Battleborn is like Borderlands but… but nothing really, for the most part Battleborn is basically Borderlands. Exact same developer, same game style, same nearly everything. Battleborn is Borderlands in nearly every way except it has a lot more characters and just isn’t as good. Oh, I guess you also have to have a constant internet connection as well. It’s like the developers at Gearbox took what they thought made Borderlands popular and mashed it together with arena fighting games, namely League of Legends. The problem is that it wasn’t just the mad run-and-gun gameplay that people loved about Borderlands. They loved the spray of loot and guns after killing a monster and the quirky characters. Borderlands just wouldn’t be the same without Claptrap or Tiny Tina.
For a game that is supposed to be released next month Battleborn seems to be lacking. I don’t know what Gearbox was going for but the environment feels very minimal. The levels in the beta all look nearly identical and I highly doubt it will improve in the complete game. Sound was also a sticking point for me which is odd because I generally don’t even noticed unless it is truly bad. Unless I was in combat I had to keep checking to make sure the sound was even on. Unless something dramatic was happening the sound was almost non-existent. Even actual artist know you put some kind of background noise in to keep the listener distracted. Gameplay was good primarily because it was copied and pasted from Borderlands. Since every character already has fixed weapons though there isn’t much in the way of loot anymore. I did kill one giant robot that showered me in a rain of what I assume was money and weird orb like items. Although I have no idea what good they were since stats reset at the start of every match.
The character list is the only thing that really sets Battleborn apart from other games and even that is just ripped from League of Legends. It didn’t seem very well balanced either, faster characters tend to tear apart slower ones regardless of stats. In lobbies players tend to always choose the fastest or most ranged characters while slower enemies were just easy targets. I want to argue that the characters aren’t as colorful as in Borderlands but it is difficult to judge that from the beta alone. Each character does come with its own unlockable background story, something even Borderlands didn’t have. Just like Borderlands there are NPC’s talking over the radio demonstrating how odd and quirky they can be. It kind of fell flat except for one running gag in which a robot didn’t fully grasp that he wasn’t going to survive the mission. No Mr. Robot, I don’t think I’ll be attending your party later because I need you to self-destruct and I fear there won’t be much of you left after that.
I’ve been keeping my eye on Battleborn for a while now; mainly in hopes of getting some kind of news on Borderlands 3. While interesting it appears to be just a lot of what has already been done and done better for the most part. Unfortunately I’m still interested in it because it is basically another Borderlands game and I love Borderlands. It would disappoint me but I would still play it just to get that feeling again. Arena fighting gamers may play it but ironically most good arena games are on the PC; I don’t see them coming down from the ivory pedestal of PC gaming to slum it with the regular folk. Not to mention it will become a cash cow with Gearbox pumping out new characters for mad prices and people will still pay. I wasn’t sure before but after playing the demo I’m sure the only way I would ever pay money for Battleborn is if I was extremely desperate… which I may just be.