Gearbox’s Battleborn Open Beta Weekend Is Underway

We’ve mentioned before that Gearbox’s multiplayer shooter Battleborn [official site] had an open beta test coming up, but that’s now started so hey, here’s me to remind you. Until Monday afternoon, you can download and play a chunk of Battleborn for free through Steam. If you want a go before the game launches or you , like me, are not quite sure what it even is (a class-based shooter? a bit like a MOBA? that ‘hero shooter’ term Gearbox throw about is total tosh?) then this seems a decent opportunity.

The open beta offers two story mode episodes, which can be played solo or cooperatively, along with two competitive multiplayer modes. Gearbox explain:

“In the Open Beta, you’ll start with 7 unlocked heroes and you’ll unlock more as you rank up and complete objectives. Experience the natural progression of the game as you unlock heroes, skins, taunts, titles, and more. Test out Battleborn’s multiple progression systems where playing either Story Mode or Competitive Multiplayer Modes will earn you XP towards temporary Helix augmentations as well as persistent Command Rank and Character Rank levels.”

Click on this handy link to start installing it through Steam. It’s a 7.6GB download. Hit the open beta FAQ for more info.

While you’re waiting for that to download, hey, Pip has written before about Incursion mode, one of the competitive modes in the beta and one she didn’t really dig, as well as a bit of co-op Story mode.

The full game is due to launch on May 3rd.


  1. AutonomyLost says:

    TotalBiscuit’s coverage of this in a recent video actually ended up piquant my interest, though with so many games demanding my attention at the moment I don’t know if I’ll get in on this beta. I hope it is received well by those that play.

    • killmachine says:

      it’s definitely ok. i would actually give it a try. it’s only ~7gb. their business model seems to be promising as well. paid dlc will only include singleplayer stuff and aesthetics. multiplayer maps and characters/heroes will be free.

  2. AutonomyLost says:

    And here’s my first complaint as a member of the commenting community on this site: I’d like an edit button. Hah. I meant “piquing” in the above post, as opposed to “piquant”. Phone auto-correction is no good.

  3. JakeOfRavenclaw says:

    I really wanted to like this one (BL2 is one of my all-time favorites), but after playing the beta I’m reluctantly coming to the conclusion that I’m just not in the target audience. The visuals are extremely simplistic and cartoon-y (not my favorite style–I prefer levels that try to feel more like actual places, though it’s not a huge deal), but they still manage to become near-incomprehensible when there’s a lot of stuff happening at once (seriously there is SO MUCH STUFF on-screen at any given time). And more importantly, the shooting doesn’t feel great–killing individual enemies is a limp and weightless experience. Their solution to this is to throw enormous hordes of enemies at you all the time, so that you’re just constantly killing and killing, and…Eh, I dunno. Maybe I just prefer a different style of shooter.

    It also lacks the open-world exploration element of Borderlands or The Division (maybe this will change in the full game, but for now you just select mission through a menu), so immersion isn’t really a factor here either. I can certainly imagine a person who might like this, and most of the responses so far seem to have been pretty positive, but I just don’t think it’s for me.

  4. iainl says:

    Which one is this, again? Is it the Dota one, the Destiny one, or the Team Fortress one? These games all seem to have such similar names.

    • GWOP says:

      Battlefront? Battlecry? Battleblock? Battleborn? Bloodborne?

    • welverin says:

      This is the DotA one.

      • DelrueOfDetroit says:

        And Overwatch is the Team Fortress 2 one. Which is the Destiny one?

        • GWOP says:

          The Division?

        • iainl says:

          Google suggests that BattleCry is the Team Fortress one I was thinking of. I -think- this is the one that I was getting Destiny vibes from, because it’s got strike missions as well as the Dotaish stuff.

          The names of all these online multiplayer squad battle things are all such generic mush I just can’t keep them all separate in my head, and I even know someone who’s involved with Battlecry, so you’d think I’d cope better than this.

  5. DantronLesotho says:

    Warning, extremely nitpicky comment ahead:

    Why the fuck is that muscular dude’s head so small? It is driving me crazy. I get the style but did they NEED to design him that XTREEMZ? I’m sure the game is fine and may be fun to play, and I love Gearbox as a developer, but that design choice just puts such a damper on it. This isn’t the game for me anyway, so I probably shouldn’t even be commenting, but I felt it was worth a design criticism.

    • DelrueOfDetroit says:

      His head is the same size as everyone else’s, it’s his arms that are ridiculous. That’s the point. I think the design is hilarious.

      • Grums McGuff says:

        And to quote the character himself, from what I heard while playing him: “Big gun, smallish head! MONTANAAAAA!”

  6. Xocrates says:

    Played through the two solo missions and made a couple bot games just to get the hang of it. But so far I’m incredibly underwhelmed.

    I don’t think I’ve ever played an FPS where the shooting felt so weak. The character abilities also feel weak and can be clunky to cast.

    The campaign is essentially stripped down Borderlands, which lead to the somewhat awkward scenario of me thinking how much more I would enjoy it if they’d port it into Borderlands instead of playing it here.

    And yeah, the multiplayer feels really noisy and messy. The maps are also surprisingly cramped – something the campaign is not, which makes for a weird dissonance where it feels like the campaign and multiplayer are two different games.

    It’s not all bad, I certainly had fun with one character or two. But it really has nothing going for it to make it stand out in any way.

  7. laotze says:

    Story Mode seems pretty meh, like bite-sized Borderlands Lite. Versus has been entertaining so far though. I’ve wanted a fully three-dimensional MOBA forever and this feels like it might just scratch that itch. Loving the crazy psychedelic technicolor cartoon look.

