Destiny 2 Trailer: Snark, Splendor and the CGI cut-scene that gives us some direction for the future fight against Gary

Bungie and Activision have finally dropped their official announcement on Destiny 2.  They started off with a very clever teaser trailer that focuses on Cayde-6, drinking in a bar with our boy Sweeps, the sweeper bot from the tower, as he recounts his heroics in battle, which presumably took place just moments before he poured his drink.  His self bravado get punctuated by a high velocity round blowing out the side of the building he is in as Sweeps, my own name as I do not think any of them actually have names, looks up in shock as a new mess is made and goes to start cleaning up while Cayde picks up his pistol and starts to make his way towards the still ongoing fight further up the road, while commander Zavala yells at him over the com. Extremely well done and sets the mood for their full trailer reveal.

The full trailer gives us a much better picture of what is going on. The Traveler has taken a beating, and is potentially dead, our ghosts are nowhere to be found, and the bloody Cabal have invaded the last city of earth, destroyed the tower and blew up all our stuff! This heinous act of is perpetrated by none other than. . . . GARY!, no wait. GHAUL! A Primus, at least, of the Red Legion is the antagonist we have to face off against, and he brings with him a seemingly host of new enemies to battle. While only a CG trailer, we do see some sort of reptilian dog creatures and some huge melee based warriors who wield two large cleaver’s charged with energy. We also see variations on more traditional enemy units like the Cabal Phalanx, as their traditionally ‘iron slab’ shields have been changed to an expanding energy shield.

Destiny 2 redguard

Visually this trailer looks pretty awesome, there is no denying that, however it doesn’t actually give us a ton of concrete information, and there is just a lot of speculation as to how the story will unfold. If, like me, you enjoy the lore of Destiny I highly recommend checking out a gentleman named ‘My Name is Byf’ on YouTube as he does an incredible job of deep diving the existing lore, and extrapolating on new lore that is still being released.

We do know some information however, as places like Gamestop and Amazon have revealed, we know that there is a character named Hawthorne, who has survived outside the city and without the Guardians protection for many years. We also know that we are on the hunt for new weapons, and humanities scattered heroes thanks to the flavour text in the Destiny 2 collectors edition.

Here is where the speculation aspect comes in, as everything from this point onward is me spit-balling and sharing my wants over what a new Destiny game should be. On the subject of reuniting humanities scattered heroes, I think this is a nod to all of the characters we hear about in the lore. Characters like Efrideet, Tolan, Osiris, Eris Morn, The Awoken Queen Mara Sov and maybe even the Nine. Finding characters like these could be the single player campaign not only gives you a solid foundation to build your story upon, but a great way to include the lore directly into the story, and make many of their player base happy with the lore integration. The fact that Destiny’s lore was on a website and not in the game rubbed many the wrong way, as it is fun to read about what the hell is going on.

Destiny 2 New heroes

Putting aside the trailer though, what really does Destiny 2 need to accomplish, to not only fix the mistakes made on the first game, but to set themselves up for success over this games, presumably, three-year life cycle. It’s first major hurdle is Bungie’s continued adamant stance that it is “like an MMO”. This continued perception not only makes their positives seem muted; such as great gun play, which is a strength of this franchise, gets relegated to a lesser position in the conversation because the empty world, poor story telling and generally un-fulfilling loot grind overshadow it; and its negatives, as previously mentioned, get thrust into the limelight for everyone to criticize. Destiny 2 should be looked at as a Drop-in/Drop-out co-op action adventure game that happens to have hub stations to meet up with more people than you can fit in a team.

The other integral thing Bungie needs to get right is their story. Let’s be blunt here, they fucked up. Their original story was good or bad, no one outside their team knows, and they decided to change it last-minute into some sort of disjointed Frankenstein narrative. It was like Zack Snyder was cutting this game together. Visually looked great, but you could barely connect two plot points together without spending twenty minutes looking through grimoire cards to figure out what was going on. If Destiny 2 is going to continue to earn any good will back, some earned via the Taken King and Rise of Iron, then their story has to be on point. In my mind a 40-60 hour story arc, as a single player campaign, is the time-frame to try to hit. This gives your casual players a good amount of content to go through and experience and allows your hardcore grinders a solid experience they will still rush through but, hopefully, keeps them engaged longer in strikes, dailies and the like on top of their PvP and Raid schedules.

