Battleborn: PS4 Review
Developed by Gearbox Software
Released by 2K Games
The latest FPS from Gearbox is a mish-mash of the multi-player ethos of Gauntlet and the visual sensibilities of the Borderlands games.
Wrapped in the studio's trademark humour, the game's space setting and convergence of the end of the universe vibes in the Solus System means the pressure is on from the beginning. As bad guys the Varelsi consume stars, threatening everyone's very existence, it's up to the usual rag tag group of mercenaries to try and save the day.
The game's cartoony aesthetics and colourful overload at the start could be close to a visual meltdown for many, but it showcases what Gearbox has achieved with this title - a sense of meshing so many different sensibilities and genres into the somewhat traditional FPS.
It's simple to shoot and it's not quite as simple to power up (though it is easy to come across power ups) so it's a slightly confused message on that front. Augmenting gives you a chance to build your powers into something a little more ferocious and when played in tandem with other characters online, it's really where the game delivers.
You can play through the story solo or co-op and either way, it's a chance to get to know the colourful characters a bit more. Playing through as some of them (there are 25 in total for the unlocking) gives you an idea of some of their nuances - one, a heavy machine gun toting lunk head comes complete with stereotyped lunk head dialogue that amuses, but ultimately starts to grate; others are a little more effective such as the Butler-esque character, Marquis, who gives a level of class to the affair.
But that's the thing with Battleborn - it embraces the absurdities of the genres it is sending up and bundles them into a package that's both colourful and playable.
Online activity's been fun as well - with a 5v5 Player ethos worth exploring in its different forms. From incursion (a defence game) to meltdown and arena, there's more than enough to get into - and it's here that the game comes to life, particularly with your ability to augment your powers in tandem with others.
Overall, Battleborn is a tremendous amount of disposable fun; it allows you to immerse yourself as far as you want to go in it all - with aesthetics that will either see you fully on board or will take you a few moments to adjust. Its lunatic MO and its ease of play are a great boon for it, and while some will dismiss it because of its overall feel, it has the potential to be one of the first truly pick up and play FPS for a very long time.