|System: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows|
|Dev: Gearbox Software|
|Pub: 2K Games|
|Release: May 3, 2016|
|Players: Single and Online Multiplayer|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080i||Language, Violence|
by Patrick Tretina
I got the same feeling playing Gearbox’s latest wacky first person shooter as I did the first time I experienced the magical glory of Kung Fury and his ragtag group of misfit costars- pure nostalgic nerd bag excitement. Battleborn managed to conjure a lot of the same nostalgic feeling from my youth while also maintaining a fresh take on an already exhausted genre. The title hits on everything I loved about the '90s- comic books, cartoons, video games, and cheesy trash talking antagonists. The title breathes some much needed life into what’s starting to feel like an ancient relic of a once powerhouse game genre.
My initial reaction to the game came in a strange wave of displeasure that slowly sparked into feelings of enjoyment and eventually morphed into a pure form of excitement. Battleborn is hilariously terrible and a sheer piece of artistic genius all wrapped into one. The game literally makes fun of itself as you're ripping up the missions or tearing down unsuspecting foes in multiplayer. It doesn’t take itself too seriously and lets you know upfront that you’re about to be strapped in for one wild ride, even if it doesn’t make a lick of sense when all is said and done.
The visuals are surprisingly well-done for a game built entirely on a platform of cartoon characters. Yes, they're not groundbreaking or jaw-droppingly stunning, but they don’t need to be. In fact, the game functions more effectively with the peeled back cartoon graphics. There is a lot of detail added to each world and every map provided within the game, even a few hilarious Easter Eggs if you can manage to take a stroll in between taking down enemies and nabbing power-ups before your teammates do. All in all, the graphics perfectly tie the characters into their setting and help pull the user deeper into this strange world of goofy characters and equally goofy weapons.
The option to unlock and play with 25 different characters is fantastic. It may seem like too much, however each new hero comes loaded with his or her own unique play style, button configuration, and set of weapons. Oscar Mike, Montana, and the always-friendly Mellka were a few of my favorites during my time with the game, as each one brought something unique to the battlefield. Stay away from Miko, however, that dude is all types of weird packed into one giant mushroom guy-type thing. Anyway, I found myself enjoying each new unlocked character while also being open to learning the new button configurations on the fly. I can imagine sinking nearly 50 hours into unlocking and playing each one of the unique characters before even venturing into any of the challenges or side missions.
The sweet list of characters wouldn’t be as cool without a stellar platform to enjoy them in. Luckily, Battleborn has two great game modes in Versus and Story. Versus pins two teams of 5 against one another in three separate modes - Capture, Incursion, and Meltdown. Capture is your standard king of the hill death-match, Incursion is unique to Battleborn as players must defend their bases from waves of enemy bots while simultaneously trying to destroy the opponent's base, and Meltdown forces players to beat their opponents by guiding their own minions into the pit of death before Magnus unleashes a reign of terror. It's all great fun.
Don’t let the recent internet chatter fool you, the Story mode is just as awesome as the multiplayer Versus. Sure, you’re still playing along with others online during the Story mode, you’re just not killing each other this time around. Story mode is unique and allows you to battle against a mixture of intelligent enemies and straight-up cannon fodder alongside your buddies (or random strangers if your friends are still playing that Destiny game). Each mission has objectives and main bosses, which enter into hilarious dialogue while you're engaging them. The Story mode is a really nice complement for those players looking to refine their skills before stepping into the gauntlet, and oh yes, it’s a gauntlet.