Lastly, something I would personally like to see is the advancement of gun and armour. The infusion system introduced in the original Destiny was a really great step in the right direction, but I personally would like to see more done with this aspect. I look at games like Mass Effect Andromeda, and how as you gain levels you gain access to build/research second, third, etc tier weapons which make them slightly better. If you coupled this type of mechanic with Destiny’s weapon/armour attribute system, not only would this flush out the armoury, it would allow users to really invest in their equipment and gives us, the players, a chance to really look and feel different from the thousand other players.

That said, we have to wait until May 18th to see some actual game play for the game, and that game play will help us really get a grasp on what we should be expecting in Destiny 2.

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Nintendo Switch Conference: High expectations and low returns

Like many of us I went into the Nintendo Switch presentation with high hopes, one could say too high. News leaks and tidbits of info got me to believe in the hype and raised my expectations of what was to come. Sadly though I broke the cardinal rule when it comes to conferences/game & console releases and allowed the hype to get out of hand and thus brings me, and seemingly many others, into the camp of confusion and disappointment.

The beginning of the conference started off well, as we got the price point of 299.99 American and a release date of March 3rd with the added bonus of a simultaneous launch in most major markets. Add this to the removal of region lock and fact that you can link up to eight Switch’s together to play in the same game and the console had a lot of promise to be a fun machine to bring around with you, but then we get into the oddball announcements. 

Nintendo is jumping into the ‘paid online service’ game along with Microsoft and Sony, but not until the fall as they have nothing currently ready to pay for. To compound this it was announced that subscribers to the service would receive one Nintendo or Super Nintendo game each month, however it was only for the month. While odd, this does run similarly to Microsoft’s games with gold program so maybe this won’t be as big of an issue as I think it is.   There is not much information on how this is all working, so like the free game a month, this may not be as big of an issue once more information is released. The one aspect of the Switch which has everyone scratching their head is Nintendo’s decision to make their voice coms system only usable through other media devices such as phones and, I assume, tablets. It boggles the mind on how this was the best solution in their mind especially when you consider that each game will decide if they want to include it or not.

Talking a bit more about the system brought to light some fears that were already in the community, the battery life, some basic quality of life upgrades in a capture/share button and everyone’s favourite feature; rumble. The battery life is touted as being two and a half hours to six hours which will likely be closer in reality to the lower end of the battery life. Battery life is always a tricky subject to tackle as people want to be optimistic about how long their charge will last, and much like phones the more you use your system the less the charge retains. It will likely be two and a half to three hours for most ‘big games’ and four to five hours for smaller or less intensive experiences while retaining the full six when using YouTube or other low end functions. As Nintendo showed off the controller, it was easy to see that it was not make for the average north american/European hand as they are incredibly small. A small saving grace is that the strap you attach to the Joy Con gives the entire controller a bit more girth.

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While we hummed and hawed over the console itself, Nintendo started talking about their games. Some part of the launch day line up, others within the launch window and finally some, which for the non-Japanese reading audience, were oddities with no date, or name, really set.  Eurogamer has a list of all games apparently announced for the Switch at some point and broke them down into their respective launch windows.

The launch day titles for the Nintendo’s new console seem to run the gambit of a traditional launch. You have the heavy hitter title in Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, followed up with games like Just Dance 2017 for the family entertainment and Skylanders Imanginators as a title for the younger audience. Add in a dash of nostalgia with a new look in Super Bomberman R and you have a moderate line up to keep most type of players engaged. The last launch title is 1,2 Switch, a new party style game which uses the Joy Con to perform activities such as milking a cow, seeing who has the quickest draw ala the wild west gun fights as well as a host of other face to face variations of games. This eschews the traditional screen experience to, as Nintendo is know for, try and bring a unique experience to the user(s) while they play. Heavily mocked name aside, I personally think there are some interesting applications and mini games to be found here, even if one of them is milking a cow.

