BY DEAN MOSES
Battleborn is the latest title from publisher 2K (the publishers of Bioshock) and developer gearbox (the makers of Borderlands.) This fast paced First Person Shooter (FPS) attempts to blend couch co-op and online multiplayer with a humor filled story mode and battle arenas.
Becoming a Hero
If you have played a Borderlands game your controller will feel natural within your hands. Each character has their own unique personality, play style, and special moves. Montana is a gigantic, muscular hulk of a man who uses a mini gun to tear through his foes, while Rath uses no less than three swift and brutal swords to cut down his enemies. These two alone are vastly different from each other, so boosting a full roster of over 25 distinctive heroes means that players are in for some extraordinary match-ups and face-offs. There is also a leveling system that resets after every match. For instance, if you rack up kills, collect shards, or complete objectives in versus matches, your selected hero will gain levels, giving you the option to improve his skills or health. However, once the match is over that hero will return to level one. This adds an extra layer of strategy, a race against time to gain access to skills before your opponents. There is also a separate leveling system for heroes outside of matches, climbing the ranks of this will grant players access to new taunts and hero colors. On the negative side, there can be a bit of a steep learning curve here as you come to terms with each hero’s traits. You will die—a lot. But give it some time and you will be racking up kills with the best of them.
Heroic Good Looks
Battleborn goes for a cartoony look. Colors are bright and vibrant; character animations are fluid and filled with exaggerated gestures. Attacks—like sword swings—leave red trials behind to really emphasize the violent gesticulations. This cell-shaded style really allows explosions to pop with even greater clarity. The effects aren’t the only things that dazzle—the heroes’ personalities also shine. Whether voicing their displeasure after getting knocked out or making a quick joke as they fight a rival, they always have something to say. The maps look pretty too, yet there is not as much variety here as one might find in other games. Each versus match type only has two maps to battle upon. I felt the repetition here relatively quickly.
Fun with Friends
Battleborn’s greatest strength is that it allows players the ability to do something that nearly all other PS4 and Xbox One games don’t — the capacity to play couch co-op online. That’s right, spilt screen is finally back and held prominently here. There is nothing like venturing online with a friend beside you, working together to conquer the competition. You can also play the story mode in spilt screen while players from around the world join in. The story mode is fantastic fun, especially with a group of friends. However, the narrative itself is not going to have you on the edge of your seat, and the enemies you face during your journey can tend to echo one another quite often. With that being said, having the capability to choose between versus matches or a story feels fresh, despite the lack of content in each.
Battleborn’s focus is on fun, and that’s just what it gives you. If you have been waiting for that great split screen game your prayers then have been answers, but if you are hoping for a deep story or a large variety of stages, you won’t find them here. In its place there are a plethora of characters to pick from. Battleborn hearkens back to an older time, when things were less about impressive narratives and more about sitting down with friends and enjoying the experiences you all share.