Game Review: Battleborn marries multiplayer with first-person shooter

Battleborn is what you get when you marry multiplayer online battle arena with a first-person shooter. But does the unholy alliance work?

From the studios that gave us Borderlands comes a new entrant in the online multiplayer battle space, Battleborn — a multiplayer first-person shooter with multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) style upgrade elements. The game has a single player campaign but it isn’t as interesting as Borderlands. While the humour and the core gameplay mechanics have been imported into Battleborn, the storytelling lags behind. The initial single-player campaign meant to get you acclimatised to the game is short and very light on content.

Battleborn features a huge roster of characters each with their own style of play, strengths and weaknesses. The MOBA-style progression lets each character level up during a match, the better you play, the more powerful your character gets. And you can choose between two options in every level. For example, if you choose the sword wielding melee expert Rath (also a vampire), you can make his armour more sturdy and can even steal health from attacks done on his enemies. Your character can get pretty badass by the end of it. You can play story mode by yourself or co-op, sans splitscreen because, well, PC players don’t get to play splitscreen. We are very pissed.

The permanent progression system for each character lets you unlock additional skin options and taunts. The highlight of the game is its multiplayer modes. They are fun, but you need to give them a chance as the progression can be slow at first. It picks up very well. There are several modes available in multiplayer. Incursion requires you to take out two enemy drones before they take down your drones. Capture is a capture-and-control game where you win an area with your team. Meltdown is a unique multiplayer mode where you have to destroy, rather lead waves of minions to their death. The team with the most scrap metal wins.

We found it very hard to get player match-ups to test out the various modes. Though your patience will be rewarded as the multiplayer modes really makes this game pop. Better to form a crew so there are enough players every time you log in.

The game also features a mobile counterpart called Battleborn Tap, and tap you will, which is the mobile version of grinding. This frantic tapping is supposed to let you unlock stuff in the game. The tapping is fun initially, but becomes a chore soon enough. Despite investing a couple of hours into the game, we couldn’t manage to unlock any goodies in our Battleborn Shift account as the iOS Game centre account is annoying to connect to and did not happen for us.

You are better off playing the companion game on an Android device, connecting your Google account to your Shift account is a super easy.

The lack of a dual screen mode that the consoles have feels like the PC gamers are getting short changed. Battleborn is exactly the sort of game you want to play with another friend, sometimes on the same screen, and knowing the option is unavailable because you are playing on a PC is annoying. Overall, the game is still a winner, with a whole bunch of characters and with more on the way. The MOBA-style upgrade system and the massive multiplayer games are fun, provided you manage to connect to other players. By the looks of it, adoption of Battleborn seems a little slow out of the gate. Hopefully, it will pick up in the weeks to come. While the game is good, it isn’t great. The asking price is fairly reasonable on PC and a season pass is well worth the Rs 299 extra.

Rating: 3/5
Publisher: 2K Games
Developer: Gear Box
Platform: PC, Xone, PS4
Price: PC: Rs 999; Consoles: Rs 3,499

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