We Go Hands-On With Battleborn’s Story Mode – An Intriguing Co-op Narrative

A couple of weeks back, I was at 2K headquarters taking a look at Gearbox’s upcoming Battleborn. I gave you my thoughts on the adversarial multiplayer back then – it’s a unique hybrid that’s going to appeal to a variety of gamers. We also got to take a look at Battleborn story mode, and I have some thoughts about that too.

2K’s ‘not a MOBA’ mantra gains a bit more traction through their inclusion of a campaign mode. But what exactly is the story? In the distant future, all stars have been extinguished except one, Solus. Predictably, a variety of warring factions want control of Solus. When a new faction threatens the lives of the others, they form a tenuous alliance called the Battleborn.

battleborn story mode

Generic? Perhaps. But when the art team behind Borderlands is putting that run of the mill premise together, everything becomes wildly inventive. The game’s opening cinematic (which may or may not be final) is half awesome 80’s Saturday morning cartoon, half Titan A.E. style digital animation set to a sick rap beat. It was completely unexpected, but set a distinctive tone for the experience that I am totally into.


“Battleborn story mode is exciting and rewarding, and provides another reason for fans of any genre to give Battleborn a shot.”

The similarities to Borderlands artistically are obvious. Characters have comical proportions, the writing is sharp and witty – heck, I even caught a glimpse of a Borderlands style character splash screen when they first make an appearance. It’s fun and funky from an audio-visual perspective, but how does it play?

battleborn story mode

Much like the adversarial modes, Battleborn story mode is team-based. My impressions of how the game plays apply equally here as in Incursion mode. Here though, each episode is designed to be a standalone experience that can be completed in any order – a smart choice, as finding teammates on earlier levels can often become challenging shortly after release in other games. The synergy required when playing other people is perhaps slightly less important here, but working together to complete tasks is still absolutely necessary. Your team only gets 5 respawns (though you can earn more). You’ll want a solid crew to play with, especially at higher difficulties.

The level we played – The Void – was straightforward enough once I figured out how to play (see video evidence for that idiocy). We moved through a generally linear map wiping out bad guys, with a few stops along the way in open areas that screamed ‘wave based defense of X incoming.’ Indeed, we spent a good deal of time protecting generators and coordinating attacks in these areas, but it was far from routine. The teamwork required and diverse character classes made the arenas far more engaging than similar games.

battleborn story mode

We failed in tragic fashion just before the end of the mission. The reactions of my teammates made it clear that we were invested in the outcome – Battleborn story mode is exciting and rewarding, and provides another reason for fans of any genre to give Battleborn a shot.

Battleborn’s open beta gets underway on April 8th on PS4, and April 13th on PC and Xbox One, and contains both story and competitive modes. Give it a shot – you might be surprised how much you like it.