By Neil Merrett
It’s always hard to follow up something that is really loved, especially when gamers are involved.
Yet Gearbox Software, developer of the hugely popular Borderlands series, this week tried to look to life beyond its RPG/shooter hybrid franchise.
Tenuous relationship metaphors aside, IGN and Gamespot have both given their verdicts on the title, giving it a modest ‘good’ rating that welcomes the number and design of character types, despite bemoaning a limited plot and level design. But will good be enough to ensure the game will have the same appeal that Borderlands has had for the developer?
Writing for IGN UK, Dave Rudden described the game as being among the most chaotic shooters he had ever played, with the noticeable difference in playing styles between the games two dozen characters proving to be a welcome inclusion.
Rudden was less convinced with the wider storyline of the game and its attempts to include elements of hugely popular Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA)-style games even for players going through by themselves.
“I’ve enjoyed exploring the ins and outs of characters like the steampunk sniper Marquis and fungal healer Miko, and every time I play I’m focused on earning further access to the unique roster,” he said.
“However, there’s no interesting story for them to take part in, and a lack of interesting stages and multiplayer modes inspiring me to power through the slow unlocking process. I’ll return to the half of the campaign that doesn’t feel unfair and repetitive and enjoy two thirds of the scant multiplayer modes, but I can’t help but feel Battleborn still has a lot of room to grow.”
Similar sentiments were raised by Scott Butterworth at Gamespot.com, who welcomed the co-operative play, the distinct nature of the playable characters and even the humour – to a degree.
Yet Butterworth was a lot less receptive to what he called the “mixed, convoluted level structure”, as well as questioning the amount of content in the game beyond its characters variation.
“For a game with so many strong personalities, Battleborn somehow lacks a cohesive identity. Every facet from the characters to the progression to the visual presentation feels overloaded with ideas–some good, some bad, some just confusing,” he said.
“Because it throws so much against the wall, the end result is a scattered grabbag of manic gameplay, complex leveling, and cartoony humor.”
Titanfall + Star Wars = ?
Respawn Entertainment, the team behind the XBox One online robot and free running battler Titanfall – a game with possibly one of the best ejector seat mechanics ever programmed – is set to visit a galaxy far far way with a new Star Wars title.
Little is known about what the game will actually turn out to be – or whether it can trump the Lego games in terms of the thrill of recreating the series’ violent Wookie rage. What we do know is that it will be a third person adventure game.
No title has been given for them game as yet, with the company opting instead to provide what key developer Stig Asmussen accepted was something of a dry press release on the company’s website.
“We promise to pay respect to the Star Wars legacy at all times, a fact that will be constantly reinforced and honored as a central game design tenet. Fans should expect the exemplary level of quality first established at Respawn with Titanfall, a game that epitomizes our studio’s dedication to slick, larger-than-life action and fun, groundbreaking mechanics,” said Asmussen.
“Moving forward, we couldn’t ask for a better universe in which to continue this journey.” Dry indeed. But enough to give the fanboys and girls something to buzz about beyond Battlefront.