When I walked into the Battleborn demo at Fan Expo 2015, I knew I was going to have fun, but I wasn’t expecting to walk out with a potential GOTY pick. Gearbox’s new FPS with MOBA-like tendencies managed to blow me away in just 25 minutes. In that short, action packed session I worked seamlessly with a group of strangers to complete objectives, down bosses and basically stop the apocalypse.
The first thing I noticed when I picked up the controller was how intuitive everything was. From character selection to gameplay, my team and I just did. There was zero hesitation. The game felt just as impatient to get into the action as we were.
Out of the 5 characters available in the demo, I chose Thorn. A ranged DPS character who mixes poisonous effects and explosions in with her arrows. She’s a very mobile character, with bigger range and accelerated sprinting speed than the rest of the roster. I spent most of my time dashing forward, running along peaks and ledges to pick off enemies before falling back and using my Blight ability to poison larger mobs from a distance. While not my typical style of play, Thorn’s fleet-footed approach to crushing her enemies really won me over.
And while my teammates and I didn’t know one another from Adam and had zero means of communicating with each other, we all worked extremely well together. Whether it was activating ally turrets or slipping into support roles when facing bigger enemies, we were a cohesive unit off the bat and it was one of the most painless multiplayer gaming experiences in my recent memory.
One of my favorite parts of the demo was the Helix system. With each level your character gains in a match, you’re faced with two potential augmentations. Do you want enemies in range of your Blight to become slowed? Or do you want your Volley ability to pierce multiple targets at a time? A quick left or right with the analog stick is all it takes to confirm your decision and you’re off again. There’s no need to return to your team’s base or compare item stats, a system that works perfectly with Battleborn’s dedication to fast-paced and simple gameplay.
We already know that Gearbox is no stranger to creating fun, accessible FPSs (a la Borderlands) and I think it’s safe to say that we’ll be able to count Battleborn among their achievements once it’s released. I left ready to play it again, and again and again (one last time, for good measure), all after a short demo. Battleborn truly feels born to be an enjoyable, mayhem-filled, multiplayer experience.