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Battleborn (PC) artwork

Battleborn (PC) review

"It's not bad but suffers from a major loss in community numbers."

I was not there at the start, being one of the millions of players who opted towards Overwatch instead of Battleborn, which was woefully released around the same time. There was also the fact that Overwatch was twenty dollars cheaper, so basically millions of players flocked towards the safer bet with a studio with a better track record. On one hand, we had a well marketed, Pixar-esque Team Fortress game and on the other, a cartoony MOBA that had the misfortune of being compared to Overwatch for the rest of its existence.

Iím here to tell you: Itís actually not bad.

Unfortunately the community has more or less died. I installed it about the day after it went free to play and it boasted about 1400 players. As of this writing in the early AMís, thereís about 360 in-game. Could just be the hour and that does very likely rise in the evening but thereís no doubt that the playerbase has fallen off a bit, which is a damn shame because the game has a lot to offer. As a result of this, it may be a good idea to pick it up with a group of friends so that your queue times arenít abysmal.
Edit: To wit, it took me all day to even get a game going so I had screenshots to share, so that may give some indication on how long it takes to play.

Iíll start with the PvE, and I have no idea when the mode was introduced but itís a lot of fun. I randomly queued and joined another, much more experienced player in an objective-based map that took about thirty minutes to complete. Might have been faster if I knew what I was doing but they didnít seem to mind. If there was a critique, I feel like it had a similar vibe to Titanfall 1′s laughable attempt at a campaign. In the match I played, most of the ďstoryĒ was played out over a radio while we followed an NPC (which is also a playable character) around while he did some pseudoscience. After that, weíd just face against waves of enemies of variable difficulty. The map itself was creative enough with at least one death for both of us around a jump we werenít expecting. Fair enough, kept me on my toes. The game itself was a lot of fun with a proper RPG-esque vibe as you leveled up slowly throughout the whole thing (Which is a much more rapid process in a PvP match, and speaking of)Ö

In the main-stay mode (is that a term?), thereís PvP. Your usual 5v5 setup but if thereís some kind of lane-based map, I have yet to find it. So far Iíve only been treated to a couple of maps which were all one lane with minions. Spread around, thereís a few mechanics of note. Thereís a bunch of crystals you run around to collect which can be used to activate your three items you bring in as a ďloadoutĒ which can do all kinds of things including recoil reduction and maximum health. Itís a much more streamlined variant of the item/shop mechanic present in other MOBAs. Once youíre done with that (or you could do this intermittently) thereís a bunch of turrets around the entire map you can activate. Thereís accelerators that increase your run speed to get you back in the fight quicker, supply stations that will rapidly heal you so you can avoid teleporting all the way back to base, and a few offensive turret types that will keep minions and players at bay. Everything costs crystals and the bulk is usually gained by going out of your way to collect them, and itís a neat idea. A relative flaw is that this amount is not shared like it typically is in other MOBAs. Iíve seen huge crystal-amount disparities in the stat screen because some players just donít know about them (Iím still in novice queues).

Thereís also an Operation mode which I canít speak on because it wonít let me play them for not owning ďOperations Pack 2″ or the ďSeason PassĒ, which is not accessibly to me despite having paid 30$ for the Ďfull gameí. Perhaps itís Founder specific for those who dropped the full 75$ way back in the day. Itís a shame and a bit of an oversight and I hope they fix that, but they may not if their playerbase bleeds dry.

The command menu is fairly easy to use but the f2p-ness of the game rears its ugly head soon enough. Most games (which again, have mostly been in PvE and AI) net me around 900 ingame credits. Despite buying the 30$ full game pack, thereís about five heroes that cost ~42,500. Thatís a lot of credits, and thereís the money-bought currency (because of course there is) that you can choose to do if one of those characters really appeals to you. Some PvP-based quests do give you some of those, but it would take a whole hell of a lot of gaming. How you feel about that is largely how you feel about the industry as a whole.

If I had a major complaint is that itís a bit difficult to figure out what the hell is going on at any given point. Perhaps itís because I chose to main a melee character, but it could also be the fact that enemy minion health bars never show up and all of them often get de/buffed with some purple haze and I canít tell them apart from enemy to friendly. I could be slicing away at an enemy while minions are gunning my health down from behind and I can never really tell.

The field of vision is a little off compared to other games and itís just a bit wonky to me. When Iím in the thick of battle, I can barely tell if my hits are even connecting or not, which is why I tend to take the upgrade to Galilea where, at full health, her sword will fire these ranged energy beams to give her some reach. They donít do as much damage as her raw sword attacks do so I am just forced to wade in where the fighting is thickest, pop her AoEÖ thing and hope for the best because I canít ever really tell what Iím hitting. This might get fixed with experience as I get used to it, but that wonít happen if I canít find people to play with.

You may notice a trend here; Iím not mercilessly comparing this game to others in its genre, and thatís because I feel the game has a solid niche with many notable differences that help give this game its own soul and core. It all sadly went ignored due to its release conditions and perhaps by some less than stellar business practices, some of which are covered by Jim Sterling. I canít speak for all of that, but in the few hours Iíve played, I have not hated the experience. Like many other things, it would probably be more fun to queue with friends. Thatís really my conclusion to this; if youíre interested in picking this game Iíd recommend bringing some friends along. The f2p version locks you away from the PvE side of things but thereís still plenty of AI smashing you can do together.

Ultimately I do feel like Iím reviewing what is essentially a dead game, which is why Jim Sterling called his video a ďdepressing post-mortemĒ. I just felt like giving it some attention due to its recently released free status.


Zydrate's avatar
Community review by Zydrate (June 14, 2017)

Zydrate is most active on Steam and Tumblr.

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