Battleborn is a blast from the past that fits perfectly in 2016
I got the same feeling playing Gearbox’s latest wacky first person shooter as I did the first time I experienced the magical glory of Kung Fury and his ragtag group of misfit costars- pure nostalgic nerd bag excitement. Battleborn managed to conjure a lot of the same nostalgic feeling from my youth while also maintaining a fresh take on an already exhausted genre. The title hits on everything I loved about the ’90s- comic books, cartoons, video games, and cheesy trash talking antagonists. The title breathes some much needed life into what’s starting to feel like an ancient relic of a once powerhouse game genre.
My initial reaction to the game came in a strange wave of displeasure that slowly sparked into feelings of enjoyment and eventually morphed into a pure form of excitement. Battleborn is hilariously terrible and a sheer piece of artistic genius all wrapped into one. The game literally makes fun of itself as you’re ripping up the missions or tearing down unsuspecting foes in multiplayer. It doesn’t take itself too seriously and lets you know upfront that you’re about to be strapped in for one wild ride, even if it doesn’t make a lick of sense when all is said and done.
The visuals are surprisingly well-done for a game built entirely on a platform of cartoon characters. Yes, they’re not groundbreaking or jaw-droppingly stunning, but they don’t need to be. In fact, the game functions more effectively with the peeled back cartoon graphics. There is a lot of detail added to each world and every map provided within the game, even a few hilarious Easter Eggs if you can manage to take a stroll in between taking down enemies and nabbing power-ups before your teammates do. All in all, the graphics perfectly tie the characters into their setting and help pull the user deeper into this strange world of goofy characters and equally goofy weapons.
The option to unlock and play with 25 different characters is fantastic. It may seem like too much, however each new hero comes loaded with his or her own unique play style, button configuration, and set of weapons. Oscar Mike, Montana, and the always-friendly Mellka were a few of my favorites during my time with the game, as each one brought something unique to the battlefield. Stay away from Miko, however, that dude is all types of weird packed into one giant mushroom guy-type thing. Anyway, I found myself enjoying each new unlocked character while also being open to learning the new button configurations on the fly. I can imagine sinking nearly 50 hours into unlocking and playing each one of the unique characters before even venturing into any of the challenges or side missions.
The sweet list of characters wouldn’t be as cool without a stellar platform to enjoy them in. Luckily, Battleborn has two great game modes in Versus and Story. Versus pins two teams of 5 against one another in three separate modes – Capture, Incursion, and Meltdown. Capture is your standard king of the hill death-match, Incursion is unique to Battleborn as players must defend their bases from waves of enemy bots while simultaneously trying to destroy the opponent’s base, and Meltdown forces players to beat their opponents by guiding their own minions into the pit of death before Magnus unleashes a reign of terror. It’s all great fun.
Don’t let the recent internet chatter fool you, the Story mode is just as awesome as the multiplayer Versus. Sure, you’re still playing along with others online during the Story mode, you’re just not killing each other this time around. Story mode is unique and allows you to battle against a mixture of intelligent enemies and straight-up cannon fodder alongside your buddies (or random strangers if your friends are still playing that Destiny game). Each mission has objectives and main bosses, which enter into hilarious dialogue while you’re engaging them. The Story mode is a really nice complement for those players looking to refine their skills before stepping into the gauntlet, and oh yes, it’s a gauntlet.
Speaking of the comedy infused within the game, it’s actually a big selling point for me personally. As I alluded to with my introduction, the first person shooter genre is over and done with in my opinion. The Halo series was the pinnacle of the FPSs as well as its ultimate demise – anything after that, with a few minor exceptions, is just rehash in my book. However, Battleborn seems to somewhat reverse this trend with its fresh commentary, hilarious innuendos, and just plain ridiculousness – you’re in serious need of a hug if this game doesn’t at least provide a chuckle or two.
Unfortunately, Battleborn isn’t going to captivate everyone as it did yours truly. Initially, I thought the title was a cartoon mess intended for the younger generation, which isn’t a knock – I just couldn’t quite get on board. However, after sinking some time into it, it’s far from that initial stereotype but it will certainly force the traditional gamer to step outside his or her comfort zone in order to enjoy. The $60 price tag is also going to turn some gamers off for a game with this kind of cartoon layout and general adolescent feel. Again, don’t let those preconceived notions fool you – this is a decent title with a fresh take and lots of content oozing from the seams.
All in all, Battleborn is definitely a title I can get behind with its unique first person shooter approach, awesome cast of characters, gobs of weapons and power ups, and a hilarious framework to tie it all together. The game will take some getting used to and will force a few seasoned vets to step outside their comfort zone to enjoy the genus wonders that lie within. The hefty price tag may come with some initial sticker shock, especially after first firing it up, but those feeling will soon fade as you dedicate some time to Gearbox’s latest work by mowing down hordes of enemies and laughing hysterically in the process.
RATING OUT OF 5 RATING DESCRIPTION 4.5 Graphics
For a cartoon-style game, the visuals are surprisingly well done – lots of visual Easter Eggs hidden deep within the refined details. 4.0 Control
The controls were a bit clunky at first but eventually became second nature and ultimately get the job done. It would be nice if a few tactical buttons were included within the layout. 4.0 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
The in-game chatter is hilarious and the voice overs are spot on with a standard set of audio humming in the background. 4.5 Play Value
Lots of replay value and what seems like a massive amount of content. If you’re going to scoop up this twisted gem, it’s certainly going to be for the multiplayer offering. 4.0 Overall Rating – Great
Not an average. See Rating legend below for a final score breakdown.
|Review Rating Legend
|0.1 – 1.9 = Avoid
|2.5 – 2.9 = Average
|3.5 – 3.9 = Good
|4.5 – 4.9 = Must Buy
|2.0 – 2.4 = Poor
|3.0 – 3.4 = Fair
|4.0 – 4.4 = Great
|5.0 = The Best