Battlerite: review

  • Format: PC
  • Unleashed: Out Now
  • Publisher: Stunlock Studios
  • Developer: Stunlock Studios
  • Players: 1-6
  • Site: https://www.battlerite.com/
  • Game bought by reviewer but it’s also free-to-play

Of all the current trends in gaming, making a MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) still seems like one of the worst. It seems that way because most are just outright copying League of Legends or DOTA. Clones don’t stand out, they burn out. Battlerite doesn’t do this; it focuses on battles, right. That makes it stand out as not only an alternative, but as something that can be played alongside the big two without feeling too samey.

Battlerite is free-to-play but gives you the option to “buy in” and get all the champions they release. You can earn them in-game if you prefer, with one of the currencies earned in-game; but considering the reasonable price to get all champions forever, it certainly gives you good value for money (depending on how much you value your time).

Combat is the bread and butter of Battlerite since it doesn’t deal with the chaff; like laning, last hitting, or having to suffer 20 minutes of verbally abusive teammates. Obviously there are still teammates of that ‘calibre’ but you aren’t as likely to feel their presence as much thanks to easy muting and a much shorter game time.

Each champion is unique, which is the basic requirement for any character in this type of game. They fit into one of three main categories: melee, ranged, and support. All can be viable damage dealers, and all can heal themselves in some form or another. Unlike most MOBAs, you aren’t going to gain powers over the course of a match. Not anymore, anyway. Now, Battlerites are chosen before the first round begins.

Battlerites are modifiers for your abilities. Not every ability has a Battlerite, and no more than two Battlerites can be taken for any single ability. It’s an incredibly effective system for making each character feel not only unique, but also adaptable to your playstyle. If an ability feels like it needs a tweak to make it more fun, you can usually apply such a tweak. It’s almost always something more interesting than extra damage or a lower cooldown and, while sometimes it might include that, that’s not normally the only extra effect.

It’s what makes fighting mirror matchups (you and an opponent have the same champion) so interesting. Often you’ll share some Battlerites with your dopplegangers, but any differences often show how differently you play based on your strengths or weaknesses. Predicting what might work well against particular opponents is a small part of setting your Battlerites, but also one you’ll need to make good use of if you want to be semi-competitive.

Unlike a lot of MOBAs, there are multiple arenas in Battlerite. They’re fairly similar but different enough that there are strategies based on where you’re playing. Some of the more mobile champions gain huge advantages over those that can’t jump or teleport around the map. Walls can be used to keep you safe for a short while but, eventually, hiding behind walls will only get you killed.

After a round has gone on for two minutes, the arena begins to be encompassed by a damaging mist that slowly damages you whilst you’re within its influence. It shrinks down to a fairly claustrophobic size that makes the fighting much more tense and personal (so yes, like PUBG). It’ll eventually shrink down to nothing, so there will always be a winning team – and this is what helps keep the rounds short but sweet.

The other way that this differs from others in the genre, is that you can only see what your champion can. Teammates never provide sight and you only know roughly where they are when out of view. It does make voice chat much more important  however, since you’re not able to relay information via ‘pings’ on the map. It’s really effective and means that when you do do something helpful in the fog of war, it feels all the more rewarding. It also makes situational awareness paramount, so you’ll have to get used to knowing where people might run off to. Thankfully, even though there is invisibility for characters, a large eye above your champion will show roughly how close they are; so you’re not completely blind to their advances (or retreats).

There are regular updates, and just as many events that go on for about a month at a time. These usually contain specific event-period-only cosmetics, but you can buy them all with ing-ame currency; so if there’s something you want, you’ve got a good chance of getting it. They quite often have special game modes too, that run for a longer period but give you the chance to play different battle types like dueling.

We’ve spent a pretty sizable amount of time with it during Early Access, and picked up playing it again upon its free-to-play release. We’ve spent many, many hours with it since then and to say we like it is quite the understatement. Could there be some improvements we’d like to see? Sure; but as it stands, we love what there is already and any new characters, maps, and modes are nothing short of spoiling us. It caters to both the casual and the hardcore, so regardless of your preference you’ll find something to enjoy here.

 

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Written by Sean P

I enjoy playing games and I enjoy writing things, so I decided to combine the two. I do bits here and there and have a twitter that mainly just announces things I've done as my life revolves around very little that is truly interesting.

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