I recently spent about fifteen hours playing Battleborn, the new Gearbox release with Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA) flavorings. This video game on the Playstation 4 interested me greatly. It wasn’t on my radar at first, not until a week after its release (and the Overwatch beta ended 😦 ) and at first I completely wrote it off. Everyone who didn’t already buy the game, or preorder the game, wrote it off. Seemingly. The Internet was bi-polar with its collective opinion: most hating it, claiming its an inferior Overwatch. Behind the wall of ignorant opinions were those saying they enjoyed the game quite a bit. They said it was unique to the first person shooter genre, and that it shouldn’t be ignored just because of a poorly received beta, or because Gearbox made it. So just like last year when I bought Elder Scrolls Online for PS4 my curiosity got the best of me. Because a video game with diverse critical opinion warrants exploration.
Overwatch is not the same game as Battleborn. The two are FPS games with heroes in them that each spout an individual set of abilities, weapons, and ultimate abilities. And they are both team based multiplayer focused titles that require players to build well balanced teams by smartly selecting the right heroes to fulfill functions necessary for success. Other elements are similar, in that each hero is characterized in order to substantially differentiate one hero from another, and that both titles possess a colorful style. In just about every other remark the two video games are completely different. Battleborn is going after MOBA gameplay, where players defend AI controlled minions into enemy bases while defending their own bases against enemy minions and players. Each match has character progression that doesn’t translate to different matches, and each level grants a skill point that can be spent for one of two or three abilities per level. Outside progression unlocks new characters and cosmetic options for characters, as well as new abilities that can be unlocked with characters during matches upon leveling up. Overwatch is like a new Team Fortress 2 with faster gameplay and more characters to choose from. Characters have no progression. Overwatch is about how well you can employ your character in a team against enemy players. There are no AI controlled minions. There is a longer list of differences that I could type but I’m not going to do that.
These games have been compared to death and I feel I shouldn’t have to write this out but I did because I myself fell into the trappings of comparing the games before I educated myself as to what constituted the actual video game Battleborn. Most people are just ignoring Battleborn while calling it a shitty game because Overwatch is releasing soon, has had a very successful beta, and is extremely well put together SINCE IT’S A FUCKING BLIZZARD GAME AND THAT’S WHAT THEY DO you don’t say a fucking chicken sandwich sucks because for dinner you had a fucking steak NOW DO YOU go drink more mountain dew you prepubescent meme factories.
The first impression I had booting up Battleborn was what the fuck is happening. And that impression stayed with me for hours. HOURS. I played probably fifteen multiplayer versus matches before I could stand up straight. My character was basically rushing into the field to die fuck I just died goddamn I died again I AM FEEDING THE GODDAMN ENEMY THEY ARE GETTING STRONGER BECAUSE fucking DIED AGAIN WHAT THE but sometime last night I finally felt my mental grips choking the concepts of the game with the precision of a limp laser: finally coming to terms with the characters I should play, the characters I should avoid fighting, and the general flow of each game type but the laser in my metaphor is limp because I still suck and I feel I will suck for probably ten more hours at the most I fucking hope.
I’m having fun though. A lot of fun. While it has a mission based campaign (that is actually pretty good, especially the boss design) that can be played alone or with up to four other players, I’ve been focusing on the versus multiplayer. The game’s MOBA mode, Incursion, remains to be my favorite (because it reminds me of Monday Night Combat), but I’m much better and more successful at the Capture mode which is just Domination from Call of Duty. Basically, try to roll with your team as much as possibly, don’t catch yourself alone ever, and you should be fine. Pick a character you are competent with, and fulfill their implied role. Right now I’m enjoying this chick named Phoebe. She is a fancy lady with a dress and she wields rapiers, mainly focusing on Damage Per Second (DPS). My role is to poke the enemy, picking off weaker classes and players with low health as I level. She doesn’t have much defense, so I have to do a lot of retreating into allied fortifications to avoid feeding enemies experience. That’s the most important aspect of this game. Because each match rides on the economy of experience and crystals, you want to deny the enemy as many experience and crystals as you can. Crystals give enemies equipment, build able torrents, and allow players to spawn tanky minions, while experience levels up characters. You don’t want the other team to out level you. That almost always spells defeat for your team. So with that in mind I tend to turtle until I feel that I’ve leveled enough, or until my team is making a big rush. I play Pheobe way too safe, and it probably pisses off my team, but PISS OFF I’M LEARNING.
What I like most about this game is that its complicated. I miss games that have learning curves. The game focuses heavily on strategy. You can’t really out gun players with force like you can in other FPS games. You have to efficiently balance the economy while defending against minions and defending your own minions so that you can progress into the enemy base. If you go in just shooting blindly you’re dead. You’re dead. DEAD. And the enemy team is now stronger because you are dead. Thanks.
I can also appreciate how unique this game is in the current landscape of video games. Like I hinted towards earlier, the only game that is similar to Battleborn in terms of gameplay is Monday Night Combat, a dead FPS that attempted to possess the flavorings of MOBA gameplay. It was originally a XboxArcade (XBLA) title for the 360 that then made its way to PC as a free to play game called Super Monday Night Combat. It had a lot more in common with Team Fortress 2 as far as asthetic and class makeup, which is a funny coincidence since Battleborn is CONSTANTLY being compared to Overwatch (Team Fortress 3 XD 😉 MEEEEEEMES). Battleborn has a lot more in common with Borderlands, since this is the Borderlands team and their dumpster fire meme humor is present as well as their visual style. The two games also share voice actors making characters seem like retooled Borderlands characters at times. But this isn’t a loot shooter DAD this game is DIFFERENT.
I’m also playing a lot of Oscar Mike, who is a boring generic shooter dude that’s good for learning the game (and killing minions). I tend to pick him when I’m tired of sucking as Phoebe, or any of the other character I’ve tried out. I haven’t played as everyone I’ve unlocked, nor have I unlocked everyone, so I may write about my experiences with more characters in the future. All I can say is I can’t figure out how to play Mito, and it pisses me off to the point that I often target enemy Mitos until I get killed by the enemy team. Which is a bad, stupid thing to do. BUT FUCK THAT MUSHROOM.
Prepubescent Meme Factory