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At face value, Battleborn appears to be a meaty experience, with 24 unique characters, an in-depth progression and loot system, co-op campaign and competitive multiplayer. However, Gearbox’s new IP loses its momentum due to only a handful of multiplayer modes and maps, and a rather lackluster story driven narrative with repetitive game-play elements and poor A.I.
Much like other games of its likeness, Battleborn is best played with friends. The game sports split screen and 5 player co-op story-mode as well as a 5 versus 5 competitive multiplayer environment. Playing with friends makes the trek through the story-mode fun and rewarding. While the main campaign is full of raunchy humor and quips and one-liners, the story missions feel devoid of real narrative. The game borrows a lot from the Borderlands franchise, with less appeal. There are a few interesting bosses, but with brain-dead A.I., simple mechanics, repetitive missions, and poorly placed check-points, it really feels sluggish and passable, at best.
Incursion, Meltdown, and Capture make up BattleBorn’s MOBA inspired multiplayer. Incursion is its staple mode, yet heavily derivative. It features a single lane creep battle to destroy the enemy base. Meltdown is similar to Incursion with a few differences, as every creep that enters the enemy’s portal reduces their score. Unfortunately, Capture is the weakest of the three, focusing too much on team-fights, which on PS4 really bog down game-play performance to a crawl.
Characters are BattleBorn’s biggest strength. 24 make up the roster, and 5 are coming post-launch for free (I like this very much!). Each character has an in-depth talent tree that makes for varied styles of play, while their personalities, especially their taunts, really bring out their own unique flair.
If only characters could carry this game.
After several hours of play, I began to feel fatigue. Game-play blurs, and what really feel unique about the game, loses its appeal quickly. Battleborn feels like it needs more, despite when initially it feels like the full package. Frame-rate issues (PS4), character imbalance, and match-making issues bog down what could have been a really solid experience.
VERDICT: 6.5/10 Creatively, BattleBorn really shines with its colorful cast of characters. However, those characters do not carry you through what feels like an average gaming experience at best.
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