A typical game starts like this. You pick your champion and queue up. Before the match even starts, you're given enough gold to buy two common rarity abilities and a consumable which you'll take with you onto the island. Then, as is the norm in battle royales, you drop from the sky onto an area of your choice. You then loot as many goodies as you can get your hands on before hopefully becoming the last player standing. It's all in all, a fairly standard battle royale experience. However, it's during the looting section where our first major issue with the game appears.
In Battlerite Royale, to increase your champion's power you must open loot orbs that contain gold, gear, consumables (such as health potions) and abilities for your character. The loot you can acquire can come in four different rarities (common, rare, epic and legendary) with rarer loot giving you larger bonuses.
Our first issue is with the emphasis placed on looting, and how important it is to win. While you can defeat an enemy with superior gear than you, it's super difficult. With better loot comes better damage, more health, and an overall stronger character. This puts you at a severe disadvantage if you're less-geared than your opponent, meaning you'll need to use your abilities smartly, interrupting their attacks and making use of consumables to come out on top.
Another problem we had is with champion balance. With loot being so important, there's an inevitable rush for items where champions who do well with only two of their abilities dominate the early game. For example, Jumong is a ranged champion who, when starting with his right mouse button and space bar abilities, can easily kite and kill other champions as soon as he touches the ground. While you can always try to avoid early fights over loot, this puts you at a disadvantage in terms of the positive stat boosts loot gives you and can lead to situations where players who win early fights can snowball to victory. It's clear that champions that might be fairly balanced in Battlerite need some adjustments when it comes down to Battlerite Royale.
This is made worse by your Maximum HP shrinking after taking a large amount of damage. On the surface, it seemed to discourage cowardly play by punishing players who run away from combat too often. But in reality, it makes it even harder to win an online match if you find yourself under-geared. This mechanic that helped make Battlerite's combat focused gameplay so exciting becomes a thorn in Battlerite Royale's side when simply copied from one game to another.
Outside of the game, everything seems to be the same as in Battlerite. Players unlock chests which contain a large variety of cosmetics for their champions, ranging from skins to poses you make at the victory screen. If you aren't a fan of opening loot boxes and crossing your fingers for the skin you want you can always pull out your wallet and buy Diamonds, the game's premium currency that allows you to buy anything your heart desires.
Luckily for those who aren't eager to spend their hard-earned cash, you also earn battle coins through playing games, levelling up your account and champions, and completing daily quests. The rewards you get are both numerous and rather generous, so it never felt like we were grinding for the currency.
Overall, it feels like Battlerite Royale has lost what made the original game so enjoyable. The exciting skill-based combat has been tainted by champion imbalance and the dependence players have on the items they manage to find. Hopefully the developers can lessen these issues through patches before Battlerite Royale leaves Early Access, otherwise sticking with Battlerite is probably your best bet.