Because Battleborn is strangely enough being compared to Overwatch i see reactions that people are surprised that Battleborn even has an single player mode and isn’t a MOBA. Also is we check the community questions, one of them is ‘does Battleborn feature a solo campaign?’ the answer to this is yes. Battleborn has an co-operative campaign that you can play solo or together with friend. That’s two player split screen or five player online. Another question i have encountered several times is ‘how long is the Battleborn campaign?’ and that’s a fair question because you want to know if you will get value for your money and knowing how long it takes to beat Battleborn is a measurement of value. However this is also a difficult question to answer because it depends on your play style. Gearbox said during a Q&A video that Battleborn is the length of your average shooter, and by saying that they actually mean the length of the main story. Gameplay wise Battleborn has a lot more to offer through replay value. But before i’m going to talk about that let’s see how Battleborn is structured.
I noticed that Borderlands fans want to know how Battleborn is structured, because they somewhat want the same kind of game like the last Gearbox title. But where Borderlands is more of an open world game Battleborn is not. These are more like chapters in a story. Just like a Halo and a Call of Duty you get closed-off levels that tell a snippet of the story while you complete each mission. Each chapter is like an TV episode that tells you a story and it’s part of a bigger overall story line. In earlier interviews it was said that Battleborn will have 9+ missions. As the game is still in development it’s possible that due to time constraints that extra level might not make it’s way into the game. So let’s be on the safe side and presume there will be 9 missions and hope for a few more. When Gearbox first talked about Battleborn they said they were targeting gameplay sessions of 30 to 45 minutes. If you look at the E3 demo (that also was at PAX, SDCC or Gamescom) the average time the players needed to complete the demo level for the first time was around 25 minutes. This demonstration stage was a shortened level, the introduction and the final boss were cut. Your character started at level 4, your ability cooldown was lowered and the enemies were dumbed down. In short you were running on easy mode the whole time. So it’s fair to say that a single mission will take up the 30 to 45 minute mark. Now let’s do some math:
How long will the story mode last?
Levels x Time = Total Time in Minutes : a Hour = How many hours of story time.
9 x 30 = 270 : 60 = 4.5 Hours
9 x 45 = 475 : 60 = 6.75 Hours
So Battleborn ticks in above a Call of Duty game which you can complete within 4 hours. But then again if you played Borderlands 2 and only did the story missions you could also complete that game within 5 hours. The thing with Borderlands is what extends your play time is all the side missions, the grinding and the endless quest for better loot. As Borderlands and Battleborn are designed as a co-op shooter there is another thing i would like to point out. I frequently see on the forums or social media that people want to play Battleborn by themselves. The missions in the game are more likely to be structured to hit that 30 to 45 minute mark for a co-op experience. Although the game scales the difficulty to the amount of players in game this could add some extra playtime on your clock.
So how long does Battleborn really take?
Well this is the moment we gonna talk replay value. Like Borderlands Battleborn also features a loot system, so the hunt for that badass legendary item continues. This gives you a reason to replay each mission just like you would farm the bosses in Borderlands 2 for their Legendary items. With Battleborn these loot items, called gear, are not bindend to a specific character. Also your progression won’t be lost like with Borderlands when you picked a new character. This makes it easier to choose one of the other playable heroes, letting you sample the different character play styles without starting all over again. Instead of losing content you gain a richer experience in the story mode as each character will give some other insights on the overall story. New heroes will get introduced as you unlock them ‘Super Smash Bros.’ style. That’s by playing the game and achieving certain goals or have enough playtime to be skilled enough for the more advanced characters in the game. Battleborn has 25 characters to choose from and you get a lot extra playtime as that 6 hour story gets multiplied by 25, giving you 150 hours of gameplay. Along the way you unlock rewards for each of the characters to further customize your hero. These can be new skins or mutators that grant you access to new skills that you can try out on one of the harder difficulty settings.
So yeah Battleborn has a lot to offer and if you haven’t got my point by now; it’s not just about how long the story is, it’s also about how much can a game engage/entertain you. There are games out there that have less of an story, but still got the ability to keep you coming back from more. That’s gameplay value. Replaying the missions doesn’t feel static as the dialogue changes up every time you play it and depending on the heroes you play. Thanks for reading and until next time, leave your comments below or pass them along one of my social media channels.
UPDATE 1: The Math Wizards at Gearbox and 2K Games just did some number crunching on the amount of combinations possible in Battleborn.
UPDATE 3: At launch solo players have an average of 1 hour to complete a single story mission.
UPDATE 4: After re-balancing the game Gearbox made the heroes a bit stronger and thereby the campaigns a bit shorter.