We then get into the post release first party games, which range from a month or two after launch all the way to the the holiday season we get to some meaty games. Right away Mario kart 8 sticks out for two opposite but equally important reasons. On the one hand, having a kart game near the launch of the Switch is very important and gives the audience one of Nintendo’s most family friend titles. On the opposite side of that coin however is the fact this Mario kart is a ‘game of the year’ edition, bundling all the existing dlc into one disc, with a new piece of dlc in a few characters maps and battlemode changes. The lack of a new game worries some as it seems like the Switch has been relegated to ports of games on the Wii-U. The summer brings us Splatoon 2 which again seems to suffer the same ‘port +’ issues as Mario Kart, and then potentially nothing. Every other first party title is late 2017 or TBC, which does not instill confidence which is infuriating as games like Fire Emblem Warriors, Super Mario Odyssey and the rumored Pokémon Stars are heavy hitters needed. 

Third party games, the life blood that Nintendo needs, makes a moderately strong showing with fifteen games announced for 2017. We however immediately go back to the concerns discussed in the first party section. Seven of these titles are ports and while that is less than half, it is by the narrowest of margins.  Couple that with the other eight games do not scream triple a title and no real release date talked about, fans can’t help but feel a bit jilted, even if they are looking forward to said titles. For my own personal taste the other games by third parties with a TBC as the release date are my most anticipated as games like Dragon Quest X and XI, Seasons of Heaven, Shin Megami Tensei, and the ridiculously named Project Octopath Traveller. The wait for these however is one, on a personal level, of the biggest frustrations about the Nintendo Switch.

Much like movies, no sane person goes into a hobby or entertainment experience and hopes it fails. With that said I find that for every step forward made at this conference was coupled by two steps back with poorly defined objectives and an underwhelming plan for the year. I want Nintendo to be a juggernaut and bring their experiences to the masses, but as of this moment we are seeing a similar message as the Wii-U and that worries me as a fan of the company and a fan of their properties 

E3 – Bethesda swing big with new IP and VR but drags with over saturation of Dishonored 2

Bethesda, the publisher, is the bringer’s of such fantastic titles as Fallout 4, Doom, Wolfenstien and Dishonored. Last year’s conference was incredible for them as they dropped the megaton bomb known as Fallout 4 on us and we lost our minds. This year they have kept that trend alive with a slew of new announcements designed to empty the wallet, revitalize older games and give us new fun tools we didn’t even know we wanted!

Quake Champions

First out the gate is Quake Champions, the third in “Hey we have these older awesome games we can make and you guy ate up Wolfenstien and Doom, so let’s go for one more” series. As with many of the first person shooters put out by Bethesda, Quake harkens back to its roots, then adds those flavor nuggets of modern game mechanics to give us (hopefully) the perfect blend of fast paced arena based combat. The only downside in my opinion is its PC only, but it is understandable when they are wanting the game to run at 120hz with an unlocked frame rate.

Elder scrolls Legends

The Elder scrolls Legends and Elder Scrolls Online both made an appearance which is cool, though I will admit neither game is in my wheel house. Legends is a digital trading card game, similar to Hearthstone and while it is still in beta, if you are into those types of games it looks to boast a fairly robust battle system for you to sink your teeth into. The other Scrolls was their MMO, Elder Scroll Online, and they revealed that there will no longer be a hard level cap for players trying to group with their friends. If you are high level and you want to jump down to help a friend just getting in, you get scaled down and vice versa. The problem I see with this though is that if you don’t have to do the lower their stuff as a new player because you can just join up with your high level friends, how is loot and the economy in general going to sustain itself. *shrug* either way, good news for ESO fans.

Skyrim remastered

Keeping in the Elder Scrolls universe, Skyrim is getting a remaster for both PS4 and Xbox One! This game is revamping the games look with higher-res textures and the like, as well as the top mods, sans the nudity ones, for players to re-immerse themselves into a monster world. As someone who has sunk over a thousand hours into Morrowind, Oblivion and Skyrim combined, I am pretty excited to delve back into this much better looking world .

