Cliff Bleszinski is most famous for his work on the Gears of War series. As a fan of Gears of War, when I heard about the new project from Cliff Bleszinski, I was immediately interested in the concept of playing a first person shooter with some zero gravity moments thrown in the mix. While LawBreakers is not exactly a novel concept in the ever growing list of character based first person online multiplayer shooters, it feels fresh enough and carries its own unique experience that helps in differentiating it from other games in the same genre.
Despite having an extremely satisfying gameplay for a first person shooter, LawBreakers fails in one aspect of game design that is also equally as important: Making a memorable cast of characters. This is unfortunately an area where LawBreakers seems like a step back from other games. I have played a lot of Overwatch and while I enjoy its gameplay, I also feel attached to the characters I play, which unfortunately wasn’t the case with me when I played LawBreakers.
LawBreakers is strictly online-only experience which means there are no offline bots to play around with in case you want to practice your skills. This is a major bummer since the game will require some time to adjust to its mechanics that revolve around the player utilizing each of the different roles to their full potential. There is no training mode or tutorial to speak, so a lot of the newcomers will have a tough time as soon as they step into the game world. This was pretty common to see in the game’s launch week when most of the players were new to the game, and kept getting killed or failed to follow the objectives outlined by the game.
There are 9 different roles to choose around in LawBreakers and each of them come with their own set of weapons, primary and secondary skills. Some of the roles are more suited for a offensive approach while others focused on a mix of both, a good defense and offense. There are also roles that serve the purpose of supporting team members. Right now, the issue is that the support is barely there as most of the people haven’t managed to grasp the fundamentals of gameplay which makes most of the online matches a case of free for all. If you are just playing with random players, this tends to be the case for the most part although with a friend, this can be avoided by working as a team.
It will take a while for you to settle for a role since there are many to choose from, and depending on your playstyle, they might not work well with you. In my case, I always enjoyed trying to defend team members and going all offense which is why I preferred a role like Enforcer with his fast moving distortion field ability and a good aresenal of weapons from assault rifle to pistol for short-range combat. The enforcer also carries a rocket launcher as a cool-down timer attack which can instantly kill an enemy with one hit once locked down.
There are other roles that can offer a good defense or offense for the team like the Battle Medic with his grenade launcher which makes it tricky to hit enemies in air but deadly on the ground. They also carry a defense grid and support drone for the team members. One of the aspect that the medic also enjoys is maneuverability in the air with their hoverpack skill. Speaking of which, Boss Key Productions has nailed the feeling of taking control of our character in the air. It feels great to be in control of our character in the air and the experience is amplified further by the inclusion of some of the character skills that lets you either perform multiple jumps or hover in the air around the zero gravity sections.
There are not a lot of game modes to choose from right now. You have the Turf War mode which is essentially a zone control mode letting you capture three different zones. Occupy works similarly but results in the team gaining points if they manage to take control of a capture point. Meanwhile for a more offensive gameplay, you can try the Uplink mode which lets you steal a small satellite and then uplink the data at your base while your team members defend it. Similar to this mode is the overcharge mode which is quicker and requires you to steal a battery and then return to your base so you can charge it. Lastly you can try the Blitzball mode which requires you to grab a ball that spawns at the start of the match and then take it to the desired goal point on the map while making sure you don’t lose it to the enemy player.
LawBreakers doesn’t exactly break new ground in term of first person shooters but it hits the nail right on the head when it comes to the gameplay. The shooting is extremely satisfying and the controls are tighter with a focus on skill based gameplay. Unfortunately the character designs is a little bland overall lacking the personality and charisma that makes them standout. I also had some trouble finding matches which is concerning since this is just the launch week but thankfully the net code so far has been great and aside from minor hitches that some players faced at launch, it works mostly smooth now after the latest patch.
LawBreakers Review (PS4)
Game Reviewed on: PS4
Game description: LawBreakers, previously known under the code-name BlueStreak, is a first-person shooter video game developed by Boss Key Productions and published by Nexon. It was released worldwide on August 8, 2017 for Microsoft Windows and PlayStation 4.
Despite carrying a steep difficulty curve, LawBreakers is a blast to play once you manage to master the gameplay. The net code is also excellent for a multiplayer shooter resulting in a smooth experience overall.