Overwatch or Battleborn? This is probably a question that a lot of people have been asking recently, also with both games being released this month, with Battleborn already been released and Overwatch coming in a few weeks. In a perfect world, one should be able to purchase both games, but we are not in that world and a lot of people have to make the decision for one or the other, and this has to be an informed decision.
To do so, we will first need to compare Overwatch and Battleborn to find what both games have in similar and their differences. Both games are the biggest titles in what some have called the Hero Shooter genre, of as what the name implies is a game with hero characters and mainly focuses on shooter mechanics as its main form of gameplay. These heroes are unique from each other, with different assigned roles, weapons and abilities. Some are dedicated tanks, others are healers, so on so forth, and a lot of inspiration for the MOBA genre. Additionally, Hero Shooters have a focus on online multiplayer and reaching even into competitive scene. Now a commonality has been established, we can start differentiating the two different games.
Overwatch is developed by Blizzard, to the unaware, of Star Craft and Warcraft fame. Overwatch in a gameplay perspective does nothing new, because let us be honest, you do not need to reinvent the wheel to make a game fun and engaging, you need to give it the polish it needs to shine. Overwatch does shine, probably as bright as the sun, thanks to no part it being a new IP coming from Blizzard. The game has some of probably the most animated characters among the two that would not look out of place in a Disney film, and it works.
Each character is very distinctive, from Tracer’s cheery disposition, to Soldier 76’s seriousness, they feel alive. Now back to the gameplay, it keeps things simple: no overly complicated systems like creep farming or character levelling, just pure shooting and ability management. This too is reflected in the choice of game modes like Escort which is similar to Team Fortress 2’s Payload where one team has to push a payload to an objective to win and the other has to prevent that from happening to win. The next one is Control, where teams contest for a single point on the map and once one team reaches 100% on their score counter wins. The last mode is a bit different, but might remind some of Battlefield 4’s Rush mode minus the objective of blowing up the MCOM to proceed. Here the attacking team has to capture two points in the map to win, and the defenders have to prevent that. Not included in the Beta were Arcade and Competitive; Arcade being exactly like URF, where ability cool downs are very short, and Competitive is for players who want to achieve ranks and prestige.
While it plays the game modes pretty safe probably to keep players familiar, it does allow you to switch your character upon death, which really shakes things up. The game is not relying on the starting line-up and turns to a game of constantly countering what the enemy team is throwing at you. It is a shame that a lot of players do not get the memo and stick to certain characters every time, but then the waifu and husbando factor of this game is pretty strong. Wrapping it up, Overwatch is a game that is best for people who do not have enough time or just want a pick up and play shooter yet has a strong competitive foundation. No surprise there with Blizzard pushing Overwatch as a future e-sport very hard.
Battleborn on the other hand is developed by Gearbox Software, best known for the Borderlands series, of which you can see the influence this had on the game. The shooting mechanics has a very Borderlands feel which is satisfying, but comes with a bit of the big gun syndrome which blocks parts of your vision with the gun’s model. Not all characters have that issue as some do not have a gun in the first place, and it is not as bad as the game being a literal color vomit with very strong colors on characters, the maps, and visual effects. Perhaps the biggest difference between the two is that Battleborn leans heavily towards its MOBA heritage, with waves of creep units featured in most game modes and match character levels.
Gearbox pushed for a game that is much more different, and the gameplay is much more focused on a single lane that say in League of Legends and DOTA 2 with its many lanes. This keeps all the players in a single area for most of the time, with the occasional destruction of a mercenary camp to beef up a push towards the objectives. It did try to change things up, but does it work? Yes it does. It does have some of the more familiar mode like Capture where you capture and hold bases to win, but then there is Incursion and Meltdown. Okay, to some it may seem generic, but I believe the presentation of the game modes really won me over.
Incursion is a mode where you and your team, along with your team’s creep units have to attack the enemy’s base and destroy it to win. This happens all the while defending your own base from their attacks, but for the most part it comes to the team who is best pushing, so if you have a good push and got in deep you really not need to worry about enemy incursions in your area. Meltdown mode is where you sacrifice your creeps to giant trash compactors to win, and these trash compactors are very colorful folk believing themselves to be god.
I think you sort of noticed a trend: Battleborn has a lot of emphasis on creep farming and killing, much like in any MOBA. You have to keep up the farm in early game to level up and most of the time killing a creep is much more important than killing a hero. There is another way though to level up, and it is probably the best way to: build defenses. Build defenses? What? Yes you heard me, you have to build up defenses. There are specified points on the map where you can build and upgrade specific turrets. One can build say a machine gun turret, the other a healing one, so on so forth, and to build these turrets you have to farm up shards which can be obtained from creeps, or shard points throughout the map. So it takes a bit of tower defense games, and puts it into the mix of a MOBA and a shooter. Can we keep going on mixing different genres? Yes we can.
The game is not only a multiplayer arena game, it has a story mode which could be enjoyed by yourself or with other players. This mode can drop various loot and level up your overall character level, which has no real effect on gameplay, but the loot drops on the other hand do. These loot drops can give you certain bonuses, like additional movement speed or hit points to cite some easy examples and three can be carried into battle. This equipment and their bonuses lie dormant until you activate them in exchange of shards farmed during the match, and once activated gives its bonuses permanently during the match. To wrap this all up, a game in Battleborn is longer and has a lot of MOBA-esque gameplay. While Overwatch does reward team play, Battleborn relies on the various players in their various characters to synergize to break through. You cannot just change characters like in Overwatch, so hero knowledge and team line-up is important. In short, if you like MOBAs but always felt more at home with a first person shooter, Battleborn should be more up your alley.
So, Overwatch or Battleborn? Have you reached a consensus or does the next Battlefield game catch your eye more? To each is his own, so put your choice in the comments down below.
NOTE: This article or opinion is based on the writer’s thoughts and research. This is not linked to the editorial team or the whole Sirus Gaming.