This year’s Blizzcon gave us a lot to talk about, from new games to new movies. From a “Warcraft” movie to a new “Starcraft” game, from expansions of “Heroes of the Storm” to an expanded collection of digital cards for “Hearthstone,” the two-day event celebrated almost every one of its franchises. But one of the most intriguing is fairly new.
And when it comes out, it will have some competition.
“Overwatch” is the newest game from Blizzard. It has opened up its beta trial, and the initial reviews have been exciting. Part of its interest lies in its gameplay: It takes the same sort of MOBA environment found in “Heroes of the Storm” or “League of Legends” and puts it in a first-person shooter environment.
But it’s not the only game to do that. Gearbox Software and 2K, the creators of the “Borderlands” franchise, are developing “Battleborn,” a game that uses the same concept of applying a view down the sights of a gun to a MOBA-style battle. “Battleborn” recently completed a closed technical test, and pushed back its release date from February, 2016 to spring — about the same time “Overwatch” will hit the market.
That sets up an interesting battle among battle games.
If the two games were pitted against each other in a match, “Overwatch” would have the momentum — thanks to Blizzcon and a pretty active media push, there’s much more information available about Blizzard’s battler. Despite the press, there’s still plenty of press to be found about “Battleborn,” however — enough that we can give a preview of the fight card to come. We’ll let you make your own decision about which game has the advantage.
ABOUT THE GAME
Overwatch: From the game’s website: “Soldiers. Scientists. Adventurers. Oddities. In a time of global crisis, an international task force of heroes banded together to restore peace to a war-torn world: OVERWATCH. It ended the crisis and helped to maintain peace in the decades that followed, inspiring an era of exploration, innovation, and discovery. But after many years, Overwatch’s influence waned, and it was eventually disbanded. Overwatch is gone… but the world still needs heroes.”
Battleborn: From the game’s website: “A tremendous band of badass heroes fight to protect the universe’s very last star from a mysterious evil in this next-gen shooter by the creators of Borderlands. To defend it, you’ll need to utilize every type of character and weapon you’ve ever imagined — from cyborg hawkmen to samurai vampires to mini-gun wielding man-mountains. Slash and parry, run and gun, cast and dash, or simply obliterate foes all while building and growing your personal team of heroes. Choose your hero and fight alone or co-operatively alongside friends in story missions, or battle against them in fast-paced competitive multiplayer matches.”
Overwatch: 21, with a full range of classes and characters, each with abilities that won’t surprise anyone who has played a MOBA. Characters include robots, soldiers, samurai, dwarves, and a cybergorilla. Groan-inducing stereotype: A dreadlocked “DJ” with a sound-based weapon.
Battleborn: 25, with a full range of classes and characters, each with abilities that won’t surprise anyone who has played a MOBA. Characters include robots, soldiers, witch doctors, more robots and a samurai with a mushroom for a head. Groan-inducing stereotype: A redneck hawkman who makes jokes about rocket launchers.
Overwatch: Set in a brightly colored future Earth. Gameplay happens in locations around the world. The style reminds me of an anime take on “Team Fortress 2.”
Battleborn: Set in brightly colored alien worlds far from Earth. Gameplay happens in made-up planets and places. The style is reminiscent of “Ratchet and Clank,” but the influence of “Borderlands” can’t be missed.
Overwatch: No. Because games featuring competitive and collaborative play are awesome, and you should deal with it.
Battleborn: Yes. Because other players are sometimes dick sphincters, and you shouldn’t have to deal with them.
Overwatch: Yes! Although there won’t be a single-player story, there are plenty of bits that can unfold throughout the game.
Battleborn: Yes! “Battleborn” demos play out with “Borderlands” humor (did the game just call us douche bags?), and designers promise storylines that play out for single and multiple players, including separate stories that unlock based on which characters play together.
Battleborn: About $60, available for PS4, Xbox One and PC.
Overwatch: Spring, 2016.
Battleborn: On-street sale date is May 3, 2016.
As the big rumble gets closer, we’ll update this preview with more info. Until then, which game has the edge?