Battleborn is a ton of fun to play, and is unabashedly a Gearbox game, in visuals, moment-to-moment gameplay and humor. Much of the PSVG team has been playing it recently, and we have largely given it our seal of approval.
Gearbox’s Battleborn is a hero shooter with some major MOBA tendencies. It’s biggest shortcoming — and this is in some ways an unfair comparison — is that it isn’t Overwatch. The comparison is inevitable: Both are multiplayer-focused hero shooters released within a few weeks of each other.
In Battleborn, you have access to a handful of diverse heroes at the start of the game, which you can use in either story missions or in versus multiplayer. The story is filled with eight missions that take you through standard wave-based defense, capture points and bullet-sponge boxes either on your own or with a group of up to five. As you play each mission, you upgrade and unlock the full roster of characters — from the dual sword-wielding Rath to my favorite, the more traditional FPS character, Caldarius. The characters have great personality and are vastly different to play.
In versus mode, you play as these same heroes in one of three different modes: Incursion, Capture and Meltdown. In incursion, you lead minions to destroy sentry bots in the other team’s territory. Capture ist just what it sounds like: You capture a specific point on a map. And in Meltdown, you escort minions across the map where they will sacrifice themselves and earn points for your team.
Sadly, on PS4 at least, it takes an awfully long time to get into a versus match. I had sessions where I couldn’t find a match at all. I also had sessions where I eventually found a match, but those still took upwards of five minutes. Once I get into the versus matches, there is little direction for newcomers and I just got obliterated. The matches are deep, complex and difficult to pick up. This is truly a Catch-22: There’s certainly a depth in Battleborn that isn’t there in Overwatch, but it’s so unfriendly to newcomers that it’s discouraging.
And, still, I can wholeheartedly recommend Battleborn, even if you ignore the PVP modes. Story missions are a blast to play, and they can be completed either on your own, with a group of friends or with a random group online. Matchmaking for stories consistently takes less than two minutes. The missions remind me a lot of playing through Destiny’s Strikes, and that is a very good thing.
During gameplay, you can upgrade your character from 1 to 10. At each level, you will choose an upgrade from two or three options that can drastically change your approach to playing. This allows for major diversity between matches even if you are playing the same character, though choosing the upgrades can be hectic and nervewracking if you’re trying to read the descriptions on-the-fly.
Each story can take anywhere from 40 minutes to an hour for a runthrough, depending on your team’s proficiency, and the cast of characters demands multiple plays. If you’ve added the season pass Operations, you easily have 10-15 hours of gameplay just to get through everything once before hopping into PVP. And the gunplay is just plain fun.
At the same time, the story bones behind the gameplay is thin at best and nonsensical at worst. While you’re firing away at enemies, disembodied voices are spewing one-liners that you can barely pay attention to because of the frenetic pace. I still don’t really know what is happening in the story, other than that there are multiple factions of heroes trying to protect the last star in the universe from being destroyed.
That thin story doesn’t take too much away from the experience, however, as the actual game is just a blast to play.
My score: 82/100
While I’m not normally the person to gravitate to multiplayer games especially shooters but Battleborn is easily my shooter of the year hands down. The graphics, gameplay and humor are top notch making this game a blast to play. I didn’t have the match finding issues Seth did but occasionally would run into a few min wait for a team. This game is truly easy to pick up but very tough to master making it a good mix for veteran and newbie gamers alike. Score: 94/100
Battleborn is a perfect example of bad timing. While this game should not be compared to Overwatch, it inevitably was. It’s like comparing Titanfall 2 to Battlefield 1. They both released at the same time but both offer far varying experiences. Battleborn reminds me of my favorite part of Destiny, the strikes and raids. There is really something special about getting together with friends and taking on challenges and objectives with friends. Then there is the cast of characters, something I think they do better than overwatch if a comparison needs to be made. There is such a wide variety to choose from and they all play exceptionally different. I also love that you level up during the middle of battles. It really challenges you to think fast. Big thumbs up for me, and for the price it’s selling for currently, you cannot afford to not get this game!
Battleborn was reviewed on PlayStation 4 using a code provided by the publisher. You can read additional information about PSVG’s review policy, including a guideline on how we score our games, on our disclaimer page here.