Preview: LawBreakers breathes fresh air into a genre of stale games
Do not sleep on LawBreakers.
Wow. That’s the word I kept thinking to myself when I played LawBreakers. Cliff Bleszinski’s new game from his studio, Boss Key Productions, is a delight. It’s like Overwatch turned up to 11. Prior to launching the beta for the game, I had little interest in the game. I figured it was going to be another shooter with some gimmick around character based classes and it would fall the way of Battleborn or something by not making a big splash.
Upon reaching the main menu, I could feel myself swallowing my doubts just by simply listening to the awesome score that just made my eardrums melt in satisfaction. After loading up a match, selecting one of many characters, you're thrust into the thick of it. The modes are pretty basic, one involves capturing a ball at the center of the map and take it to the opposing team’s goal to score. Simple enough!
When the player runs towards the middle and boosts towards a hollowed out globe-like statue in the center to get the ball inside of it, they'll found themselves floating… Gravity shifts and if you let yourself get distracted, you'll be riddled with bullets.
The big focus in LawBreakers aside from its wide variety of character is its movement. Each character has a unique way to quickly move throughout the map and once they reach the center, gravity flips for them and they’re frantically trying to dodge bullets from players on the ground while having plane-less dogfights in the air. It changes everything and adds a new layer of combat, one might think it would get boring as time goes on but it's actually one of the best parts ever. I felt myself being pulled toward the center which is ironic since there’s basically no gravity once you get there, I just always wanted to be floating around and using my boosters to quickly move around and take out enemies in the air and on the ground.
The combat is incredibly satisfying, while I didn’t get a good taste of every class in the game during the beta due to the amount of time I had to play and what I was actually good with, it’s incredibly fun regardless. Whether it’s simply filling someone with holes with an AR, using a special ability to shoot someone with a horde of rockets, slicing someone up with sharp edged blades, or just boosting towards someone floating around like Neil Armstrong so you can deliver a nice, swift kick to their face, LawBreakers kept me thoroughly entertained. It's like the best spin-off/sequel to Overwatch you can possibly imagine.
The game also has this feeling of nostalgia because it has an old-school FPS feel to it. You don’t aim down your sights, you have to pick up health packs, and it has that general feeling of the multiplayer of something like Quake or Unreal Tournament. It’s quick, you’re constantly strafing and dodging rockets and bullets, and you’re playing around in these maps that feel like they actual levels in a video game and not boring open maps that have no personality to them. You'll find yourself memorizing certain points on the map so you can stage my battles around them in case you need to retreat to a health pack, you'll be looking at where enemies are spawning from and noting their routes, it doesn’t feel like you're just moving around looking for people to kill - there’s a level of strategy to it.
LawBreakers manages to stand out due to the fact it appears to be a game that doesn’t have any weapons or classes locked to certain levels. While this is nothing new, it’s certainly welcomed. Anyone can jump into LawBreakers and not fear a level 100 player with the best gun in the game, everyone is on an even playing field in terms of what they’re equipped with. As long as the player is willing to learn and find a class that plays to their strength, they can quickly get in on the action and hold their own against players. On my first match, I got absolutely destroyed but in my second match, I got 47 kills and was the best player in the match.
The fact that there’s so much to gawk at in the beta alone shows immense promise for LawBreakers. Shooter fans are going to both love and hate the second half of 2017 simply because there’s so many great FPSs for them to enjoy in the form of Destiny 2, Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus, Call of Duty: WWII, and now LawBreakers. If you’re looking for a satisfying new shooter to get hooked on, LawBreakers is for you.
LawBreakers releases for PS4 and PC on August 8th, 2017.