Prey logo

Switching gears completely, Bethesda kicked off a series reboot/refresh (whatever you want to call it) with a kick ass trailer for Prey, giving off a killer survival horror-shooter type vibe. I have not played Prey in MANY years, so I don’t know what to expect from this new iteration of the franchise. I am hoping to have a rock solid single player campaign to sink my teeth into for this. Cannot wait!

Fallout 4

We then transition into Fallout. They announce a few new DLC packs, one of which is being able to take the iOS/android game Fallout Shelter, and basically do that in-game! This is huge as it allows you to get super meta with your game and build a settlement truly from the ground up. They also announced Nuka World, a seemingly run down theme park you can fix up and start using. I didn’t look too much into it as I was still geeking out over the Vault DLC. On the small-scale aspect of new content, they also announced a pack that will give you items like lifts, and allow you to make weird contraptions. I don’t know what the appeal of that is, but hey, you can do more stuff in your town now. Closing out their Fallout section they dropped a bomb on us, and that bomb is Fallout VR! Not a ton was revealed about this but I know many people who are looking forward to getting this going and replay Fallout in VR.

Dishonored 2

Bethesda’s last game was Dishonored 2. The game looks great, as they have expanded upon their unique look at the world and how they blend their awesome architecture with stylized characters and powers. If you are a fan of the first game, you will be super stoked for this second game. There is a problem here though, this demo/trailer/announcement KILLED the momentum of the conference, which was moving along at a decent pace until this point. The demo dragged on, and turned my excitement for the game into a “meh” over all. Another theme E3 has had this year is pacing problems, and Bethesda was no exception to this rule.

The conference itself was mostly well done minus the issues I mentioned above. Lots of cool games to look forward to, even if some of them are PC only, and that leaves us other games like Wolfenstien for next year so it’s likely we will see Bethesda again, which is news I can get behind.

E3 – EA conference about games, sports, sports and games and a shit crowd

I am a little salty at the moment. I was playing Overwatch just before watching the EA press conference and was getting my ass handed to me by a trio of Tracers, and that salt carried over to their conference, and it’s not actually what you expect.

Shitbag audience

The people at the North American theater for EA’s conference were shit. Plain and simple shit. They were incredibly quite, almost uninterested in the conference itself and generally made an “okay” conference worse due to their collective attitudes. Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t expect the Woo girl from the Bethesda conference, but at least some polite claps as stuff, otherwise why the fuck are you there. On the opposite side of the pond, the UK crew with Peter Moore at least had some cheers and clapping going on for some of the games being shown, which was a welcome reprieve from the collective NA toadstools. That rant out-of-the-way, lets talk about the actual games.

Titanfall 2

Starting off, I have to say Titanfall 2 is high on my list of games to pick up. I really enjoyed the first one and with the ability to play on PS4 now, I am going to be all in. Both the single player and the multiplayer trailers looks pretty awesome, though I will admit that the former was a bit duller as we didn’t get the bombastic combat moments and explosions from the latter. The multiplayer trailer does show one important thing though, everybody is “stealing” idea’s from everybody, zip lines, gravity grenades, ground smash’s, it seems like the only unused idea Team Fortress 2 has left is its beloved hat economy. Besides that though, looks quite enjoyable, and I hope it runs as smoothly as shown. One might worry about this game and Battlefield 1 being launched so close together but I have a feeling they actually wont, however I will talk about that below.

Fifa 17

Both types of football made their faces shown, and as a FIFA fan, I found myself drawn to proper football, and not American grid iron. What interested me about FIFA is not only the gameplay, from one-off and seasons, but this new “Journey” mode, similar to other EA sports title single player like career modes. It will be an interesting twist for the series to go with as you battle, strategize, and play the game both on and off the pitch. With a new collision engine, better ball control and improved shot placement I think FIFA 17 will have another blockbuster year in sales.

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The other football shown was Madden 2016/2017 and their new challenge draft modes. This image above was from yesterday’s bracket games from the eight best players in the world as they battled it out for fifty thousand dollars. I don’t follow this myself, but its cool how EA is getting more into the e-sports scene as it helps those who enjoy that kind of thing and allows for more people to become involved with it. Madden looks good still and I am sure it will also do well in the up coming season.

