Tuesday, April 26, 2016

—Beta Review— Battleborn

I was fortunate to be part of the Battleborn Closed Technical Test several months ago, and then I took part in the Open Beta that ended April 18. Both were fun, though the CTT was different for me. I had to play multiplayer and I normally don't do that. For the Open Beta I could do all story missions in a private playthrough, which was definitely more in my comfort zone.

The following review is for the Open Beta specifically, of course.

Open Beta

Published by 2K Games | Developed by Gearbox Software
(Full Version To Be Released May 3, 2016)
For Xbox One, PS4, PC | Review: Xbox One, PS4, PC
*Rated T for Teen*
Language | Violence

HGG Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥ 7/10

First-person shoot-em-up featuring 1-4 of 25 different characters. The story mission goal: stop a ruthless dictator from taking over the planet.

First impressions? 
Not Borderlands. Not even close. Though there were certain humorous moments and other little quirks that reminded me of Borderlands. Fun, but harder than Borderlands in single player mode.

I know, I shouldn't base my review of this on my Borderlands experiences. But I can't help it. This is 2K and Gearbox. And this game will be compared favorably and unfavorably to Borderlands. That's just how it goes.

Graphics and voices? 
2K/Gearbox are really good at hiring voice actors. And I swear the voice actress of Shayne is the same one who did Gaige's voice in Borderlands 2. I didn't look it up, so I could certainly be wrong, but Shayne had many of the same vocal mannerisms as Gaige.

The graphics weren't as comic bookish as Borderlands, but still more cartoon than realistic. Very suitable.

I think they nailed the voices and graphics in this and I assume at least these two aspects are already final. 

A bit awkward, but only because of the weird bit of jumping the character did from time to time. I think it was lag, the PS4 unable to keep up with all that was happening. It did it in the Xbone version too.

Here's a short clip from one of my gaming sessions, just to illustrate what I'm talking about:

This is first-person only, and that's always a bit awkward for me. And since I play alone, I have to use a ranged character. Oscar Mike was my favorite, with Reyna a close second. Benedict was my favorite in the CTT, and I would have liked to use him in the open beta, but I unlocked him just before time was up, so I didn't get the chance this time around.

I'm bummed I found out about this beta almost too late. I only had a day to really play it, so I only managed to unlock a handful of characters.

The beta offered two story missions, each one taking about an hour to complete. Well, it took an hour if you were alone. And if you were me.

PS4 vs PC vs Xbox One:
I tried only a little gameplay on PC. I discovered very quickly that my PC just cannot handle this game. There's too much happening all the time and it just can't keep up. I have an i5 processor, 8 GB of RAM, and a 4 GB graphics card. But the processor and the card are not gaming specific, and I think I'm finally getting into games that really do need more, or at least gaming specific hardware.

Gameplay on the Xbox One didn't differ very greatly from the PS4 gameplay. It may have been a touch jumpier, but honestly, hubby only tried part of one mission and once he died, he was done. His review wouldn't be nearly so positive as mine...

As seems to be the case with 2K/Gearbox collaborations, the story was a bit lacking. There was humor, but the story itself was a bit too shallow to get me hooked on the story alone. (And yeah, there are games where the story is so good, all other issues cease to matter. I'm sure every gamer out there can name a few.)

But again, this is just the beta. Perhaps when all is said and done, and I get to experience the whole story, it will have the depth the beta lacked.

I admit, the dialogue made me chuckle. Especially when 9 out of 10 words are bleeped 'cause this is a T rated game and it's funnier with the bleeps anyway. What can I say, sometimes I enjoy stupid humor.

The jumping lag thing got in the way often enough to be irritating. I really hope this issue is addressed in the final version, but I'm not sure it will be since the survey questions never covered this. It was more of a 'who do you like,' 'who do you hate,' 'how long did you play' type of survey.

I don't care for the melee characters when playing alone; you get too close and you gonna die. (Did you hear Tiny Tina's voice there? No? Yeah, me neither.) With a good ranged character, this game is quite entertaining.

It's not open world. It's mission based. Getting through it quickly, collecting lots of crap, and shooting lots of things seemed to add to the end of mission score. Though "me" and "quickly" don't really mix in games. I don't necessarily hate the mission based gaming setup, but I do prefer open world.

Better than Borderlands, but not Borderlands 2. I'd say it's about equal to the Pre-Sequel. Honestly, I can live without Battleborn and be much happier with a new Borderlands game. But Battleborn does have its fun moments and if multiplayer makes you happier than anything else in the gaming world, this game is one you'll definitely want to check out.

And yeah, I know I'm judging this a lot on my feelings for Borderlands, but that's the problem. There are a LOT of things in this game that remind me of Borderlands (the series in general, not specifically the first Borderlands game), but at the same time falls far short. Basing it entirely on its own merits, I'd say it's fun, entertaining, challenging, and way easier in multiplayer. 

My rating? 
♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥ 7/10 life hearts. Remember, I'm only rating the beta here. The final product might be better, but considering most of my complaints involve the mission style story mode, I have a feeling the only thing I'll get is less lag in actual gameplay. If I'm lucky.

Where to preorder?
*All screenshots are from the PS4 edition, captured by The Heartless Gamer Girl. All images, videos, and artwork are © 2K Games and Gearbox Software. These companies do not in any way endorse this fan blog.

Until next time... 

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