Feature

Meet Battleborn's Rath, Marquis, & Caldarius

by Jeff Marchiafava on Jul 18, 2014 at 09:00 AM

Gearbox's new cooperative and competitive shooter, Battleborn, features so many playable characters that we've devoted an entire week of coverage to highlighting just a few of them. So far we've covered everything from a telekinetic rapier-wielding technocrat named Phoebe to the hulking goliath with a Gatling gun, Montana. We're ending the week with three more eclectic characters. Rath is an immortal samurai warrior that wields not one but three energy-infused blades; Marquis is a stylish robo-butler with a golden cane that doubles as a sniper rifle; and Caldarius is a shock trooper that sports a pistol, a chainsaw sword, and a jetpack. Read on to learn about their unique weapons and abilities, and for more of our hands-on impressions of the game.


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Name: Rath
Faction: The Jennerit Empire
Rath is kind of like a cross between a samurai, a vampire, and a Sith lord. The katana-wielding warrior was a member of the elite guard that protected the empress of the imperialist Jennerit Empire. However, political infighting left him disillusioned and eager to get back to honing his combat skills on the frontlines. As a member of the Jennerit's elite upper caste known as the Sustained, Rath is immortal, but can still be killed in combat – though with three separate blades and some devastating melee-focused abilities, that's not a likely scenario.

Primary Weapon: Katanas
Rath is focused purely on melee combat, and performs horizontal slashes with his dual katana blades via the right trigger and vertical attacks with the left trigger. Rath's horizontal slashes can be chained together in combos, while his vertical attack is a much slower and more powerful downward strike.

Abilities:

Catalytic Smash – Rath's Catalytic Smash causes the warrior to jump into the air and slam his third, massive sword into the ground. The impact emits a rolling shockwave directly in front of Rath; enemies hit by it are stunned and knocked into the air, setting up easy combos from his other abilities.

Crossblade – Most of Rath's attacks require him to get up close and personal with his enemies, but Crossblade gives the swordsman some breathing room. The ability causes Rath to cross his katanas, unleashing an energy projectile that travels a short distance in front of him.

Genetic Syphon – This vampiric ability allows Rath to absorb a percentage of the damage he deals to his enemies, keeping him on his feet during frenzied battles.

Ultimate Ability:

Dreadwind – Rath's powerful ultimate ability causes him to spin wildly for a few seconds, dealing continual damage to anyone hit with his blades. Rath can still move while performing Dreadwind, allowing him to pursue fleeing enemies.

Hands-on Impressions:
As a melee fighter in a game full of gun-toting killers, Rath might appear to be at a disadvantage. It didn't take much play time to convince me otherwise; an opposing Rath caused abject terror whenever he was spotted on the battlefield. His primary sword attacks can quickly whittle away your health bar, and his Catalytic Smash and Crossblade abilities make him dangerous from medium range as well. Rath is also one of the speedier characters we saw, making him difficult to elude when he sets his sights on you. His appropriately named Dreadwind ability is particularly deadly, but can be countered by some characters – Montana's Lumberjack Dash let me put an abrupt end to Rath's twirling attack and dish out some damage of my own. That said, Rath should not be underestimated, and is a great choice for players who aren't afraid to bring a sword to a gunfight.

Coming Up Next: The most polite killer robot you'll ever meet...


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Name: Marquis
Faction: Last Light Consortium
Marquis is another great example of how creative Gearbox is willing to get with its character designs. Marquis is an aristocratic robot who served as a butler to Phoebe's family for centuries. He was eventually dismissed when a programming upgrade caused him to go a bit crazy, so now he spends most of his time politely killing enemies on the battlefield. Marquis packs a golden sniper-rifle cane, a robotic owl named Hoodini, and a bowler hat. The hat doesn't actually enhance Marquis' combat abilities, but it does make him look rather dapper.   

Primary Weapon: Sniper Rifle
Nicknamed "Bindlebane," Marquis' golden cane doubles as a powerful sniper rifle. Holding the left trigger pulls up the gun's scope, and right trigger fires. Players can augment the rifle when leveling up to increase the zoom level even further.

