When I first heard about Battleborn, I was eager to learn more about it, simply because it was the first new IP developed by Gearbox since Borderlands was released back in 2009. Almost seven years later, after releasing tons of DLC including a sequel, we are being treated to something completely new. The biggest question on my mind at the time of the announcement was, how similar to Borderlands is it? Well after seeing several trailers, it was pretty clear that we were getting something different than the open world RPG/FPS hybrid.
During the crazy week of NYCC, Editor Paul Rosselli and I were invited to a preview event to check it out for ourselves. We were given a brief introduction as to what to expect during our hands on. The game has been labeled as a “Hero-Shooter” that features MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) elements. This is a very different style of gameplay that we would expect from Gearbox, but I welcome the changes none the less.
Battleborn will feature 25 playable characters at launch and will support a single player Story Mode as well as the ability to play up to four players cooperatively. The Online Modes feature a 5v5 structure and will be very unique to the genre. At the event, we were shown two new modes for Online which were “Capture” and “Meltdown”.
“Capture” is a traditional capture the flag match, whereas “Meltdown” is something unique to the game. I had the most fun with “Meltdown” because in this mode you are tasked with guiding your minions while they march to their death at the center of the map. Each team scores points every time their minion throws themselves into the incinerator. While all this happens you need to stop the opposing team’s minions from falling to their doom, all while defending your own. The matches got frantic but I had a blast.
The combat was fun and fast paced as you would expect from Gearbox. Having such a large amount of characters to choose from will provide countless hours of gameplay to master each. So far only ten of the characters were previously unveiled. At the event we were shown five new characters bringing the total to fifteen. Here are the bios for the five new characters:
- ISIC: Once the lead manufacturing Magnus of Minion Robotics, ISIC abandoned his post to crash reality itself through the application of unthinkably complex code. Though debugged by Kleese, this Magnus is still regarded as among the most nihilistic and terrifying of the Battleborn.
- Ambra: Ambra was born and groomed for service within the Silent Sisters – priestesses who weaved secrets of the stars into the art of Jennerit prolonged life called "Sustainment". Betrayed by Rendain and his coup within the Jennerit Imperium, Ambra now fights with the Battleborn to heal her people and restore order through the application of localized solar anomalies.
- Mellka: Born in space, Mellka developed an early hunger for solid ground, and found a clear calling in special operations, even joining with the Eldrid group called The Vigilant. While serving with The Vigilant, she developed close ties with an elite Peacekeeper operative named Trevor Ghalt. While proficient at several combat styles, Mellka prefers some of the more exotic Eldrid weaponry including an Eldrid Bio-Glaive which reshapes itself based on her neural prompting.
- Reyna: Reyna Valeria (known among the rogues as "the Valkyrie") is native-born to the Solus system, and has tirelessly fought for the survival and freedom of her people. A natural leader, Reyna uses her modified command gauntlet to direct even the most rag tag force into a nearly unstoppable team, shielding them from harm's way and drawing fire to troublesome enemies.
- Benedict: One of several surviving races of bird-like aviants, Benedict is both astoundingly capable on the battlefield with his rocket launcher and… a tremendous jackass. In defense of his homeworld Madan, Benedict left wing was severely crippled in battle. Through the aid of an artificial wing, Benedict is still capable of limited flight in battle, which gives him more than amble opportunity to rocket jump his way to victory. I would say the most entertaining character to use was “Orendi”, a four armed witch that is quick, agile and can do some serious damage not only up close but also in ranged combat as well. She was a blast to use during the Meltdown matches because of her crafty back dash move that gets you out of a bind quickly. There were moments where I was focused on the minions and would get surrounded by the opposing team and this move really came in handy. Hopefully other characters have similar evasive moves.While we only played for a short time, it was more than enough to get me excited for Battleborn. I think Gearbox fans and even ones not versed in the world of MOBA games should keep an eye out for.
Each character is completely different from one another, like Rath and Ambra, who focus on close range combat, to gun wielders like Oscar Mike and Reyna. I was only able to play with a couple of different characters during our time at the event, but I was happy to see the significant diversity between each that I used during the single player and multiplayer components.
I would say the most entertaining character to use was “Orendi”, a four armed witch that is quick, agile and can do some serious damage not only up close but also in ranged combat as well. She was a blast to use during the Meltdown matches because of her crafty back dash move that gets you out of a bind quickly. There were moments where I was focused on the minions and would get surrounded by the opposing team and this move really came in handy. Hopefully other characters have similar evasive moves.
Something that is similar to Borderlands is the existence of a level up and looting system in Battleborn as well. As far as we know, the Story mode will not be an open world but will feature large on rails maps that will also be used for multiplayer. You will be able to level up in both online and offline modes and with each level you gain, you chose a perk from two different options. It doesn’t follow the tradition progression but I think this fits with the MOBA style of play. Loot/Gear can be found or purchased with credits earned in both story missions and competitive multiplayer.
While we only played for a short time, it was more than enough to get me excited for Battleborn. I think Gearbox fans and even ones not versed in the world of MOBA games should keep an eye out for.
Stay tuned to our YouTube page for more gameplay footage as well as up and coming trailers. Till next time.