The Spring of 2016 has been a goldmine for people who love team-based shooters and has probably been something of an awakening for people who may not have ever played one before but who decided to give it a try. With Gearbox’s Battleborn now in retail release and Blizzard’s Overwatch headed that way next week, players are in shooter heaven.
Yet even in all the positive press both games have received, more than a few people have felt as if they have to choose one over the other. There is this new and often prevalent thought that people can’t enjoy more than one game in a genre and that some spend time tearing down others perceived as a threat.
In this case, however, it really comes down to how much time a player has, what type of experience they wish at any given time and so on. Each game has broad appeal for many different types of gamers with something for everyone. At the same time, the two don’t cross over one another all that often. So youu can love and enjoy both Overwatch and Battleborn! No, really. You can! Here’s why:
Progression vs Pick Up & Go
The great thing about both games is how differently features are made manifest. For instance, those who really love progression and min-maxing, creating unique loadouts, unlocking mutations, playing the market buying gear chests and so on will absolutely adore Battleborn. BB goes far beyond skins and emotes and into the realm of what MMO and RPG players have known for years.
Conversely, Overwatch is for the no-nonsense types who may not want to mess with all the thought required to customize the perfect set of skills and loadouts. In OW, just pick the character and run with it. No muss. No fuss. It is the perfect game for those who want to get in and get going.
Long vs Short Objective-Based Missions
Overwatch gives players a real sense of accomplishment after each and every game. As mentioned above, the characters are made and the skill selections become familiar over time. Each match can generally be completed in about a half-hour or often even less. Characters are pretty well-balanced as well meaning that every match ends with a sense of having gotten something done. There are usually a pair of objectives to complete on each map with little to do but wreak havoc on the enemy.
Battleborn allows players to take part in much longer missions that require up to an hour sometimes depending on the familiarity with the maps and objectives and how familiar players are with the characters they’re using at the time. With multiple tasks presented in any given mission -- building turrets, collecting shards, reaching checkpoints, etc. -- successful completion can take quite a while.
What it comes down to here is how much time someone has to play. Want to squeeze in a couple missions to head off to face the work day? Overwatch. Want an almost MMO-like shooter environment? Battleborn.
Story Driven PvEvP vs Pure PvP
Battleborn, at least to this point, gives players the opportunity to play through cooperative story-based missions that reveal the lore behind the game. Between the narration provided by Kleese or any one of the other heroes, players begin to understand the setting into which they’ve been thrown. Additionally, and for those who don’t give a hoot about story, teams of players can face off against one another.
Overwatch is pure unadulterated PvP action. While there is the option to play cooperatively against a team of bots, the overall thrust of OW is PvP -- the bot matches are simply the proving grounds for the true heart of the game, team-based PvP. There’s no question, too, that Blizzard is going to capitalize on the rich eSports potential of Overwatch that also contributes to its pure PvP theme. That’s not to say, however, that story isn’t there -- it is, particularly for those who take the time to watch the lore videos and / or read the online comics. Each of those brings new meaning to the maps and characters in the game as well.
Silly Over-the-Top Humor vs More Subtle Humor
Overwatch has definite humor, though often subtle, though it can go over the top at times -- yes, we’re looking at you Junk Rat! Players who take the time to listen will hear some pretty funny phrases that are definitely of the play on words variety. Character emotes are another place that humor can be found as well as in taunts, victory poses, even the characters’ laughter and battle cries can bring a chuckle.
Battleborn is more ‘out there’ in the humor department, definitely something that the slapstick crowd will enjoy. Characters all have pretty funny lines, taunts that can cause players to crack a smile as can the dialog of the narrators as they harangue, tease, complain, and taunt one another. There’s always a lot going on in Battleborn, lots to listen for and lots to laugh at.
Shooters for People Who Don’t Necessarily Like Shooters
The bottom line for both games is that they have broad appeal for people who have never played a shooter before. Between the graphics style of each, the humor of the characters and settings, the relatively low learning curve of each and the addictive hunt for achievements, titles, skins, and the broad and diverse heroes each game has, people who might never have considered a shooter before may just find themselves hooked, perhaps not on the genre itself, but specifically on Battleborn and Overwatch.
You see, that’s really what it all comes down to: Players don’t have to choose one over the other. Both have strong and compelling game play. Both have diverse and fun characters to play. Both are polished and beautifully rendered. But each has its own compelling reasons to play and neither is truly in competition with the other. It is possible to love both Overwatch and Battleborn without feeling the need to choose.
What do you think? Will you play both, one or the other, or neither? Leave us your thoughts in the comments.