My thoughts on May the month of FPS.

Published Friday 27 May 2016 4:01pm | 1
Tags: doom, Overwatch, Battleborn
 

Man it has been the month of FPS hasn’t it and not the usual suspects of Battlefield and COD either. Nope Gearbox tried a new IP with Battleborn, after a decade Doom has returned with ID manning the single player and getting help for the multiplayer and Blizzard has tried breaking out in the FPS genre with Overwatch. Huh just realised they came out in alphabetical order… CONSPIRACY!!!

Still the question is how have the 3 fared and are any of them worth time investing in. Well lets take a quick look at all 3 of them and see how they fair. I will be looking at 3 things, the single player content, the multiplayer content and how well they run and look.

Let’s start with the order they came out and look at Battleborn.

 

So Battleborn is team based FPS where you and a team of 5 players choose one of many characters in single player or multi player battles. The has many MOBA elements with your characters starting at level 1 capping at 10 and after each level you can increase or change how one of your skills or attacks work and at level 5 you unlock your ultimate ability.

So single player see’s you playing as surprise the Battleborn. Set in the far future only one star remains and all the races in the universe now live around this star. However an alien race called the Varelsi and their ally Rendain seek to destroy it and plunge the universe into eternal darkness. In response the Battleborn heroes from all the races unite to try and stop Rendain and the Varelsi from destroying the star. Story consists of a prologue and 8 missions which can be done solo or with up to 4 team mates with the difficulty scaling depending how many players are around. The missions however are not the greatest with most of them usually ending up being escort this thing to here or defend this area for 3 ever increasing waves. Really only 2 break this formula which means after the initial play through unless you’re going for achievements or character unlocks the replay ability isn’t that great.  Still Gearbox still has it when it comes to their humour and if you’re a fan of the Borderlands humour then you will be a fan of Battleborn’s. Also a lot of characters are locked in Battleborn initially of the 25 and you will have to unlock them. Thankfully a bunch of them are unlocked or can be unlocked just by playing through the story as well as gear which can be used in story mode and multiplayer  so there are benefits to playing through it. Really the story is really a onetime thing and while not bad there is little replay ability unless you want to farm gear outside of multiplayer or try and unlock specific characters or challenges. Overall the campaign with a mate took 7 hours for us to complete on normal.

Now onto Multiplayer. There are currently 3 game types. Capture which is pretty much the standard capture and hold points to win the game. Meltdown where you have to escort some bots down a couple of lanes to their death with each bot making it successfully to the end giving you points and Incursion where both teams try and destroy the sentries guarding the others base using their heroes and summoning minions and turrets to help. All games are played as 5 v 5 with each player choosing one hero and their gear at the start of the game with each hero only being allowed once in each team. This can be a problem for new players who jump straight into multiplayer as with most heroes being locked you may be forced into a hero you don’t like or know how to use though thankfully the starter heroes are all pretty decent and easy to use. Still the multiplayer does have a couple of problems. The matchmaking at times can take forever to find games and if someone does drop they then aren’t replaced and you will be down a man unless they return which is never great. Map wise there are currently 2 maps for each mode so some variety and the modes are pretty decent though Meltdown is the most enjoyable.

So how does it perform? Well it has the art style Gearbox is fond of and runs pretty well. It does have some problems mainly with the melee characters where it can be easy to lose track of your target due to how fast paced it is but ranged heroes who are the majority don’t have this problem. Character balance is something gearbox is working on and they have released one balance fix already on some characters and continuing to monitor. Apart from that one gripe I do have is even with singleplayer you have to play online as it creates a server when you start a missions and if you have a poor connection it can lag and time out which is a pain. Other then that it ran fine without any noticeable performance hits in both single player and multiplayer.

So overall Battleborn is not bad but it doesn’t really shine anywhere either. The single player is fine but again a onetime thing. The multiplayer modes are pretty decent but nothing truly new with them. But it runs fine as long as your internet is fine so not a bad little game from Gearbox.

 

Right onto one a lot of people were wondering how it was going to turn out Doom. So Doom is FPS by ID and if you didn’t know that hand over your gaming license and get out. Now the single player is designed by ID but it’s other modes are co-developed with Certain Affinity and Escalation Studios… this is something important to remember.

