Are you a MOBA master that’s certain that your skills alone are what saves the day? Have you been looking at battle royale type games with interest, but are not too fond of the over-the-shoulder or first-person view options? Or are you a Battlerite veteran who is tired of carrying their teammates through every round? Behold! Stunlock Studios’ BATTLERITE ROYALE, an amalgamation of all of those games while simultaneously being none! This is our Battlerite Royale review.
Full disclosure: I don’t usually play this type of game. Whether it be a MOBA, a Battle Royale, or what have you, it’s not usually my thing. I prefer games that have as much well-written story and plot as action. Having said that, this little foray outside of my comfortable bubble was actually quite fun.
I tried to just jump right in with my over-inflated sense of video game expertise, and quickly realized I had to revise my self-assessment. This game has a bit of a learning curve, even if you have experience with the original Battlerite game. This I learned after spending time in between Battlerite Royale beta sessions acquainting myself with Battlerite. The majority of the mechanics are the same, except that in the Royale, you start with one skill, or battlerite, (two if you purchase one in the waiting area) and must frantically traverse the Royale map to find the spherical containers that house a myriad of items, gold, and ability orbs.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. You begin by choosing from a number of characters taken from the Battlerite roster. During the beta, not all of Battlerite’s characters had migrated over to the Royale, but I’m sure that will be remedied in future updates or in early access. Originally they started out with three types: melee, ranged, and support. After a while, it was apparently deemed inefficient to try and play a support role when it is you versus everyone else; so support characters were re-evaluated and separated into the two other groups. Don’t make the mistake of thinking these “support” characters are not every bit as effective in a Royale scenario as the others or you will quickly find yourself in the dreaded “observe” mode that is available when you are exterminated.
Don’t dread the “observe” mode too much, though, as it actually gives you an opportunity to witness the tactics and tricks that help others to be successful. However, if you feel you already know all there is to know or are just raring for more action you can just click the “Leave” button. But, for inexperienced n00bs like me, studying your adversaries can actually help. They have also developed a pretty good tutorial and an optional practice (you vs AI) match to help you grasp the basics and the changes from the vanilla game.
I also noted an “Add Friend” option on the character select screen, which allows you to play in a “Duo” mode. I didn’t personally check this out as I have no friends… *Crickets*.
Once you’ve chosen your character you will wait in a fairly quick queue you will find yourself in a waiting room with other contestants wherein you are given the choice to purchase a second skill, beyond the basic attack attributed to your left mouse button. Now, from what I can tell, many of the skills for each character have migrated over to Battle Royale with a few characters having been revamped, but some required you to press shift + whatever ability key to get a different skill. In Battle Royale, however, those skills have their own key and didn’t seem to drain energy from your Ultimate bar. Oh, yes. There is the Ultimate ability that is adequately destructive.
Once skills are chosen and you’ve practiced on your fellows for a minute or so, the players are suddenly transported to a dragon flying up above the challenge map. Honestly, I felt the dragon slightly resembled Falkor so I’ve taken to calling him Fauxkor. Maybe they’re cousins? To the point, as you fly over different areas within the map, you have the option of jumping off him at any point (if you decide you like one area better than others) and you will enter into an epic, ‘chuteless skydive. Amazingly you will land unharmed. Remember, you can maneuver yourself around as you fall to arrange yourself more favorably on the terrain.
As of the end of beta, there was only one map. That one map, however, is very large and incorporates several different landscapes; from desert and coastal to villages and deep woods and also includes a night and day cycle. I honestly didn’t get bored with it, but that’s not to say they don’t have other maps in development or waiting for release.
Despite the large area encompassed by the map, the number of fellow contestants is such that you will most likely land near a few of them. This may interfere with your attempts at acquiring more skills, gold, or various items, but also provides an opportunity to eradicate others before they are fully geared as well. Then it’s a matter of skill as you duke it out with a bare minimum of available skills. Some might say that’s where the real pros excel. I just cuss hysterically and try to run.
Also to take into consideration is the Death Vortex. Battlerite players will be familiar with this type of poisonous fog, bubble, or field that begins encroaching on the challenge map in sections, slowly narrowing the space left for battle until you have no choice but to engage whoever is left alive. The Vortex will kill you, so yes, you want to stay out of it as much as possible.
As mentioned above, opening the treasure orbs will grant you gold. This gold is an in-match currency only. The map will have several locations where a merchant can be found and you will have the option to buy abilities that you have not yet acquired, upgrade those you have, and gain access to various helpful items, both consumable and non-consumable (non-consumables will be taken away at the end of the match as well). Keep an eye out for healing fonts as well, that can be a real lifesaver.
Regardless of what ranking you achieve (because y’know: “There can be only one.”), you will receive at least some experience and Battle Gold currency. Obviously, the more kills you have and higher ranking in each match will increase both your experience and BG payout. Experience goes to leveling up your profile and the character you played that round with as well as increasing your standing in your current league. I encountered three leagues: Bronze, Silver, and Gold, but that, of course, doesn’t mean there isn’t more. Battle Gold can be accrued and used to buy random loot boxes (I can hear your eyes roll all the way from the future) that can drop anything from new avatar pictures to character customizations or a second form of currency called tokens that seem specifically for purchasing different mounts, of which there is a generous variety.
Yet a third form of currency, a type of gem, comes into play if you are willing to spend your hard-earned real-life moola. Don’t go thinking this is a pay-to-win gimmick, as from all I can tell these can only be used to buy the previously mentioned cosmetics and chests full of cosmetics.
Other types of reward chests can be unlocked through accomplishing achievements or daily missions, and contain much the same type of rewards as the other chests though possibly at a higher chance of more rare items. If you are skilled enough to be the last warrior standing at the end of a match you will also be granted a special chest which also seemed to be a glorified version of the regular chests.
Now, it may seem by my choice of words that I don’t think much of the items granted in the chests. This would be a faulty assumption. I rather enjoyed opening the chests and seeing the new appearances, poses, and weapon styles I could get for the various characters. In point of fact, that became much more amusing than the idea of being “The Ultimate Badass” in the arena. Not that I didn’t enjoy the sorties, it just became another reason for me to want to play more. An important thing to note is that if you are a Battlerite veteran, all cosmetics you have unlocked for the available heroes will find their way over to Battlerite Royale.
Note: Our copy was reviewed on PC with a code provided by PR.
League of Legends (or another similar MOBA)