Developed by Gearbox Software, the guys behind the Borderlands games, Battleborn is set in a distant future and features a colorful array of characters who have joined forces to fight against a mysterious enemy and ensure the universe’s survival.
The main game is a story-driven, multi-chapter campaign where you get to choose from 25 different characters drawn from five main factions all sworn to defend the planet of Solus. And it’s really those characters and their different skills and power ups that they possess that make Battleborn look an intriguing new release.
Stuff got a sneak preview of the game last week and whiled away a pleasurable couple of hours scything down robots and discovering how we could pick off opponents from afar with our explosive mechanical owl, Hoodini.
Indeed, the strengths and weaknesses of the individual characters, from the bowler hatted, former butler Marquis with his sniper cane to the sword-wielding member of the Eldrid faction Mellka, offer a whole level of interest to the gameplay.
It’s certainly not going for life-like realism (did you not read the bit about the owl) and it’s definitely a vibrant world filled with plenty of larger-than-life comic book inspired characters. There’s definitely something about the quirky cast that reminds us of that early 2000s shooter Time Splitters.
Thankfully, any nods to humour don’t seem to be at the expense of proper depth, the story-line seems pretty involving at first glance and that’s added to by the ability to upgrade your character’s abilities and gear through discovering loot and completing missions.
Aside from the main story mode there are also a number of multiplayer options which can be experienced with up to 10 players online. These include the fast paced deathmatch Capture, the traditional capture-the-flag sort of match which requires you and your team mates to take the zone and hold the fort.
Then, there's Meltdown, an escort style mission that's somewhat sadistic in nature when you guide as many of your minions to their doomed fate at the hands of the incinerator. Yes, you'll want to throw as many minions in as possible to score more points.
Lastly, the Incursion mode is when you'll need to hunker down and protect your base against waves of AI-controlled minions. Your own minions will come into play too, mostly as cannon fodder to target and attack the opponent's base for the win.
It all adds up to a game that should have fans of sci-fi shooters getting itchy fingers ahead of the game’s release next February when it will be available on Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC for US$60.