A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that BattleBorn is a first-person shooter is centered around frenetic combat, but it's cartoon-like; the fighting is against aliens and robots instead of humans, and there's no blood or gore. There's some mild profanity, too, including words like "ass," "bastard," and bleeped-out words that imply profanity. There will be some downloadable content (DLC) for an additional $20 after launch, and will also receive five additional heroes at some time after the launch for free. While the controls are easy to learn, the challenge is to learn and become skilled with the abilities and skills of each character for each battle situation, which can be time consuming and frustrating.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's it about?
BATTLEBORN is a fast and frenetic first-person shooter that drops players into a distant future, where they must choose between 25 unique fighters who band together to take down a mysterious enemy bent on destroying the last star in the known universe. By choosing a character and mastering its melee and range abilities -- such as advanced machine guns, throwing knives, magic blasts or ice bullets -- players will take down the enemies who are determined to destroy you and this star in the name of evil domination. Players can fight through a single-player narrative, play cooperatively with someone beside them (via split-screen play) or with up to five others online. The game also offers three different competitive multiplayer modes, as well, for those who prefer head-to-head action, and supports up to 10 players online.
Is it any good?
While this game might not live up to its heavily promoted hype, the first-person action is fast, frantic, and fun. First, the good news, Battleborn is dripping with personality -- between its cartoon-like graphics, entertaining cut-scene sequences, and funny dialog sequences (including one-liners). Gamers will enjoy trying on a new character for size, to see what they're capable of in battle, and experimenting with their abilities. Character selection (and growth) is one of the game's greatest assets -- and there's five more to be released soon as a free download. The game's many modes add value to the play, too, whether it's the co-op option to tackle these alien enemies and boss fighters together with a friend, or by partaking in one of three competitive modes: "Capture," where teams must capture and hold objectives on a map to win; "Incursion," where teams must defend their base sentry bots from waves of computer-controlled enemies; and "Meltdown," where teams must guide their minions to the center of the map and points are awarded for every minion who throws themselves into the incinerator.
But the main issue with Battleborn is repetition. While there's a ton of variety in the characters you control, the combat is formulaic. In a nutshell, you'll attack the enemies with your primary weapon, time a special attack, and then retreat a little to regenerate your shield before you continue on with the fight. That's basically the gist of it. Many missions are about escorting someone to safety, destroying all the alien minions, and then taking down a boss character. Its still fun, mind you, but some variety in the missions and gameplay -- or smarter artificial intelligence, perhaps -- would've been ideal. Overall, Battleborn is a solid B-grade title. It might not be one of the best games of the year, but it's still good fun for action fans for multiple platforms.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about violence in games. Is Battleborn's violence acceptable because it's clearly fantasy-based, or does the context play a role at all here. Is violence still violence, even though it's not against humans on earth? Could a game like this still desensitize players to real-world violence?
Talk about communication and teamwork. How can strong communication skills help when working with others to accomplish a goal?
- Platforms: PlayStation 4, Windows, Xbox One
- Price: $59.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: 2K Games
- Release date: May 14, 2016
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures, Bugs, Misfits and Underdogs, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires, Robots, Space and Aliens
- ESRB rating: T for Language, Violence
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