    • Smoky_the_Bear says:

      I found the boss fights fun, and have only played solo at this point, with a team it might be better still. The rest of it is fairly generic “mindless drone” shooting. Gonna try the MP tonight and see how that tickles my fancy.

      • Ragnar says:

        The campaign is clearly not designed for solo play. Some parts made me wonder if anyone even tested it solo.

  8. AskForBarry says:

    I’m having a good time with the PvP. Great satisfaction with completing a game with a good result.

  9. Anti-Skub says:

    You might want to reign in those expectations…it’s not good. I’d have to agree with virtually every other commenter here and say that the combat is awful, weightless, unsatisfying, boring. As an example, I was playing a dual wielding melee character yesterday. His main attack wildly swings his swords in front of him when you hold down left click, they hit everything on screen and attack about 5 times per second for a small amount of damage. Enemies reactions when hit and damage numbers are lost on the cluttered visuals. The end result is combat where you hold down the mouse button and walk up to an enemy until it dies…it’s horrendous.

    The visuals are messy. There are so many numbers and colours and UI elements and enemies and effects on screen at once that it just becomes a confusing jumble that’s not pleasant to look at. It doesn’t help that the cellshaded graphics make everything look flat which means foreground and background elements all blend into each other.

    In the “story” coop missions you play as any of the 20 odd heroes, which basically means, unlike Borderlands, you aren’t the main characters. Instead the “story” is told by other characters talking to each other off screen. You know how in Borderlands you’d get radio messages from characters where they would talk to you…same thing except they aren’t talking to you, they are talking to each other as if you aren’t there.

    And holy shit, the sound design, it’s unbelievably bad. The weapons and abilities all sound terrible. You fire your massive rifle and it makes a noise like you’ve stood on a twig, your huge firey AOE makes the sound of a popping baloon, your gigantic shoulder mounted cannon charges up and then “pffft”.

    I haven’t played a game quite so unsatisfying in a long time.

    • Faults says:

      Agreed 100%. It’s possibly a worse Gearbox game than Aliens: Colonial Marines.

  10. Foosnark says:

    Alternately: Overwatch test weekend. A taste before the open beta (or the pre-open beta preorder open beta thingy).

  11. Bobtree says:

    I’m so tired of meta-unlock progression in PvP games.

  12. R3AL4R3AL says:

    I’ve read some if these comments. Most are right, if your a Borderlands fan please don’t buy this game. Gearbox shelved Borderlands on the new gen consoles for the production a game meant for a 6 year old. The reason I ask for Borderlands fans to not buy this game is because placing one of the best FPS (Borderlands) in hold to make a kid game is just strait up crap. Even the Gearbox website has a topic talking about the anger of Borderlands fans. Gearbox needs to be made aware that when you have a fan base asking for a game they make, they should get on it instead of making some kid game that will be shelved. Battleborn will need a large player base for the PvP and multiplayer, from what I’ve read it might have a few 6 year olds. Don’t waist your money.

  13. Faults says:

    God, it’s fucking dreadful. Tried playing a game for like 10 minutes last night and just couldn’t. Everything about it felt undercooked, poorly thought-through and downright lazy. Even the dialogue was so try-hard ‘funny’, I just thought to myself “this can’t be the same studio that made Borderlands… can it?”

    Can we just be done with this generic cashgrab MOBA trend already? Almost every big studio is releasing some thirsty-ass DOTA wannabe, and it’s so shamelessly, transparently desperate.

    BRB, gonna go to cryosleep and wake up when every AAA studio decides to rip off Deus Ex or Metroid instead.

  14. DrWaffle says:

    Personally i’m loving this game. I’ve been playing a ton of single player games lately but i’ve been curious about this for a while. Nice choice for my pvp fix.

    Played the closed beta around the holidays and while it was okay it wasn’t until Incursion mode this time around that I really got into it. It did take a few games to figure out what the hell was going on, but that patience was rewarded. I guess i’m in the minority that really digs the art direction. Nice to see a colorful and light world rather than some dreary hellscape that is in practically every other game. Again, this is really about Incursion. I’ve yet to play story mode. I did play the other mode back in the closed beta. To get acquainted with the game I played versus private for a few matches, and while that was okay, once I felt comfortable enough with it I jumped into public versus. Haven’t looked back.

    I do have to agree about the weapons, to a degree. I’ve played alot as the big heavy dude Montana and I have to say that his weapon sounds and feels puny considering it’s a minigun. I’m hoping they tweak some of that stuff before the release, but considering how close it is I doubt it.

    Yes, there is a lot going on in the game, but once you get the feel for it I find it a rewarding type of hectic. and last night after thinking i had it down there were times when I was going after the mercenaries, thinking I was really smart about it, that the other team came after me so I couldn’t hire them. Basically they killed me after I killed their Thrall, and then, i’m not sure, but I think they hired them before I had a chance to. I should’ve brought along another teammate. I really appreciate those type of nuances (the addition of the Thrall and the turrets, etc.) and the rewarding of teamwork. Communication is important. Not a game for the lone wolf killer, although it can work at times.

    The different skills for all of the different characters are really imaginative and it’s cool to see how they all work together with the rest of the team. Lots of variety.

    I’ve put a ton of time into this game already and will fire it back up right now. Looking foward to this and curious about Overwatch. I don’t get the hate for this game. It’s not a realistic shooter and it’s not supposed to be. I get it’s not super “fun” to try and figure out a game, but maybe give it another shot. It was worth it for me.