Fe

This game looks interesting, Fe one of the small dev teams that EA is helping support is putting together a cute little title which seems to run in the same vein as Journey or Flower. You are wandering around the world with no prompted direction, so the user is literally the driving force for the story as you resume your dark fantasy looking woodland friends, and battle what I assume are the representation of humans destroying the ecosystem. A fun looking title, and a good move for EA to start helping the little guy out as they continue to make strides to change their “worst company in america” image.

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Now we start getting into the real meat and potatoes of the conference. . . . or at least we would have if there was anything of actual note to show for EA and their massive Star Wars push. Every game is at LEAST a year out and their entire section of this presentation was a series of dev diaries and other essentially sizzle reel of star wars images. This was the second most disappointing aspect of their conference as while the sports games and Fe were interesting, Star Wars should have been a juggernaut of content to get people excited. We instead get humdrum into and “hey stuff is happening at some point between here and when we all turn to space dust”.

Andromeda

Speaking of space dust the “information”, if you could call it that, about Mass Effect Andromeda was so sparse and useless that I was literally at a loss for words for how terrible that portion of the conference was. Sitting in the basement with friends watching and I turned slowly to them and asked if I had stroke, because I didn’t hear any information and clearly I must have blacked out. EA drops two of its three big balls with poor messaging, lackluster information and seeming inability to put cohesive thought together.

Battlefield 1

Thankfully the last, or at least seemingly biggest, ball rolled through with a strong finish. Mid conference their half trailer was another blunder, but a full trailer at the end of the show made up for that. Another big, bombastic, and beautiful shooter is on our doorsteps that should keep a good chunk of the community happy. While I have concerns for this games release date, which I will comment on below, I am looking forward to getting a squad together to roam the trench’s.

If you stayed around after the conference to watch the 32 v 32 battle with a bunch of celebrities and YouTube gamer’s you got to see four important things. Firstly is Snoop Dog smoking a blunt on camera and being an average player with a close second, in terms of importance, being Snoop Dog after he finished his blunt and started wrecking house. The third note worthy thing is how even in a pre-alpha build the amount of great visual cues and destruction they have. We saw planes hit buildings and not get destroyed, which is to be expected at this stage, but rain pattering off your weapon, fog, dust and debris obscuring vision, and the zeppelin crashing down on the map WHEN it gets destroyed and permanently altering that area of the map which is really cool to watch. The fourth and final thing however is the release date. The build they showed for the play session said pre-alpha, and with only four-ish months before it’s launch I have almost one hundred percent certainty that this will be pushed. Either to November or sometime mid next year.

That being said, I thought there was some good info, some shit crowds, and a serious lack of Star Wars and Mass Effect news, which was irksome to say the least. Let’s hope the big boy conferences are much better.

Paying to dance in the Tower as Destiny brings microtransations for emotes and shaders with free updates along the way.

destiny dancing

Dancing all night will not be the only thing you can do in the tower when Oct 13th hits and you are out of bounties to complete that day. Bungie has just announced that for Year Two, Destiny will be running microtransactions. Before the lamenting begins, it seems there is a silver lining as it is all cosmetic skins and emotes for your characters/speeders.

Tess, the merchant sitting near the post master will be returning to her role of ‘specialized goods’ as our liaison to the Eververse Trading Company. How do you purchase these coveted goods you ask? Why through the classic microtransaction method in game currancy! Silver is how you get your golden skins (as there will assuredly be one), your sweet 90’s inspired dance move and maybe even that cross legged sitting pose for your Awoken Titan you always wanted.

There are a few pieces of good news to be had with these microtransactions however, the first among them being Bungie is going to be making a small donation to all of our silver coffers when this goes live on Oct 13th. This should allow, as Deej says “you can purchase an emote or two and become legend through the power of dance.”. The other good news about being able to purchase cosmetic is that they are all frivolous. No dance emote will stall your raid experience (only under geared members will do that), no sparrow shader will over power your opponents in the crucible.

