The lights are on
Gearbox's newest cooperative and competitive shooter gathers
heroes from across the universe in a battle over the final burning star. This
epic premise not only allows the developer to present gamers with characters of
wildly contrasting themes, but play styles as well. In today's feature, we're
looking at three characters who illustrate Battleborn's extreme variety: the
prototypical space soldier, Oscar Mike; a mystical fungi warrior named Miko; and a telekinetic rapier-wielding technocrat named Phoebe. Read on to learn
about each character's unique weapons and abilities, and for our hands-on impressions
of the game.
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Name: Oscar MikeFaction: PeacekeepersIf you've ever played a Call of Duty or Battlefield game, Oscar
Mike will be instantly familiar to you. The consummate soldier exhibits an
unwavering commitment to the United Peacekeeping Republic, serving on the
frontlines of whatever conflict he's been sent to. Gearbox says that while Oscar
Mike's tone is tongue-in-cheek, he's not meant to mock fans of military
shooters, but merely play on the tropes and themes we're all so familiar with. Gearbox
also teased that Oscar Mike's personal history contains some unique twists and
surprises that separate him from the stereotypical space marine, which players
will learn about during the course of the game. From a gameplay perspective,
Oscar Mike's weapons, abilities, and mechanics function exactly as you'd expect
them to, making him an easy entry point for new players.
Assault RifleOscar Mike's assault rifle is the most straightforward
weapon in Battleborn. Players shoot with the right trigger, and can aim down
the sights for greater accuracy by holding in the left trigger. One of Oscar
Mike's level upgrades allows him to choose between a scope or red-dot sight; since
Battleborn's rapid leveling system resets after every match, players can adapt
and experiment with their upgrades more easily than the slow progression paths
military shooters usually afford.
Frag Grenade – If
you've ever played a first-person shooter, you know how Oscar Mike's frag
grenades function. However, like all abilities in Battleborn, these explosive
accessories work on cooldown timers, so you won't have to worry about scouring
the environment for extra supplies.
Pulse Grenade – Oscar
Mike's pulse grenades work exactly like frag grenades, but deal a large amount
of damage to an enemy's shields instead of their health. These are especially
handy when facing the opposing team's giant spider mechs, should your
A.I.-controlled minions come up short during the heat of battle.
Tactical Rounds – This
passive ability causes the first and last round in every one of Oscar Mike's
magazines to deal three times the normal amount of damage. Later upgrades in
Oscar Mike's upgrade tree can apply further modifiers, such as a concussive
effect that causes the first round of a magazine to slow enemies.
Airstrike – Unlocked
at level seven, Oscar Mike's ultimate ability allows him to call in a missile
strike, which deals major damage to an area for a short period of time.
Airstrike is powerful enough to take down an entire swarm of minions at once, and
can be used to disperse an opposing team that makes the mistake of sticking too
close together during firefights.
Hands-on Impressions:Oscar Mike was the first character I played as, and he
instantly gave me a leg up on my fellow editors who struggled to acclimate to
some of Battleborn's more specialized characters (which I was more than happy
to take advantage of, naturally). Oscar Mike's grenades are downright mundane
compared to the abilities of other characters, but were consistently useful and
managed to keep melee-focused enemies like Rath at a distance (thanks to my
patented throw-a-grenade-at-my-feet-and-run-away technique). Once I added a
scope to my assault rifle, I had a much easier time taking down enemies from afar,
and Airstrike gave me some strategic options as well. I eventually found other
characters more interesting, but I can see myself going back to Oscar Mike
whenever my team needs a good grunt on the battlefield.
Coming Up Next: The
Eldrid's mysterious mushroom warrior, Miko...
Email the author Jeff Marchiafava, or follow on Google+, Twitter, and Game Informer.