get the impression it doesn’t really know what it is. The small number of multiplayer maps with dangling carrot promises of free downloadable content on the horizon hints at a rush-to-market game that could have spent a little longer in the lab.  

There’s still plenty of fun to be had – but this is a product that, out of the box, isn’t as good as it could have been. And with a raft of big games looming on the horizon, Battleborn is in acute danger of being overshadowed and labeled as an also-ran.

The poor enemy AI leans towards gameplay drudgery and the bullet sponge end-of-level bosses lack any wow factor


Editor Rating: 
Average: 3 (1 vote)

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