Battlerite [official site] is a small team arena brawler where your one and only goal is to eliminate your opponents. Is it worth buying?
As stated in my Paladins review, I don’t usually play games that Steam’s tags consider ‘MOBAs’, but I’ve had a bash in the time I’ve spent playing Battlerite (pun intended). The folks behind ‘Bloodline Champions’ have created another PvP beat-em-up and it is undoubtedly awesome.
Throughout my several hours of Battlerite playtime, I’ve used only three champions; one ranged, one healer and one melee. I’m the person who plays as the first character I get, the one who I have to play through the tutorial with, and the easiest. In this case, it’s ‘Jade’, a pistol-wielding, rifle-shooting, invisible-turning badass.
Jade, the pistol-wielding, rifle-shooting, invisible-turning badass.
My first hour consisted of playing the tutorial and private matches against bots, trying to figure out which of the bunch I’d like to play as. My second hour of the game, when I decided to play against some real people, was dominated by the unfortunate situation of me getting absolutely thrashed. No wins, only losses. The terrible thought of getting obliterated once more had completely consumed my mind, but I continued, and I’m glad I did. From my fourth hour up until this very moment, it has varied between me getting owned and me owning people, all depending on who I’m opposing.
Each character, or ‘champion’, has a handful of special abilities, like in Dota, Smite, Lawbreakers, Overwa- you know what? Almost every other MOBA. You can use these abilities to your advantage and your enemies’ disadvantage, like in most other MOBAs. You can also get new character and weapon skins as in most MOBAs too.
This game isn’t really a MOBA though. You don’t farm, you don’t buy items, you don’t run around a massive map doing a bunch of random nonsense – it’s just pure fighting. 2v2/3v3 fighting. None of this boring ‘run around and kill some stuff to get some gold to buy some stuff and then three hours later you might encounter somebody but then chances are you’ll run away because they might have better loot then go back and kill some more stuff to get more gold to buy more stuff then three hours later- you get where I’m going with this’ foolishness. Battlerite is what MOBAs should be – only the exciting parts.
The gameplay relies crucially on your line of sight (like in many MOBAs) because numerous champions can turn invisible. If your line of sight on an enemy was blocked by a wall, the enemy could turn invisible and dash over behind you, catching you by surprise and dealing immense damage to your health.
In combat, I find myself in the winning or losing position based on whether I have a healing champion (or a champion who can heal) on my team. My opponents always have a healer, no matter what. I haven’t had one match where there wasn’t a healer on the enemy team. My team, however, usually consists of a sloth, someone who – rather than tries to win – complains about everything in the game, and me, a guy who actually tries to win the match. The few times I did have a healer on my team we won, no hassle. Here’s some advice for if you get the game (or already have it): get a friend to be a healer or be one yourself, they help a lot.
Or you could be someone who heals and kills!
After the match, the master complainer decides it’s time to blame everything on Jade, because why not? She’s the first person you see, the player must be a total nitwit if they chose her. This usually results in a twenty-second dispute between both the other player and I. Oh… Sir! has taught me a few tricks in these situations, though, so in the after-match row I usually come out on top.
I’d compare the game to Dota, but it’s more of a ‘punch him, shoot him, punch him, jump over her,’ type game without any real team strategy besides a quick ‘Okay you two go for the big guy, I’ll disable the healer,’ before the start of the match. It all relies on quick reactions and perfectly timed – and aimed – shots and combinations.
Another point in team strategy is that you choose your champion before you enter a game. This is a problem because if your team needs a healer and you aren’t playing with friends in an already-decided group of champions, you won’t know until you’re in the match. It would be nice if it had a lobby system prior to the match so you can speak to your allies before the game, deciding what to be. Then there wouldn’t be the healer issue.
If there’s one major issue with Battlerite, it’s the social system. Something needs to be done, and with their Steam Early Access notes, it looks like they are going to revamp it. I would rather just use Steam’s friend list, to be honest, and when I can’t right-click on someone’s name and select ‘invite to game’ there is going to be a problem here. The in-game social tab also sometimes shows I’m offline when I’m really online, making it impossible for anyone to join me.
This was all much easier when we could just call our mates on the phone and say ‘Want to come over for a game of Monopoly?’ to hear them moan, ‘No Tom, you always get the monopoly in Monopoly.” It’s a real bummer, but that’s the way it is. Hopefully, this new and revamped system comes out soon.
You know the best thing about this game? It’s still in Early Access. If you gave me this game and asked whether I thought it was complete, I would have most likely given a – socially awkward – nod. The game is still undergoing its final stages of development with more additions and fine-tuning, including but not limited to more balance between champions, more arenas, more skins, better access to more regions, a replay system, and an upgrade of the social system (as stated above).
Overall I’ve had loads of fun with Battlerite and will continue to do so for the next few weeks. I’ll definitely be coming back to this one.
👍 Battlerite IS worth the US$20 it is available for.