Sunday, October 30, 2016

Battleborn - 10/20 hours

I just got done playing Battleborn and I'm still coming down from the high. That's the thing about a fast-paced action game, it really gets your blood pumping. It's great, except when you're close to your bedtime and itching to play another round. Waiting to play the game on my home internet connection was the right choice. Without the interruptions, it's actually a lot of fun.

Being on the good internet connection also means I am theoretically able to play online multiplayer. However, when I tried to do a random match, I got stuck on the matchmaking screen for about ten minutes. If Jondera hadn't come along and offered to play a private game with me, it's likely that I'd have given up in frustration before the math actually started.

Co-op mode is probably the best way to play the game. I felt a little guilty for not contributing as much as my partner, but being able to split the enemies' attention and revive each other mid-level took so much stress out of the equation that it practically felt like a different game. I highly recommend it.

Which isn't to say that playing solo is bad. It's just a lot more demanding, especially since so many of Battleborn's story missions revolve around defending a location or NPC. Escort missions have a bad reputation and that reputation is mostly deserved, but they can be pretty fun in a co-op game. I think that's because a defense mission naturally lends itself to role specializations (such as dividing the level into sections for each player to cover, or breaking your group into an active screen and passive blockers). Also, and this may be petty of me, but whenever I lose a defense mission by myself, I can't help but feel like the game failed me. Yet when I have a group by my side, the responsibility becomes more diffuse.

As enjoyable as multiplayer is, I think, for me, it's probably also this game's biggest drawback. It's difficult to coordinate schedules with another person, and you're not guaranteed to want to play the same length of time. And of course, as a newbie, it's easy to feel like you're dragging the experienced players down. And don't get me started on PvP - I can be competitive, but I always wind up feeling terrible afterwards. If Battleborn had a single-player campaign as long and involved as Borderlands 2's, I'd probably play it until I ground all the characters up to maximum level. But since it doesn't, I'm afraid of getting too involved. It's not my proudest trait, but I am an introvert's introvert. I thrive in solitude, and if I tried to make Battleborn a persistent hobby, I could never forget that I'm missing out on the best part of the game.

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