LawBreakers — Review

LawBreakers is the newest hero shooter to hit the gaming market. It’s a fast paced 5v5 first person shooter that offers a freedom of both flight and movement like no other game on the market. It’s thrilling at times as you dance in the air, battling other players. All whilst trying to stay afloat just long enough to win the fight.

There’s a great learning curve in figuring out the best way to stay afloat as you glide through the air towards opponents. Zooming down corridors and around buildings really does feel sublime.

The fast and frantic fighting in LawBreakers is one of its biggest strengths. They’re so much fun and it’s largely due to the anti gravity mechanics in the game. There is so much joy to be had when drop kicking an enemy in the face only to propel yourself half way across the map. The excitement in LawBreakers comes from moving around and not just the typical killing and capturing objectives and that’s something unique to an FPS.

There are nine different roles in LawBreakers, each with two characters filling those roles and each offering a totally different style of gameplay.  Speed can be a major player in LawBreakers and the classes reflect this. They’re diverse and each comes equipped with their own arsenal of special abilities.

All of the characters a useful in LawBreakers and that’s commendable. There are classes aimed at beginners, classes that suit advanced fighters and well-rounded ones that suit a mixture of play styles.

The assassin character swings around the map like a futuristic Spider-man. This is one of my favourite classes and it’s so much fun to do when you get the hang of it. Wraiths slide around the map for a speed boost and Juggernauts, whilst slow have a lot of health and carry a handy shotgun.

Unfortunately, the 18-character roster can feel quite bland at times, and some characters feel void of any personality. I understand that this is not really the point of this game, but when your competition is a game like Overwatch, I feel it needs mentioning.

Characters can all look the same when you’re fighting them from far away, which happens a lot. This is due to the silhouette that surrounds them and it’s only when you get up close you can actually see who you were shooting.

Learning how to pick characters based on your team’s selection can be part of the fun in LawBreakers, but even after a large number of matches I was pleased to see that no one character seemed to dominate. There’s a good balance here and the development team needs recognition for that. Players also have the option to change class mid match if they feel it’s not working out for them, which is a most welcome inclusion.

The low gravity areas in LawBreakers are some of the most fun I’ve had in a video game in a long time. There is a learning curve to it, but once you get the hang of it, it really does feel great. Swinging and sliding around in these areas is a challenge and advanced players will quickly learn which tactics work best in these situations.

Characters with multiple jump moves can benefit largely in these areas and the quicker you learn how to control yourself, the better you’ll be for it. Trying to master this is part of the fun, however, and it’s what kept me coming back for more.

The maps and game modes here aren’t the best I’ve seen. You have a total of eight maps, but six of them feel the same. Each map has indoor sections with normal earth like gravity, which are surrounded by an area of low gravity. There are passages and wide open areas, which offer diversity when in combat and encourage players to use the environment to their advantage. Vertigo is my pick of all the maps due to its large open low gravity space and I’m hoping for more maps like this in the future.

LawBreakers has five game modes, but there’s no Deathmatch or Team Deathmatch, something I’m disappointed with. We all like something new and fresh, but it’s nice to have the familiar with it too. The game mode Uplink seems the most unique to me. Players have to pick up the up link, like a flag in capture the flag. Once they have it they must plug it into a sort of terminal and gain points during that time.

Other game modes like overcharge or blitzball benefit players who can remember level layouts. I challenge anyone to do this as the levels can be quite large and winding, but if you manage this feat there’s no reason you can zoom from one side of the map to the other and win the game for your team.

The downside of the maps in LawBreakers is that all matches are joined from a single match making queue. This limits player’s choice of level unless you’re creating a custom game. Sometimes I found myself going five or six games without seeing a map I liked. There is also no ranked play, but this is supposed to be coming at a later point.

The visuals in LawBreakers are slightly uninspired, which applies to both the maps and the character models. The maps can look bland and typical at times and the level of detail isn’t just there. There’s a fighting game influence to the characters that I like, but despite the diverse group on offer, they’re just not as engaging as I’d like.

Post game players receive an ego boost at a time in the form of the game’s score grading. It’s a fun reward system that’s followed by the addition of earned loot. The cosmetic loot can provide a custom look for your favourite characters and adds an extra level of replayability. The PC version also includes tutorial levels which upon completion provide coin to buy loot. This is something that doesn’t occur on the PS4 version, although it’s not known why.

At its best LawBreakers manages to make moving and gliding feeling amazing. Falling with style only to land on someone’s face and deal the killing blow feels amazing. It’s a team-based game that goes a long way to making sure every player can contribute something. The fresh anti gravity mechanic is what makes this game and although the matchmaking can be a frustrating part, it doesn’t ruin the game.

LawBreakers does fast and tense combat well and all the core mechanics are there to be enjoyed, it’s just about mastering them.

You can find it on Steam here.

Constantly threatening to write a book, but always with a story to tell. Tom has a typical northern English soul. He may sound as mundane as Jon Snow, but at least he tries to articulate. Lover of video games, comics, geek pop culture and wishing he could play Dungeons & Dragons.
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