Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Battleborn (PS4) - Day One Impressions

As a Gearbox Software, and Borderlands fan I took a gamble on getting this MOBA hybrid upon launch. I knew little about it, but enough to have a basic idea of what it offered. I knew it had a separate story mode (unlike OverWatch), and PvP content. I knew there was co-op play, and for that reason alone I purchased the game in hopes that it could be a new gaming experience which me, and my Destiny friends could turn to. Upon getting into the game though I found both good, and bad things about it.

When it comes down to the "Good" Gearbox did well with their MOBA/FPS creation at base level. The prologue which you have to play through to unlock the rest of the game's modes featured a seemingly "Heavy Metal" inspired cartoon with 3D elements included as well as a mission based level to complete with an end boss. I absolutely loved it! Fans of Borderlands will no doubt be pleased with the animation style, and the nods to the Borderlands series found throughout. I personally thought highly of the prologue, and was glad that the developer made it so that players had to play through it before they could play anything else.

Along with the "Good" that was the prologue I also found good quality in the in-game art direction. The game itself pops with vibrant colors, and details making everything you see notable, and memorable. The characters themselves are fun to watch, and each have their own function out on the battlefield. When it came down to the menu system it too had a nice presentation about it, though it was a little simplistic in design at times. I did get lost initially through menu and sub-menu navigation, but the more I browsed it and checked out all of my options the more it made sense to me. When it comes to stat tracking made available in said menu system you'll find that the game is definitely geared towards the eSports scene. The individual character based menus that keep constant track of your PvP progress hint at that very fact. Those who like to pay attention to statistic detail in order to better their performance will be pleased with what they find. Even the loud mouth braggarts of social media will no doubt be happy that they can gloat about their k/d, and whatnot.

As far as PvP impressions go I have currently only played through the PvP "Capture" mode. I have found it to be good at times, but also bothersome at other times. Once I gained an understanding of objectives, and that team effort was the end goal I was able to pull my team to victory via captures while they were busy kill hoarding (not the objective). While this didn't pose much of a problem for me there were a few run-ins with lobby members who were obviously cheating. What do I mean by cheating? They just would not take enough damage to die. One Rath (the dual wielding space vampire) player racked up 30 kills, and only died twice in a single match. I've seen a lot of this go down in the several matches I've played, and it's apparent that lag may be a factor in what's happening. That, of course is one of the "Bad" things I previously talked about.

Along with that instance of "Bad" I found something that troubles me to no end. Gearbox, and 2K Games pulled a Capcom. By that I mean they did the same exact thing that Capcom did with SFV. They made the game have a mandatory sign-in on game startup, and required the gamer to have an online/network connection to be able to play. With today's server issues I found out just how bad things can get in regards to that very thing. I got kicked (possibly DDOS'd) out of a match, and was unable to log back into the game for a good ten minutes. I kept getting an error message, and when I contacted 2KSupport via their internet ticket system they gave me the same generic fix the likes of which @AskPlaystation would give, and we all know how helpful that can be. The fact is that on their timeline @Battleborn/@2KSupport later admitted they were having a "Server Hiccup (whatever the hell that means)". This meant that clearing my PS4 cache as suggested would have done f**k all.

Getting back to my point on the mandatory online services ... I don't know where the gaming industry took this wrong turn down online dependent gaming road, but it sure as hell is a wrong turn. I don't see where such a feature will help the gamer at all. If anything it will bring with it more problems that will coincide with the state of the server. Why they couldn't have done something like "Ultra Street Fighter IV" did, and implement a separate matchmaking/menu system with no initial sign-up initialization is beyond me. The only thing I can figure is that the mandatory sign-in upon entry is a fail safe of some sort to keep the servers protected, and manageable. Possibly also to keep anyone they deem a threat out. Of course that is an ass backwards way of dealing with things when you could implement a proper reporting, and banning system. Geez! Why didn't I think of that? The problem with a server dependent game is that servers will go down. When said servers go down, and gamers don't have access to what they paid for there will be a negative uprising in the community. When the negative uprising happens it leaves a huge skid mark on the developer's/publisher's namesake publicly marring their reputation, and preventing sales for future games. It's "business 101" folks. It's not brain science, or rocket surgery as Boogie always references.

Supposing these developers, and publishers have insight to a looming global economic catastrophe then I could see this bad business practice getting them by. Hopefully that is not the case with all these sh*tty industry practices though, but one does wonder. There definitely seems to be a lot of money grubbing going on in the industry. A lot of gimme! gimme! gimme!, and a lot less give! give! give! It honestly feels like industry offerings are becoming more, and more restrictive. With all the EULAs (End User License Agreements) in place to cover corporate asses ... er, assets (^__^), and less freedom in what we do with the games we pay for it's not good times for the gamer population. A majority of us own a massive collection of physical new-gen games that we don't actually own. We merely paid for the rights to play it. With online becoming mandatory we'll eventually be left with a collection of value-less disc shaped coasters for our morning, and afternoon tea. Retro gaming FTW!!! Seriously.

Anyways. As you can tell I have my beef with this game that I paid $60 dollars for. A game which I don't really own, and which I might lose the privilege to play one day. If I were to be honest I'd say avoid it like the plague. If we keep buying into these sorts of gaming offerings they are going to be the only type of gaming experiences we'll have to enjoy. Just you wait, and see. I bet "CoD" will follow suit, and do the same damn thing with the new Call of Doody. OverWatch too ... DAMMMMMMMMN!!!!! Sixty dollars right down the crapper, smh.

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