If any of you have read my biography then you’ll know that Borderlands 2 is on my list of all time favourite games (Around a lot of Final Fantasy games). Not only is it a shining example for how a game can be downright hilarious but it’s also a great game full of amazing graphics, action and shear excitement. My fanboy routine for 2k games started with the original Borderlands, then escalated with this gem and finally descended slightly with The Pre Sequel so you could say that I’m already a fan of the franchises.
For this reason, Battleborn shone brightly, not only did it NOT contain 99.99999% of jokes that only Australians will find funny but it also incorporated all of the amazing features that Borderlands used in order to enslave the minds and hearts of millions of fans, including myself.
As some of you may know, Battleborn is the new release by 2K games, Gearbox and Take-Two Interactive which was released on Windows, PS4 and the Xbox One back on May 3rd. It’s grown a fair amount of anticipation within the gaming community for being a massive online arena battleground and that doesn’t fail to deliver (but we’ll get into that a little bit later). With a whole heap of different characters, Battleborn plays like an online arena game, but the story begs to differ.
Battleborn kicks off with a downright amazing video sequence which introduces the game in which 5 factions and 25 heroes are fighting against the evil Rendain and his army of bots to seize the last star. When I say this is amazing, I mean it truly is amazing to the point of giving me goosebumps. Battleborn (and Borderlands) share a pretty good feeling for me when it comes to opening sequences because they’re always amazing with suitable music and fantastic animation. Anyway back to the story, you’re first mission puts you in control of Mellka, a venomous rogue elf who is sent to escort one of Rendain’s henchmen to safety after defecting. It’s a pretty simple mission which introduces the whole mechanic of Battleborn. After you’ve completed the prologue mission, it’s on to unite the factions in an epic story line which is not only fun but is absolutely crazy and so funny at times.
Combat is pretty straightforward, each of the characters has unique skills and abilities that will help them in combat. You’re main attack will usually be some sort of gun, or sword or something to smash people with and you’ll also have a secondary attack or an aim button of some sort. You have 3 abilities, 2 of which are available right from the start and one will be unlocked once you reach level 5 which is your ‘super ability’. Furthermore characters have some special traits which don’t have to be manually activated. For instance Mellka shoots off a venom bomb when she reloads her gun. A lot of the traits and abilities compliment each other, so with Mellka the more venom you can spew into people’s faces the more that you’re skills will damage.
Battleborn begins to shine in the massive amount of character customisation and gear sets that you can choose from. Completing missions, tasks and challenges will net you with some sexy new costumes and some nice gear which can be used when you have built up a bit of currency within your current story or multiplayer games. Even though you have 25 characters, you have thousands of different combinations that can make up your team, skills, abilities and costumes so you’ll be able to find yourself a great combination.
Speaking of the characters, each character is completely unique in their own way so you’ll be able to find the perfect hero to play as. For me it was a combination of a gunslinging robot with a damn good rifle shooting owls out of his hat or Thorn the agile, fast paced archer who sat behind enemy lines headshotting everything. There’s a huge range to choose from with swords, guns, and laser weapons so you’ll be able to find something to suit your playstyle whether you prefer the agile rogue, the silent camper, the master of swords or the brick wall tank taking all the damage. There’s really so many to choose from.
Fortunately though, you’re not spoilt for choice as a lot of the characters take a bit of unlocking to do, whether this is playing through the great choice of interesting story missions or if it’s boosting yourself through the online arena’s to raise your commander level and unlock them. Each unlock requires you to do something special, so you’ll have to make the most with the ones you have to begin with until you can pick up some of the more badass ones.
Battleborn shows further customisation when it comes to it’s levelling up function. In short, you start each story or online game at level 1 where you have a DNA skill tree. This allows you to pick 1 of 2 perks. Perks will usually allow you to deal more damage with an ability, leech the life of those around you, jump higher etc. So they are pretty useful as getting to level 10 will make you into a pure damage dealing machine. It’s something I’ve never seen before and frankly I thought I would hate it, but it has grown on me. The only downside to this is when playing with others. If you want to level up you will have to stop to pick your skill, and when you’re teammates have ran ahead and are now being destroyed it can take quite a bit of time to read through the perks you will be getting, especially when you’re as picky as me.
Whilst it should never really make or break a game, I have to talk about the online community and the use of multiplayer gaming with this one. It’s just great in every way. Everyone is helpful, everyone wants to play and there’s no trolling (or not that I’ve seen). I managed to find quite a few people to play with who were a fun and friendly bunch and we played a couple of the story missions, even attempting some of the more impossible missions. It’s actually great fun to play something so laid back online where you don’t have some jackass flaming you because you’ve used a life and died.
Whilst the matchmaking is a massive pro, there’s also a flaw which the online gaming community has been crying out for and that’s matchmaking your way into an advanced game with other players. It’s a bit of a shame since a lot of the trophies and achievements revolve around being able to play the advanced missions which are pretty much impossible when you try to solo them, especially later down the story missions when you will need a team of good players to help you take on the baddies.
I slightly touched on it before, but I have to touch on it again because it’s such a huge pro when it comes to the game and that’s its shear sense of wackiness and craziness. There isn’t a mission that I’ve played that isn’t funny and great to play, from battling giant arachnids on frozen planes to watching a dwarf slice his way through robots with witty remarks. Borderlands taught us just how hilarious games can be again and Battleborn is no exception to this rule. Its comedy value far outweighs any negatives that it has.
As far as graphics are concerned, there worthy. I wouldn’t say they’re anything special in particular but the arenas and the story missions are all made well. They’re very cartoony but that’s not really a bad thing because it adds to the whole light hearted feel of the game. The heroes are all very well designed and whilst the animations and skills are somewhat simplistic they do the trick. As a whole, Battleborn stands up in the graphics department. As I said it’s nothing particularly special but it’s hardly bad at all and I don’t really think anyone would play Battleborn to go watch a very well graphically designed tree.
There are a couple of pros when it comes to the sound. The characters are all voiced very well, spouting quick witted remarks when taking down enemies or performing certain actions. The background music is suitable, as is the sound effects and everything about the sound is adequate. I found no issues with the effects whatsoever.
As a whole, Battleborn stands tall and has quickly made me forget about the awful last game which is now gathering dust in my game case after getting the platinum. It’s a great reminder of just how amazing the combination of 2K Games, Gearbox and Two-Take Interactive can be when they put their all into a game and I truly hope there will be a Battleborn 2 with more heroes, action and hilarity than ever. I just hope the one flaw in the game becomes patched very quickly.
But seriously, that opening sequence…