Abilities:

Predatory Strike – This strategic ability releases Hoodini into the wild to patrol a targeted area. The robotic owl will circle in the sky and descend on any encroaching enemies, exploding on contact. The player can invest in further augments when leveling up to unleash up to three Hoodinis at a time.

Time Dilation – Marquis' time-bending ability creates a spherical force field in the environment, which will slow down any enemies who enter it, making it a useful tool for evading foes who try to track the robot sniper down. An additional augment can also speed up the movement of allies who enter the bubble.

Ein, Zwei, Die – This passive ability causes shots with Marquis' sniper rifle to automatically mark a hit enemy, making it easier for allies to spot them in the environment and coordinate attacks. Landing a third shot on the same target will deal bonus damage.

Ultimate Ability:

Overcharge Blast – Marquis' ultimate ability allows him to charge up a powerful energy shot that deals immense damage upon impact. Overcharge Blast is a slow-moving projectile, which makes it easier for foes to avoid, but shooting it at close range or catching a target in Marquis' Time Dilation bubble can help mitigate its sluggish pace.

Hands-on Impressions:
I enjoy playing as snipers in first-person shooters, and Marquis didn't disappoint. The pace of combat in Battleborn doesn't really facilitate sitting in one spot for extended periods of time like the long-range marksmen of other shooters, but the robo-butler's abilities keep him relevant. I often kept Hoodini circling nearby to prevent enemies from sneaking up on me, and dropping a Time Dilation bubble at my feet also helped when foes got too close. I didn't find the Overcharge Blast to be particularly useful, but Marquis' fast-paced sniping makes him an exciting character to play as, and one I look forward to returning to.   

Coming Up Next: A gladiatorial shock trooper with the power of flight...


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Name: Caldarius
Faction: The Jennerit Empire
Like Rath, Caldarius is another member of the Jennerit Empire's immortal Sustained. However, the anime-inspired shock trooper had to walk a very different path to get there. Caldarius rose through the ranks of the Jennerit's gladiatorial arenas to win his spot in the empire's elite upper caste. The Sustained delivered on the tournament's promise by granting Caldarius immortality, but also imprisoned the lowborn warrior for centuries to put him in his place. As such, Caldarius hates all other Jennerit, and Gearbox describes him as one of the game's more serious characters. Caldarius' biggest distinction on the battlefield is his jetpack, which gives him unmatched vertical mobility.

Primary Weapon: Gun and Sword
Gearbox says it wants Caldarius to offer players a mix of ranged and melee combat. He currently brandishes both a submachine gun and a futuristic chainsaw sword, though his weapons and abilities are not yet finalized.

Abilities:

Jetpack Dash – This ability uses Caldarius' jetpack to dash forward in an offensive attack, damaging and slowing any enemies he hits.

Blind Grenade – Caldarius' explosives don't do a lot of damage, but will temporarily blind enemies, leaving them vulnerable to further attacks.

Rending Wounds – Caldarius' passive ability causes enemies to bleed additional damage over time when struck with the shock trooper's sword.

Ultimate Ability:

Jetpack (work-in-progress) – This ultimate ability allows Caldarius to fly up into the air, aim a target at the ground, and come smashing down to deliver a powerful shockwave. Gearbox noted that all of Caldarius' abilities are still being worked on, and may change in the future.

Impressions:
Out of the nine Battleborn characters that Gearbox introduced us to, Caldarius was the earliest in development, and as such we didn't get to see him in action. However, Gearbox says they are designing him to be highly mobile; they want players to be able to dash into the middle of battle, do a bunch of damage, and then quickly fly out of danger. Gearbox says it will balance his speed and vertical mobility by making him more fragile than other characters, so we expect he'll end up being a bit of a glass cannon. We won't know how Caldarius' abilities will hold up on the battlefield until we get a chance to play as him, but frankly we were sold at "guy with a jetpack."

Learn more about Battleborn's playable characters by checking out day one's reveals of Oscar Mike, Miko, & Phoebe, and day two's reveals of Thorn, Montana & Reyna. To check out our full month of bonus coverage, click the banner below to visit our Battleborn hub.