So single player see’s you once again control the Doom Marine who wakes up in a sarcophagus only to find demons attacking a UAC facility. He then immediately grabs a nearby possessed scientists head, smashes it on the chains to break himself free, grabs a nearby pistol and off you go. I was wondering if they were going to go the classic Doom route or the Doom 3 route with this one. I am happy to say it takes its inspiration from the Ultimate Doom and Doom 2 while also taking some inspiration from the Brutal Doom mod. So the story from this point is the UAC was experimenting with hell energy, it went wrong, demons invaded the facility and the Doom Marine does what he does best and goes about killing every single demon that gets in his way. Along the way he encounters several other characters like the facility head Samuel Hayden and head researcher Olivia Pierce who explain what happened but the Doom Marine’s usual response is to ignore them and just continue killing demons not really caring about the how or why just what he needs to do to stop the demons. It’s actually interesting that while the only thing you ever see of the doom marine is his arms or legs these actually show his feelings pretty well without him speaking.

Still as for the game play itself as I said it plays like the originals with you starting with a pistol and then slowly building up your arsenal including the classics like the super shotgun, chaingun and the big f**king gun 9000 but also the demons also get stronger starting with the zombies and imps and slowly getting bigger with many old faces like Hell Knights, Cacodemons and Revenants showing up. Still the gameplay has had some changes as the combat is a lot faster paced with jumping around, climbing to different elevations and using the terrain to your advantage making the combat a lot more action orientated though this is not bad thing and makes it quite enjoyable. Also I mentioned Brutal Doom well Doom has added glory kills where once a demon has taken enough damage it will be stunned for a couple of seconds and if you melee them you will perform a pretty brutal kill e.g. ripping off a zombies arm and beating them to death with it that will net you some health. These are pretty quick and don’t break the flow of combat and also have different variations so feel like a nice edition rather than a chore. The weapons have also received upgrades and during the game you can find weapon mods that allow you upgrade them with each weapon bar a couple having 2 different mods e.g. the shotgun firing 3 round bursts, the chain gun gaining 3 barrels instead of one and the machine gun being able to fire a barrage of 6 mini rockets as a alt fire. Secrets also return and they are pretty nice with little pop vinyl collectibles you can find unlocking enemy and gun models and levers which if found will open a doom and allow you to play a classic doom or doom 2 level using the new doom enemies and weapons. The campaign took me 12 hours to complete on normal but with all the secrets and classic levels it can easily last longer and there is replay ability with higher difficulty levels and trying out the different weapon mods to see how they fair.

Multiplayer now remember when I said this was co-developed? It shows. The multiplayer is fairly typical in terms of mode with team deathmatch, domination but a few other ones like warpath and freeze tag.  It currently has 9 maps which are pretty decent but a interesting addition is the Pentagram. Picking this up turns a player into a demon with each one behaving differently e.g. the Revenant plays like you would think able to jet pack around and launch rockets while the baron runs around and tears enemy players in half or eats them. Still how they have done the multiplayer in terms of character is they have added loadouts. Unlike the classic doom or quake games your now limited to carrying 2 weapons at a time and have to unlock custom loadouts and other weapons as you level up. This is a little disappointing as I was always a fan of the classic Doom multiplayer and Quake as well but no that’s gone and load outs it is. Thankfully all the classic weapons are available at the get go so if you want to be a super shotgun, chain gun wielding marine go for it but after having a full arsenal in SP… feels a little weird to go to only 2. Another addition is you can find boosts as you level up and play. These are activated in game and last a certain amount of time depending on the pick up but can do anything from let you see where on the map the last person who killed you was, increase XP you earn, start with more armour when you spawn etc. They are an okay addition but nothing major.

Still this is not all Doom has. No along with these 2 Doom has embraced the modding and map making scene by including Snap map. This is a feature that lets you create single player or multiplayer maps and has a pretty decent tutorial hell I was able to use it which says something and then publish them online for other players to play. Now sadly from what I’ve seen it follows the multiplayer even in single matches in terms of only having 2 weapons and limited mods but I’m hoping there is way around it or more options are added. Still the people who enjoy this has already flooded into it with old doom maps being remade, new maps being created with early tower defence and survival maps already showing up and some random things like a music machine or a museum of all the doom enemies and weapons with some history behind them. I feel that if ID and co keep supporting this and adding more stuff for people to use then Snapmap is going to keep Doom around for a long time.

As for performance it runs great. Now this is a PC build and I will say I did have some issues on launch but after the drivers came out it ran fine without issue. One gripe I do have and not sure if this is a console thing but you can’t go straight into multiplayer or snap map from Steam. You have to load Doom, then restart it in snap map or MP. Really pointless and hoping they change that soon. Still looks great, runs great, sounds great and shows that ID really puts a lot of time and work to make sure their games come out good right out the gate.