The last piece of news here, which was somewhat over looked in the announcement was the fact there seems to be no DLC packs for Year Two. Instead Bungie has opt’d to give our free content every couple of months for Destiny. Whether this means we are getting bite size content, such as Witcher 3’s free updates, or more traditional pieces of content that will push Destiny’s burgeoning story line with Oryx only time will Tell.

Personally, as someone who plays Destiny fairly regularly, I am worried about the free updates, as the paid content from the Dark Below DLC was not very enticing, and we paid for that. The Taken King has brought a lot of good elements to Destiny, and I would like to see it continue on that path.

Bringing out your feelings, Satoru Iwata passes away over the weekend.

Today is a sullen day to head back  to work, not only for us the consumer and fan, but for the co-workers, the competitors and the friends and family of Mr. Satoru Iwata. Over the weekend news broke that Mr. Iwata, CEO of Nintendo Co., Ltd., had passed away due to a bile duct growth which he was previously treated for. Iwata, age 55, was beloved by many for his openness to discuss with the fans and his great respect for the medium. His ‘Ask Iwata’s’  garnered him respect from the consumer base like no other, his trademark laugh kept the Nintendo Directs entertaining, and the antics the senior management got up to made even the most curmudgeonly person smirk. Who couldn’t laugh at Muppet versions of Iwata and Reggie.

On a personal level, I have muddled feelings which sit in the pit of my stomach like an anchor. I did not know Mr. Iwata, though my ‘claim to fame’ may be that I got his street pass at this years E3, but that  does not gain me insight into the man’s life. So on that side of this ‘coin’ I should feel saddened at his loss in a general sense and wish his family and friends my condolences as a fan.

When we flip this coin over though, a deep sadness rush’s in to submerge that anchor. As a developer he created some incredible games and characters. He worked on Earthbound and the Kirby series, as well as having influence on The Legend of Zelda and Mario Kart. These games, in particular Zelda, were monumental pieces of my childhood, and have stuck with me for almost thirty years. They helped shape my imagination, creation, and sense of character as I saved the world, resuced the princess and red-shelled my friends in all night gaming sessions.

I am not the only one who feels this sense of loss. Over on DualShokcers, they compiled a list of friends, competitors and industry veterans that have all been touched in some way by the work Mr. Iwata did. He brought joy in many forms to many people around the world and he will be sorely missed.

As I said above, I do not know Mr. Iwata personally but I feel like he has made a lasting impact on my life, and I will do my small part to honor his memory, and keep the fun in everything I do.

Rest in Peace Satoru Iwata

Mario pays respect

The House of Borderlands ups the ante with Battleborn a story to save the last star

Battleborn banner

 

2K and Gearbox have had momentous success with the Borderlands series since 2009. Each game has enjoyed its own unique DLC and new characters. Their latest game, The ‘Pre-sequal’ even let us play as claptrap. Now the team has put aside their sirens and commando’s for something a little more fantastical than D&D themed expansion packs. . . Welcome to Battleborn.

Battleborn the first next gen title to come from 2k and Gearbox in the first person shooter genre. The game revolves around a group of ‘badass heroes’ defending the universes last star from being mined/consumed by our villan Rendain. While not much is known of this enemy, There is a plethora of heroes to choose from, whether it be cyborg hawkmen, or combat botanists, one of the twenty five characters will tickle you fancy/play style. Before getting into the characters though, lets get a bit more back story on what the world actually has to offer.

Battleborn gives you the best of both worlds when it comes to its story element. You can sit and play by yourself, or you can jump into a group with four other people and battle your way through levels and tons of enemy minions. If you have the burning need to crush your foes, see them driven before you and hear the lamentation of their NPC’s then the five versus five multiplayer might be more up your alley. There are currently three game types for multiplayer announced.

INCURSION:

Teams of heroes must defend their base from waves of AI-controlled minions while working together alongside their own minions to destroy their opponent’s base.

DEVASTATION:

Teams of heroes face off in a fast-paced death match and must capture and hold objectives on the map to win.

MELTDOWN:

Teams of heroes must guide their minions as they march to their death at the center of the map. Points are scored for every minion who throws themselves into the incinerator, and the team with the most points wins.

