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Battleborn Review

Battleborn is Gearbox's newest IP and whilst it is a brave step in a new direction for first person shooters it still has plenty of nods to what came before, including a striking visual style and an original sense of humour, though sadly in the latter many of the jokes do fall a little flat, though I feel this is more down to a lack of story as Battleborn has taken all of the slower, more story defining moments you get from Gearbox Software games and just thrust a team of players into a series of high stakes battles.

For what it's worth the story involves the last fraught moments of a universe in despair, a powerful force has ripped through the systems, destroying the many suns it comes across which in turn wipes out whatever species inhabit the surrounding planets. Solus is the last sun, fiercely defended by a rag tag group of warriors of all shapes and sizes. Many don't get along but they all have one purpose, defend the last sun and hopefully stop the Varelsi in their maniacal quest.

What this means is that you get to play as one of twenty five different characters with various abilities, each offering a different way to play the eight missions and various multiplayer modes though don't expect to have a huge roster available from the get go as there is a fair amount to unlock, be it gradually though the campaign or just by levelling up your own rank. 

As the lineup starts to open up a little you start to recognise some of the classes associated with each one, be it ranged and field medics to ferocious melee specialists or tank type characters. As mentioned before each have their own special abilities, two to start with and then a third that unlocks as you play, the game levelling up your character from 1 to 10 each time you battle, enabling you to make a quick selection of which sub skills you want to use. This on the fly approach is not something I have come across on a console shooter before and certainly allows for some interesting character builds, allowing you to decide how best to deal with a scenario in a mission by mission basis.

The missions themselves are broken down into various scenarios that require constant team work, be it protecting something, using shards (collected from the environment) to purchase turrets during defence moments or even splitting up to take on sub quests mid battle; whatever the job, voice chat and a decent team is crucial as running out of the shared pool of lives or failing to protect a vital item results in game over, which is gutting at to wipe at 30 minutes of hard work.

With a single player mode available, Battleborn is really suited to online play as going against Varelsi on your own can cause some real headaches, especially if you have picked the wrong character so multiplayer is certainly better, with up to five players joining in and if you are lucky you will get to see a wide selection of classes in the field, or sadly in my case lots of tanks running around. 

Whilst not as infectious as Borderlands there is a loot system in play, with drops occuring at the end of each mission offering gear items that assist in short in games boosts, using collected shards to improve areas like shield recharge or a higher damage output of your skills.

Away from the campaign mode there are also three player versus player competitive modes, allowing two teams of five players to battle it out across a series of maps and rules with a classic capture the base mode; an incursion mode where you need to push through waves of enemy bots and opposing Battleborn to destroy their sentries and meltdown, where you need to guide your minions safely to be sacrificed at specific machines whilst also stopping the opposing side.

Even after a few solid sessions on Battleborn there is still quite a bit to unlock including plenty more characters and this is where longevity becomes an issue, as by this time many players would have witnessed most of what the game has to offer, the continuos play just offering new characters and hear to collect that just alter the way you play rather than the overall experience.

Going in thinking this game is another Borderlands will lead to disappointment as Battleborn is something very different, it is online only and is best played with a familiar team as if you play with randoms you will often get players dropping out, leaving you a Battleborn short on the field. When it all comes together though very few games match the insanity and ferocity of five well practiced warriors working together to decimate the incoming hordes.

Words by Dan Pearson

(Version Tested: PS4)


+ Huge selection of original characters.
+ Unique levelling system.
+ When it works, teamwork is fantastic.
+ Smooth and stunning visuals.


- Single player is more trouble than it's worth.
- Being online only at times you can lose loot if you get disconnected or lose the server.
- Need a good team.

Edited On 10 May, 2016

( 1 )
Anonymous user's avatar
mark 5 months ago
Such a let down. It's not even half a game and they want to charge for dlc? 8 levels of which you will probably play the same 4 over and over. Those looking to play the final 2 levels will face a wait and watch players drop out over and over or face saving Caldarius for the 100th time. I can appreciate the attempt at something new but not enough levels to keep you interested for me. Back to mad max until valkyria chronicles arrives I think

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