The concept of LawBreakers seems to be one that should be shifting copies of the game faster than the speed of light, but for some reason it seems to have hit the market with little more than a dawdle. The game has a big name attached to it, Gears of War creator, Cliff Bleszinski, it hopes to reinvent the arena shooter, and has an ensemble cast of characters to suit any tastes. But for some reason the game just falls pretty flat, but it’s not without its merits.
If HALO, Gears of War, Unreal Tournament, Overwatch, and Quake were all smashed together during some sort of weird orgy, you’d get LawBreakers. It’s a fast-paced arena shooter(ish) which rewards players on skill rather than team comp. Whereas games like Overwatch – one of the more obvious comparisons here – reward players for teaming up and working together, perhaps choosing a character to fill a certain role, LawBreakers doesn’t.
LawBreakers is the lone wolf video game we’ve all been waiting for. Despite the vast array of different characters, players can find one that suits them, or the game mode they’re thrust into, and have a relatively enjoyable and successful experience. It combats the frustration of having someone choosing a shitty character just because they “like it”, and allows the freedom to choose whomever you please.
That’s not to say that there isn’t a level of teamwork that’s needed in LawBreakers because there certainly is. However you’re not going to get bitched at by some “pro-tier” player for choosing a certain character.
In terms of gameplay, the characters are incredibly well put together with an insane amount of variety. There are characters that focus on close-quarters melee combat, and others on huge rocket launchers. There is a clear definition between each character, however each character also manages to pack a punch when it’s needed. Sure they can be placed in a box like Tank, DPS, or Medic, but even the medic character can obliterate the enemy if played correctly.
That being said, while character roles are the same per team, they’re each represented by different heroes. The only issue is that these heroes are incredibly forgettable. There’s just no personality in this game to tie players to a particular character. There’s no real lore, there’s no overarching story explaining why the Breaker are who they are, nor why the Law are stopping them.
Unfortunately the game offers nothing in the way of a Tutorial other than a bunch of YouTube videos which briefly run through each characters’ skill set. There’s nothing practical here, no particular scenarios for players to get used to, just a straight up gameplay trailer highlighting each character. And because this game is so quick, it’s difficult to actually see how each move is executed in-game.
There is a free play mode but it’s basically just an empty arena full of dummies that don’t move. Sure, it gets you used to how the character you’ve chosen moves, but it’s hardly a speck on what the game actually has to offer and that’s speed.
One of the other areas which LawBreakers shines is how fast the gameplay is. Especially if you’re playing a much more nimble character. This is a blessing and a curse sometimes as you can quickly dash into the fray, pop off a few enemies, and get away relatively unscathed, but at the same time the game as an incredibly high learning curve in order for you to actually get skilled enough to do something like that.
While reports have stated that LawBreakers has a pretty low player-base, it certainly isn’t evident as I never struggled to get into a game, nor were games underpopulated or forcing me into lobbies which had ridiculously high ping, which is definitely impressive, however if the player base was to dwindle further and games were difficult to get into, I couldn’t see myself actually sitting around waiting to get into a game.
One thing which struck me as odd was the inability to browse servers or games in order to choose a particular game mode or map. Though that might be partly due to the game’s maps and modes all feeling largely the same. LawBreakers some how manages to do the impossible and that’s to repackage the same game mode as something new. One mode has players recovering a battery, waiting for it to charge, and winning. Another game mode as players recovering a ball, and delivering it to an end-goal. It’s essentially a repackaged capture the flag mode with some slightly different mechanics.
In addition, none of the maps felt largely unique either, just a bunch of empty corridors with a wide-open space which usually has an anti-gravity bubble for players to float around in.
My initial impression of LawBreakers wasn’t a good one. For some reason it just felt like a free-to-play game despite the game being sold for £25. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, but it just didn’t feel like a premium game. The game also feels like it’s trying to force its way into the esports scene with a lot of game modes being very sport orientated, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, the esports scene is absolutely blowing up, but it just feels a little too contrived.
I wanted to enjoy LawBreakers, I really did. It sure had its moments too, however for the most part it just didn’t pull me in like other shooters. I felt no real drive to continue playing nor did I feel any attachment to the game’s heroes. Nothing really stood out to me in LawBreakers, yes I can agree that it has some exceptional shooting mechanics and the need for skill is definitely an interesting concept, but seeing as the game requires dedication there’s nothing encouraging me to keep playing.
The game is definitely a great arena shooter for those who are fans of the classics like Unreal Tournament or Quake, however with a new version of both of these games on the horizon, I can easily see LawBreakers being abandoned for the next best thing.