Battleborn's prologue mission begins with a gorgeous animated sequence, followed by an excellent single-player story mission. Then it goes away. I'm currently working my way up the Battleborn ladder, completing story missions, unlocking characters and gathering gear for my eventual plunge into competitive multiplayer. I've played through several co-op missions on the PC and PlayStation 4 already, none of which were nearly as satisfying as the one-and-done prologue.
The prologue serves three purposes, from what I can tell. It establishes the plot of Battleborn, explaining why all of those colourful characters are shooting at other, less-colourful ones throughout the co-op campaign. It also serves as a tutorial, explaining some of the game's basic mechanics.
And the third purpose? That seems to be making me feel bad that the rest of the game's campaign content isn't quite as cool.
Well get to that. First, it's time for an awesome animated intro.
I love this opening so hard. If I weren't excited for the game before I started playing (and to be honest I was only mildly interested), I was now. The action, the movement, the whole hand-drawn, slightly retro style — when the animation ends and we go in-game it's a bit of a letdown.
Not so sassy!
Mellka might not be as pleasantly animated in the 15 minute mission that follows the animation, but the single-player affair is just as lively and entertaining. Her task is to rendezvous with an informant and extract her from a secure facility. A series of short battles introduce the mechanics of the game, while the story unfolds via communication between Mellka, her boss Ghalt and the somewhat mad scientist Kleese.
Eventually Mellka meets up with Deande, former spymaster to the evil Rendain. She's a delight.
More delightful is the conflict between the two that plays off in the dialogue. Mellka believes Deande's allies blew up her race's home star, so the tension is understandably high.
The pair battle their way through robots and their own feelings towards the landing zone, interrupted briefly by a boss fight with a giant spider mech. Aw, it's our first boss fight.
And that's it. The duo are picked up by the dropship, a brief cutscene lays the foundation for several of the online co-op missions coming up, and the prologue disappears from the game menus.
Hopefully Gearbox can allow this prologue mission to be replayed via future game updates, as it really is an excellent introduction to the game. Almost too good, as the focus on a single character tightens the in-game dialogue, and since the mission never has to scale for multiplayer players it feels wonderfully balanced for the solo player. Playing normal Battleborn missions by yourself is depressing and tedious. The prologue is a treat.
Having played through several co-op missions online, I find myself yearning to play through the prologue once more. I wish there was more of this.