Classic Gearbox shooting with an experimental MOBA twist, but it's no Borderlands.
Gearbox's blend of shooter and MOBA is generous and inventive, but the marriage of genres doesn't fully convince.
I've enjoyed most of Battleborn's campaign during my initial playthrough, though it's mostly due to the handiwork of the insane playable characters than the drab enemies and stages. The unlocks both near (in-match leveling) and far (unlocking new characters) have kept me anticipating each new campaign level attempt, though I wish said campaign were just a bit more exciting and varied. Hopefully some time with competitive multiplayer will make my upgrades and unlocks come even faster.
In six months' time it may well make its mark, but for now Battleborn's mix of genres suffers from too little content and too much repetition.
Battleborn mixes the FPS and MOBA genres to produce a game that oozes character and original ideas. Just don't expect to love it straightaway.
A varied playable roster isn't enough to salvage a lackluster campaign and clumsy combat
Battleborn is inconsistent but still has an opportunity to shine
The combat is frantic and tense, but often feels samey and superficial. The in-match leveling works wonderfully in the campaign, but can become problematic in multiplayer. The varied cast of heroes adds longevity, but the game still feels relatively content light. With so many moving parts that never quite gel, I found plenty of things to love but just as much to feel confused by and ambivalent about.
There just isn't a lot of variety. It's a problem a lot of these MOBA-inspired hero shooters are going to run into. Traditional MOBA fans are fine with a small smattering of maps to play on. But this is a first-person shooter with MOBA elements, and first-person shooter players love their maps and modes. I know I do.
Battleborn has its moments, but its lack of maps and other niggling flaws makes it tough to recommend. There may well be a perfect FPS MOBA out there somewhere; but with Battleborn, the two genres feel fundamentally at odds with one another. It's not helped by its generic art direction and painfully unfunny sense of humor, which mostly consists of pointing toward some well-worn trope and asking, "Isn't that silly?" Right now, it feels geared toward the hardcore community in a way that makes it not very fun to play for more casual fans; and as Battleborn hasn't shown itself to be worth that kind of investment, I'm ready to take my leave of it.
I'm not sold on Battleborn's commitment to the MOBA genre but there's something fun there underneath all of it. I'll probably hop on occasionally to play Capture throughout its lifetime while the bulk of my efforts are spent on more polished shooters.
Gearbox Software's experience with Borderlands clearly shows throughout Battleborn, blending a silly episodic story and a cast of charismatic characters with the competitive, on-trend MOBA genre. While its single-player and multiplayer offerings are limited at the moment, they're strong enough on their own to sustain a community, so long as Gearbox continues to update the game frequently. Battleborn could have easily been a soulless copycat of Borderlands or just another MOBA, but this is one fusion game that has its own identity and lays the solid groundwork for much more to come.
It's tough to actually decide where I stand on Battleborn. One the one hand I can see that it's a competently made game with plenty of charm in its varied roster and one fresh gameplay mode that I would happily play again. Yet the single player was a bore in its core gameplay loop, the two multiplayer modes have issues with their map design, and the gating of characters and abilities just feels unnecessary for a MOBA. However, it is still possible to get a kick or two out of Battleborn.
All of that makes Battleborn feel light, airy, and inconsequential. It's enjoyable in its best moments and especially in one of its multiplayer modes, but the problem comes with its lack of longevity. It's clearly a game built to be enjoyed in the long-term, like the MOBAs that inspired it, but it doesn't have the legs to run that far. This is a game built to be played repeatedly over the course of months, but I felt tired of it after a week.
The experience that Gearbox has gained while developing Borderlands is clear in Battleborn, as it presents a hybrid of a sarcastic story and excellent characters in a beloved MOBA genre. While the game as it is now is not up to par with other MOBAs out there, it will definitely benefit from updates and the constant addition of content.
Review in Arabic | Read full review
A good FPS with MOBA elements that can be enjoyed especially in multiplayer, although more on the PvP side than PvE.
Review in Italian | Read full review
An ambitious team shooter that struggles with its identity and is let down by a weak script and try-hard comedy.
Battleborn is a well-oiled machine with the potential for some great times to be had, but sometimes getting to those great times can take some patience.
Despite my issues with it, I'm having way more fun with Battleborn than I thought I would. It took a while, but I've managed to find a couple of characters whose playstyle I really like, and that's enough to keep me going for a while longer. And I've had enough exciting matches that I see its potential.