Even though they made the Borderlands series it still feels like Gearbox Software has an uphill battle with Battleborn. While the MOBA (Multi-player online battle arena) is a popular genre I don’t think we’ve reached peak immersion yet. I work around video games as my day job and I get tons of questions about this game, it really seems like people don’t understand anything about it. Which isn’t completely Gearbox’s fault. While I’ve been playing games like League Of Legends and Heroes of the Storm for years I know that some people are new to how these games work.
So I was very excited for the open beta week, where I finally got a taste of the game. I’m still making up my mind on what I think. I enjoyed the two story missions that it had, but it did a poor job explaining the mechanics of the game. Which will probably be fixed in the full version, but this was one of their chances to really sell the game to the console crowd. Having a basic tutorial would have helped out a lot. I played with one or two friends who honestly had no idea what they were doing and it took away from their enjoyment of the game. It’s not that the controls are bad, they are very tight and responsive but they never really tell you what any of them do. You just have to experiment and see what does what.
So the game is based around all these factions fighting over this planet, they really don’t let you see much of the story in the beta. They really want people to play the multiplayer verses modes right now, those probably need much more balancing than the story stuff. But I quickly found myself with two favorites Orendi and Thorn, both were fast moving ranged damage dealers. So I had no problems running through the story missions on my own. But I will admit that it was much more fun when I played with other people, the characters will interact with each other and say funny things. Also I did encounter more than one character that you wouldn’t want to play on their own, because all their power is focused into support rather than damage. But I do love the option to play on my own or with bots, because I am not always into dealing with people I don’t know. Especially when cooperation is involved.
I didn’t really like that some of the champions I really wanted to try out were locked behind a level wall. I played for a few afternoons and barely hit level 10, I am not exactly sure how some people where hitting max level. There wasn’t enough content and I had to admit that I was getting a little bit bored. When I played on Friday I found myself listening to music because I knew most of the level by heart by now. I’m not sure how long the campaign is going to be in the full game but I like that I can replay levels that I enjoy.
I know that I am going to give this game the benefit of the doubt and probably buy it when it comes out next month. It’ll be interesting to see more and more MOBA’s move into the console space. We’ve had Smite on the Xbox One for the past year and it’s supposed to go to PS4 soon as well. Games like League or Legends wouldn’t ever work on the console, but I’d love to see more games try and bring the formula to home consoles.
We will see if Gearbox’s risky gamble pays off on May 3rd. Battleborn comes out on PS4, Xbox One, and PC.