Battleborn Open Beta: The Return of the Borderlands


Do you like the Borderlands series? Do you like Destiny? Do you like the gameplay mechanics presented by industry-dominating MOBA titles and wish they would in some way pervade into your beloved Borderlandss and Destinys? Gearbox Software delivers to you a limited scope of Battleborn, free of charge, in the currently running opening beta; I think you will find it caters for your oddly specific needs.

The open beta for Battleborn began on PS4 on April 8th and will be available until April 18th. PC and Xbox One players need not fret, for you will, too, be serviced, but only from April 13th until the 18th. That means it starts tomorrow! Get on it!

Yes, this does mean PS4 players are being favourited just a tiny bit; they will also have access to one character that isn’t available in the beta for PC and Xbox One players. The full game on all three platforms would/should be identical content-wise. Also, the download for the beta will cost you 8GB, so whether that’s valuable or not is up to you and your household data allowance.

Battleborn will be released in full on May 3rd, giving Gearbox two weeks to tweak any matchmaking issues, and considering the launch of any online triple A games in the last, what, two years… ? Yeah, there’s gonna be some matchmaking problems. There have been some complaints already on hit-box accuracy, lacklustre narrative engagement, and all the rest you’d expect from literally any game; the best games are the one that don’t tickle everyone’s fancy, and consumers sure love to share premature complaints.

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The plot of Battleborn navigates a balance between end-of-the-universe-level drama, and regular, everyday Gearbox ridiculousness. To many optimistic ears this is a blessing, though to my less pleasant hearing-holes it is not. Self-aware silliness is very different to genuine comedy and gaming is no exception to this, something that gamers seem to forget too often.

In saying this, I have had some of fun getting hands-on with the beta for the last couple days. The game offers a cooperative story mode for up to five players to shoot through linear levels, concluding with a boss fight. The two available story missions take perhaps 30 minutes to an hour to complete, each. This is from a total of nine that will be available at launch. Not too bad for a predominantly competitive online game, but I can’t see myself repeatedly trekking through the missions for loot/progress/self-respect; I have heard there’s a market for that though…

The other and arguably more substantial part of the game is the versus mode, i.e. the MOBA. If you have played any MOBA, you’ve played this one. The first-person perspective has it feeling, I suppose, more like Smite than League of Legends or Dota II, if you feel like splitting hairs. The over-reliance on competent team-mates and the inevitable, pure anger that overcomes when your progress is proved utterly unrewarding: that’s what MOBA’s are about. So thanks for the reminder, Battleborn.

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My generalised recommendation is that if you enjoyed Gearbox’s famed Borderlands series, Battleborn is the common-sense next step in your gaming career, to the point where you may as well pre-order because this is more of the same, with an unprecedented plethora of characters and stronger online competitive focus. On the other hand, if you didn’t enjoy Borderlands, I’d recommend you be wary, because the gameplay and overall aesthetic are near-identical; all the more incentive to check out the beta this week!

Oh and for the final category: if you’ve never played Borderlands, what even are you? How have you dodged that over-rated bullet?

The latest trailer for the game that introduces all 25 characters is embedded below.
For full information on exclusivities and incentives check the Battleborn website.


2 thoughts on “Battleborn Open Beta: The Return of the Borderlands

  1. I enjoyed the Battleborn beta quite thoroughly, but I didn’t really see any similarities between this game and Borderlands. Except maybe the absurdity of it. Other than that, it’s an entirely different type of game. I mean borderlands was a standard RPG whereas Battleborn is a mix of both FPS and MOBA. Even the campaign, which is designed to play like an RPG, is much more limited. It’s not open-world like you find with the Borderlands titles. Still a great game, though.

    • Hey Brian, thanks for the comment! I agree that Borderlands and Battleborn are fundamentally different, and I think you summed up the genre differences well. The reason I recommend Battleborn to long-time Borderlands fans is that despite their differences, the very experience of playing the two games feels similar. If you liked shooting baddies in an open-world RPG, you’d probably like to do the same in an FPS/MOBA that delivers a similar experience. That boils down to the combat mechanics, aesthetic, pacing, and absurdity of course, among many other elements, that aren’t determined by genre.

      These elements in Borderlands didn’t resonate with me, and that is my strongest memory from playing the series, so when I felt that similar experience playing the Battleborn beta – especially the campaign – it was the main thing my mind latched on to. I do know that I’m in the minority! The people love Borderlands, and I’m confident those same people would love Battleborn too; it’s innovative enough to be celebrated, but I think it borrows heavily from Gearbox’s past developing that particular Borderlands gameplay experience.

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