I’m sure we’ve all heard the press about Battleborn and its failed competition with Overwatch. We’ve all seen the memes floating around. But in reality, it’s all actually pretty unfair on an incredibly solid game.
Released in 2016, Battleborn is a game that’s an interesting combination of MOBA style PVP with an FPS twist that many Borderlands fans will be pretty familiar with. The game features a cast of now 30 characters (five of those being free DLC characters), divided among five factions. All fighting together to save the last star in the universe from an other-worldly threat.
While the concept sounds fairly straightforward, story is actually a large part of Battleborn. The game contains a single player mode detailing their journey to save the last star, Solus, and save the universe. Of course, this isn’t without many hilarious, Gearbox-style humour misadventures along the way. The game is heavily about how the characters interact with each other and its world building, with each character having unlockable lore through challenges that explains where the characters came from, where they are now, and why they’re all the twisted gang of mismatched ‘friends’ known as the Battleborn.
Each character has a different playstyle, but still functions in a way MOBA players will be familiar with. Two skills, one ultimate skill and their basic attack. They’re also divided into support, attackers and defenders. It’s a tried but true recipe that helps make balanced teams for PVP. The PVP mode itself contains the traditional MOBA-style ‘incursion’, requiring players to navigate through a lane to attack the other players ‘sentry’, a giant robot capable of defending itself. Though there’s also a ‘capture the point’ mode, ‘meltdown’ which requires you to guide your robots into a point while stopping the other team from doing the same and finally there’s the ‘faceoff’ mode, a re-purposed capture mode requiring players to kill each other while also killing monsters and collecting their heads.
The variety ensures players never get bored, with the PVP being based on a vote system to allow players to vote for which mode they’d prefer. There’s also regular updates to the PVP mode, featuring all kinds of different queues such as turning unique characters off through to the goofier modes like a classic ‘big head’ mode. I haven’t seen that classic “cheat” appear in games since the PS1 era, and boy howdy did I miss it.
Of course, that’s just a basic overview of the game for those who don’t know anything about it. So the question is, why did it fail and why should you give it a chance?
The ‘failing’ part can just be put down to bad timing all round. And bad advertising, comparing it to Overwatch, a game that, quite frankly, is entirely different other than being a ‘character-based, multiplayer shooter’. It’s an apples and oranges kind of deal, to use an incredibly tired cliche.
It goes to show how disastrous advertising can be and just how much it can really affect a game. I can remember, pre-release, seeing advertisement for Battleborn everywhere and not being entirely sure what it was about. Had you asked me then, I probably would have said it was just like Overwatch. After playing it during the beta, though, I was pleasantly surprised.
Despite its rocky start, Battleborn has proved itself as a unique game that the developers are clearly passionate about. There are regular livestreams from the devs, discussing the game, the in-depth mechanics and what plans they have for the future.
There’s regular DLC updates with four DLC story missions being released and one more to come in the future, as well as those five new characters. While season pass holders get all this content for free, the DLC characters can be bought with in game currency that’s easily obtainable. Story modes, however, require the premium paid currency which is also available through playing the game.
The most important reason to take another look at Battleborn, however, was a recent update to the game which rebuilt it from the ground up, giving it a fresh coat of paint as well as new content, re-balancing the modes and characters, and adding in a tutorial mode to help new players better understand PVP. The game has gone out of its way to make it as much of a user-friendly experience as possible.
The community is incredibly friendly, organising events for all the players to come together and play, helping new players, teaching them the mechanics and celebrating why the game is so much fun. Even the developers get on board, playing the game with the community. Yes, the queue times can be a little slow and due to a small community, it does occasionally fall prey to pre-made teams stomping newer players. But there are still plenty of other new teams to play with and have intense, exciting matches with. It’s also, unfortunately, prone to a few glitches in the single player mode. Nothing too game breaking though, more small glitches like enemies that won’t be aggressive spawning now and then or boss enemies self imploding. Which can be a blessing at times.
Conveniently, the next Community Day is being held this weekend! Saturday February 18 from 10am CST (that’s around 2am Sunday morning in Australia) would be a perfect time to get on board and see why Battleborn is (still!) something worth checking out. Plus you’ll score some free loot for your troubles.