Remember that 80s show, 'S.T.R.I.N.G. Cops'? It stood for 'String Theory Running INvestigation Group (Cops)'. It was about a breakaway division of the police, that was obsessed with string theory: Sergeant Rope, Lieutenant Cord, and Billy Twine - the 12 year-old physics whizz.
They'd travel the country in their special van arresting crooked professors who were teaching an erroneous version of string theory, and looking into string theory-related mysteries.
In the episode The Curious Case of the String Theory Ghost, the gang camped out at a university where a poltergeist was rubbing quantum theory equations off the blackboards, and filling the faculty lounge with pictures of the Austrian physicist Ludwig Boltzmann.
The team was based in the Hertfordshire market town of String (Tring), their favourite musical artist was String (Sting) - who also provided the show's theme tune - and at the end of every episode, Billy Twine would make another hilarious, string-related pun; "Another successful stringvestigation!" or "Careful, professor - talking like that is going to make everyone think you're stringsecure!".
And so on.
What does it have to do with Battleborn?
It has nothing to do with Battleborn.
Well, except that Battleborn eschews the usual cutscene tropes for a hand-drawn animation style, and chunky, action figure-friendly graphics.
The joy of this site being my own personal blog is that I can write whatever garbage I like. Consequently, it's fine, probably, if I can't really be bothered to do a review of something. I've been trying to write this piece since the weekend, and honestly can't muster much enthusiasm. Still, I'll soldier on.
Battleborn is this: a first-person shooter, mixed with a MOBA - which I have come to understand means "multiplayer online battle arena". DOTA 2, League of Legends, and the new Overwatch (if I can ever get the thing installed...) are all MOBAs.
People who like these sorts of games are known as "MOBA dicks", perhaps.
HOW IT WORKS, PLZ?
Here's how Battleborn works: you pick a character from a roster of 25 (each of whom has their own weapons and special moves - some more equipped for close-up combat, others better at sniping from a distance - and you'll get your abilities upgraded pretty swiftly). Then you head into the game along with four other players. And you do some shooting and that.
There's a co-op campaign, and a bunch of head-to-head modes. And... yeah. It's good. I mean, certainly above average. Like a sort of brightly-coloured cartoon Destiny, or an interactive Cartoon Network show. The sort of thing, if it was on in the 80s, that would indeed have had its own line of action figures.
However, what I didn't understand about the game was this: when you sign into the story mode, the players you get matchmade with all vote on which mission to undertake. Which means you'll end up playing the same missions more than once... and potentially never see everything the game has to offer. Which is just baffling.
Also: no checkpoints. If your squad fails in its mission - either you all die, or the objective you're defending gets destroyed - it's all over. Given that missions can last half an hour or more, this is a big pain in the cracksie.
Ultimately, this: there's lot to like about Battleborn. It's characterful, surprisingly visceral with its combat, and there's nice variety. It's just not essential.
So, y'know, I'm sorry if this review is a bit light on details. It's just... how many times can I write, and you read, another description of how most first-person shooting games work? That's not Battleborn's fault. At least they were trying to do something a bit different.
You know: like that episode of S.T.R.I.N.G. Cops, where they had a crossover with G.L.U.T.E.N. Force - the cartoon about a secret government task force investigating gluten-related mysteries. The best bit was when Sergeant Rope got trapped in a sinking submersible particle accelerator with Agent Barley, as it started to fill with yeast.
Thankfully, they managed to combine their respective areas of expertise to formulate an escape - drawing parallels with the way gluten acts as the glue which holds food together, and the way one-dimensional strings propagate throughout space. "Stringcredible!"
SUMMARY: Basically, fine.
SCORE: String strings out of string.