Gearbox Software love a mashup. We saw that with their Borderlands role-playing, dungeon crawling first person co-op shooter. This time, they’ve added in a little more. Introducing Battleborn, a game that feels completely mashed but somehow works so well. The RPG, no wait, MOBA… actually, Co-Op shooter…you get my drift is something different, a combination that I have never played in a game before. Usually games heavily stick to one genre, and yes, while other titles have had huge success doing this, Battleborn wants to stand out, and it does.

Battleborn is split into two games, an offline and online half. From here as a player you have the choice to take part in an extremely linear threaded co-op story line fighting waves upon waves of similar enemies, or fight each other, MOBA style. The co-op missions follow the story of the Battleborn, a team of 16 different characters all with unique talents and abilities fight outer space enemies for control of the universe. It’s as simple as that. Yes everyone and everything has a name, but they’re instantly forgettable, except the playable characters of course and that’s okay. It doesn’t hinder your experience.

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Each of the 16 characters are unique in the way they play. You have characters like Oscar Mike who is a simple foot soldier with a machine gun, very familiar to those who are coming from Battlefield or Call Of Duty right up to Miko, a mushroom headed support character known for its healing abilities. Each character plays a role as they would in an RPG: tank, DPS, healer, AoE damage – you name it, it’s here. Characters are fun to play, and it didn’t take me long to get some kind of grip with most of them. They’re easy to pick up and play which I love.

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The story mode is split up into stages which are voted before you start the game. The levels are linear, very much a dungeon crawl split up by bosses who get harder throughout the stage. The advanced difficulty level is where this game really shines. Rather than just running and gunning through a level, you actually need to think about what type of role your character needs to play. It’s essential to the team for survival and completion of the mission.

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Versus mode will be instantly familiar to those that are coming from ANY MOBA GAME ON THE PLANET. There are two halves to map in which the opposing teams have to reach in order to win. There are robots, which are basically Minions in LoL or Creeps from DOTA that automatically spawn and make their way into enemy territory. You have to kill these as well as keeping an eye on enemy players coming to kill you. It’s absolutely hectic and a test of your first person shooter maneuverability.

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Levelling your character takes place, but very different from that of Borderlands or other RPGs. Each time a game starts, whether it’s single or multiplayer, your character starts at level one. This is where more MOBA style play comes into action. You earn XP which grants you levels throughout the game which can be used in a tech tree. These levels go towards more damage for a particular skill, faster movement speed, stronger armour and so on. There is also a loot system, of course, it’s Gearbox what else did you think there would be? These come in the form of activation items which you bind to your account. Again, these add stats throughout a single game and are collected in-game and also for finishing a mission. They are ranked from common to rare in the usual colour range.

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Battleborn is fun. There are its downsides such as a clunky menu system, but that’s about it. I love the way the game makes you play it to unlock characters or loot. It’s a clever way of giving the user some kind of replayability. The characters are unique enough to not feel like you’re playing the same one over and over again and the nice touch of leveling to 10 each time you start a round just makes everything fair. Yes, it has been tremendously overshadowed with the release of Overwatch, but it’s that usual battle of the games. Battlefield or Call of Duty? FIFA or Pro Evo? Overwatch or Battleborn. Give it a chance, you’ll definitely be into it.

Battleborn is now available across all platforms including Steam and currently retails for around £19.99 with an additional £15.99 for the season pass.

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Stef Murphy

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