At E3, they have a live demo that was open to the public to play, and gave a brief introduction to each of the ten characters available to play over the week. Each character has its own unique flair and characteristics. At the end of the post there will be some screenshots of the characters power sets and a brief bio that were provided to those who played, but I would first like to talk about the gameplay itself from the 20 minute match I got to play.

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I played as Miko, the last surviving bud of race of plant/mushroom people, who hails from a once planet-sized fungal colony.  In many moba’s I play a support character so having a healing mushroom, or combat botanist as he is referred to in the game, as a main was right up my alley.  Gameplay for every character is basic, you have your basic attacks, jump, duck and sprint. That is where the similarities end. In my group we had Marquis, Thorn, Orendi and Oscar Mike. The first thing you do upon entering the level is quick-assigning your skills. Hitting ^ up on the Dpad brings up your perks for each time you level and you make a snap LT/RT decision based on what you want to do. My skill upgrades were based around healing (one of my abilities) and doing poison damage/debuffing (my other ability). AS the teams only support I took all of the healing talents to keep my team alive.

As we progressed through the level, each of us continued to level up and assign our points to respective skills, increasing one ability or the other. Near the end of the demo, people/ who had focused heavily in one tree had an incredibly powerful ability, while their other lagged a bit behind. Throughout the level there were many small “collect this” or “kill that” type trackers appearing for each player. I was tasked with grabbing crystals from enemies killed, which later turned out to be useful for our end of level encounter. I am not sure if they are the same for everyone, or if each character has their own rotation of quests to work on.  Your two powers plus ultimate are an entegral part of each characters overall play style. Lobbing Debuffs onto an enemy group while auto attacking makes your damage spike, while characters like Oscar Mike enable a cloaking field to get position and unload grenades up Lt. Mobs.  Each type of combat, feels solid and fun, and will feel familiar to players who have gone a few rounds in other first person shooters. The Melee combat is, to me, like a faster paced skyrim, which I know doesn’t do it justice but I have nothing to really compare it to at the moment. I was seated near the person playing Marquis, and if you get the chance to play this game before its launched, definitely try him out. A robot butler with a sniperrifle cain and mechanical owls called Hoodini’s…HOODINI’S!!!!

While this is not a finished product yet, I did notice some things that irked me. Running in the game feel very sluggish. If you are not with the team, they will quickly leave you behind, and sprinting to catch up doesn’t feel like you are making up the distance. I assume this is partially to do with your teammates also sprinting, but also the lack of momentum your character seems to have while running. One other thing I noticed for Miko in particular was his “heal” ability did not auto-switch when I tried to target another character without breaking the stream. Not a huge deal, but a seemingly minor oversight. On the topic of the healing stream, the hitbox to target an ally is very small. If you are aimed just in front of their feet, you do not heal them, and when the battle lines start to become chaotic, trying to maintain lock on a target can get pretty intense.  This again is not a show stopper, just a oddity in games that have some sort of ‘stream’ heal/attack mechanic from a character.

Lastly here, before we get to the images of the characters themselves, lets quickly talk about the character progression and leveling you will see. Straight off of Battleborn’s site, this gives the best description of their leveling system.

“All experience points, whether earned through playing Battleborn’s Story Mode or Competitive Multiplayer modes, contribute to leveling up individual Character Rank, as well as player profile Command Rank.

CHARACTER RANK:

Each hero can permanently rank up from 1 to 10 outside of missions and matches, allowing players to swap out augments in their helix skill tree, as well as unlock skins.

COMMAND RANK:

Players can rank up their own player profile, unlocking badges and titles to impress friends, and loot that can be used to benefit any hero the player chooses to command.”

Battleborn also has something called the Helix system, which allows fore accelerated leveling in both PvE and PvP. This sounds like some sort of xp booster you can pay for. Not my cup of tea, but it is useful/wanted by someone, so let them have a good time as well. With that though, here are the characters from the character sheet we received,

20150619_150019 20150619_150031 20150619_150050_000 20150619_150059 20150619_150113 20150619_150143 20150619_150201 20150619_150209 20150619_150230 20150619_150236