So overall while the MP is a little bit of a downside and nothing great the Single player is awesome and Snap Map has huge potential and I am really looking forward to seeing what comes from it in the future.

Now onto the final one.

So Overwatch a multiplayer FPS by Blizzard. The game is future where a team called Overwatch helped save Earth from a crisis but were then disbanded due to people basically not trusting them. Still uprisings have become again and the world is in trouble and Winston a member of Overwatch sends out a call for the team to come back together to help once more.

So single player… *watches some tumble weed roll by*. Yeah Overwatch has none. Well you could sort of do it by making a custom game with bots on both teams and you but the bots are not the greatest opponents and you don’t get anything for it so not really worth it. Now as for story Blizzard has been releasing videos and web comics explaining the origins and story of each of the characters and I won’t deny they are very well done so worth a look if you’re interested in the lore at all.

Okay Multiplayer this is Overwatch. Now if I was to compare Overwatch to anything it would be Team Fortess 2. Both are very similar with their being various classes and character in those classes and game modes also bare similarities. Now Overwatch has 21 characters split into Offense, Defense, Tank and Support. You will play in a team of 6 players and most teams will need a combination of each to succeed though this can change depending on the map and whether you are attacking or defending e.g. having a bunch of defense characters on attack probably no the beast idea. Now unlike Battleborns roster Overwatches is unlocked right from the get go and while they don’t level up they each have a couple of unique skills and weapons along with a ultimate. These vary from character to character and makes each one play quite differently even in the different classes such as in support you have Mercy a healer who primarily focuses on healing/strengthen a single player and a ultimate of being dead team mates back and Lucio who has a AOE heal which can also be changed to a speed boost and a ultimate giving every team mate a shield. You can also change hero mid game so finding your struggling in a certain situation then you can change to someone better suited for the task.

Now with game modes there are currently 4. Assault where the attacking team has to capture 2 points on a map and the defenders have to stop them. Escort where the attacking team has to escort a payload from the start of the map to the end with the defenders trying to stop them. A combination of assault and escort where you will need to capture a point and then escort a payload to the final point and Control where this is a single point on the map which both teams try to control. Now there are multiples of these maps set in different regions e.g. one escort see’s you on a highway in Western America while another see’s you escorting another through the streets of London. The maps while linear do have multiple ways to proceed allowing some characters different ways to attack or defend and meaning you have to be aware of your surroundings at all times otherwise you may get taken out by a sneak attack. There are decent amount of maps taking place in different region for each mode so plenty of variety.

There is also a weekly arcade mode which adds new rules to the maps. For example it could be all heroes have double health and reduced recharge to their skills and ultimate’s, you could only play as Genji or Hanzo etc. This a nice addition and something Blizzard has been doing with a lot of their games to have a less serious mode for people to just have fun in and will be nice to see where they go with this.

Performance wise it runs without a hitch, while there is in game items you can buy they are purely cosmetic and can be gotten from loot boxes just by playing and Blizzard has said any future maps or characters will not be charged for as DLC which is great… didn’t mention expansions though so yeah. Still Overwatch has one problem… your other players. Yeah out of all of the 3 Overwatch requires the most team work out of all of them and will require you to work with your team to accomplish your goals. Just going lone wolf and charging forward will result in you dropping pretty quickly and your team suffering because of it. Really it’s best to try and play this with people you know to ensure good communication as playing with random players can result in some rather… unfortunate matches. Other than that Overwatch is a solid multiplayer shooter and can’t really say anything bad about it.

So that’s a quick overview of them but what are my final thoughts. Overall Overwatch wins the multiplayer side of things hands down being designed for it and knowing Blizzard will be supported for a long time. Doom suffers in the Multiplayer department but makes up for it with a solid Single player campaign and the customisation of Snap Map. Battleborn has a decent single player and multiplayer but compared to Doom and Overwatch it can’t either so while enjoyable I can’t really recommend it over the other 2.

So with that if Multiplayer is your thing Overwatch, single player and modding Doom or if you like all save up and get both…  great now I’m picturing Tracer teleporting about with the doom chainsaw… great now I want that.

 


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Comments Comments (1)

 
Posted by Nick2016NZ
On Tuesday 31 May 2016 6:09 PM
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Yeah regarding Doom, that's one thing that annoys me is when you are at the main menu, you select either Campaign, Multiplayer, or SnapMap, then it basically has to load for another minute or so while it boots up that portion of the game, I'm playing on PS4 so it's not just a PC thing. I don't understand why it basically has to reboot if you want to go to Multiplayer or SnapMap.