reviews\ Aug 11, 2017 at 10:46 am

Review: LawBreakers is a FPS fan's wet dream on steroids

LawBreakers has redefined what it means to be a FPS.

Review: LawBreakers is a FPS fan's wet dream on steroids

Platform: PlayStation 4 (reviewed), PC

Developer: Boss Key Productions

Publisher: Nexon

MSRP: $29.99

Introduction:

LawBreakers is easily one of the most enjoyable and inventive shooters of the generation. In a genre plagued with generic military shooters and skill based online modes with an overwhelming amount of progression rewards, LawBreakers deals away with all of that. It doesn’t want to be Call of Duty, Battlefield, or Titanfall, it wants to be its own entity. Sure, it’ll draw comparisons to Overwatch but even then it manages to stick out.

LawBreakers is the first game from Cliff Bleszinski’s new studio, Boss Key Productions. It’s an online character based shooter that mixes the old school feeling of arena shooters like Quake and Unreal Tournament with new innovations like fast paced zero-gravity combat. At the start of each match, the player chooses a character that fits their playstyle and then heads into whatever randomly selected objective based mode was selected.

An intense shooter that sinks its teeth into you with its addictive and innovative mechanics:

Review: LawBreakers is a FPS fan's wet dream on steroids

The key to LawBreakers is its movement, the combat and movement are almost intertwined. If you aren’t strafing, jumping over players, or zipping yourself around corners to avoid firefights that get just a bit too hairy, you’re going to fail. When you’re playing, you’re hardly even thinking your hands just take over and you watch your character zoom around bullets and kick people in the face.

That isn’t to say there isn’t any strategy though since your health doesn’t regenerate on its own you’re given three options. Hope to god that someone is playing medic and heals you during battle, find some health packs, or find a machine that heals you all the way up but leaves you pretty vulnerable if you let your guard down. You’ll find yourself memorizing health pack spawns and healing machine locations so you can stage your battles around them in case you need to retreat or an enemy tries to bolt off to take a breather.

There’s this feeling of momentum in LawBreakers, it flows so well and you’re rarely ever stationary. You don't even have to stop to turn around and put holes into an enemy chasing you, simply hold down on the D-Pad and your character flips his/her gun around and blind fires while you continue to sprint forward.

Well made maps centered around gravity and the movement:

Review: LawBreakers is a FPS fan's wet dream on steroids

The well-designed maps help quickly get you into the action due to how many paths there are, it doesn’t try to narrow it down to three main paths like a Call of Duty. There are all these well-placed routes for flanking, some that may not have even been intentional, and there’s always a way to get around your enemy. You will never find yourself in a situation where there’s absolutely no way to outsmart your enemy.

When you reach the center of a map, gravity flips and you begin to float. This takes combat and movement to a whole new level. The zero-G allows you to do things like spin yourself around in a vertical loop, almost like you’re swinging from a rope, to build momentum so you can shoot yourself out of the zone and get over some pesky enemies that are trying to prevent you from reaching an area. You’ll also engage in plane-less dog fights, deliver swift kicks to people floating around like Neil Armstrong, and gain the upper hand on people who have their boots planted on the ground. It’s a complete game changer, the middle of a map in a shooter has always been the hotspot for intense firefights and Boss Key found a way to make it actually feel fresh and different from anything you’ve ever played.

There's tons of variety via the arsenal of characters to choose from:

Review: LawBreakers is a FPS fan's wet dream on steroids

Like Overwatch, this game has a number of unique characters to choose from. Players of all types will find someone to latch on to, whether you’re one for slicing people up with a sharp blade, going into objectives with a big gun and unloading lead into your foes, or playing support so you can help your team reach victory, there’s a character for you.

There’s not one character that feels identical to another, they all have unique weapons specific to them along with some crazy ability and it allows for any player to get in on the fun. With the mix of characters, it's easy to find yourself really disoriented when trying to switch between characters during matches. There are a few classes that need some balancing but of course, we’re in the early days of the game so they’re still tweaking characters.

The fact that I’ve played tons of matches on LawBreakers both during the beta and the final game and all I want to do is keep playing, despite there not being much of a progression system, really says something. The gameplay is so infatuating that I don’t need the promise of some fancy gun or character at level 100 to keep playing, I’m thoroughly entertained by just playing the game as is and earning cosmetic items here and there.

LawBreakers doesn't take itself too seriously and that's a good thing:

Review: LawBreakers is a FPS fan's wet dream on steroids

Part of what allows LawBreakers to succeed is its unique personality. Not only does its speed define the game, but its sense of humor and style helps LawBreakers competently stand up to other competitors. There are little touches to the game, like one of the objectives in a mode being a ball with a face and voice that gets a thrill out of being carried around and thrown into goals, quips from characters when they spawn in or accomplish something and a bunch of stylized stickers for you to customize your player card with. Boss Key establishes a tone for themselves with LawBreakers and I can’t wait to see them embrace it more and more as time goes on.

The Verdict:

LawBreakers is a shot of adrenaline for the FPS genre. It manages to breathe fresh air into a stale genre. It isn’t easy to make something so original and exciting to play in this day and age, please do not let this game slip off your radar. This is a game that deserves your love and attention - especially at $30.

Bottom Line

LawBreakers takes the best elements of various shooters and puts its own unique spin on them to create the ultimate shooter. If you miss the days of old-school arena shooters or want a refreshing shooter, LawBreakers is the game for you.

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