Boss Key Productions’ LawBreakers is an enjoyable first person shooter that invokes memories of Unreal Tournament and Quake with its fast and at times frantic combat, but with the addition of a gravity defying mechanic.
Before I talk about gameplay, I want to briefly mention the game’s story. The game takes place in a futuristic America, years after a global seismic event known as “The Shattering”, an event that forever changed the world and gravity itself.
Now, during the time the game is set two factions, Law and Breakers, are fighting for control of different areas of America, including a futuristic Santa Monica and Grand Canyon.
When it comes to gameplay, LawBreakers stand out mechanic is the zero gravity zones that populate the game’s various maps.
These zero gravity zones place a strong emphasis on player skill as player movement within these zones can be challenging for inexperienced players, but once you master the movement in zero gravity, you will be able to run circles around opponents.
One important lesson to learn about the zero gravity zones is that firing your weapon will cause you to accelerate in the opposite direction of where you fired, so knowing this you can use the game’s blind fire to propel yourself through a zero gravity zone, which is perfect if you are trying to capture and return an object to your base.
Moving away from the gravity of LawBreakers’ main mechanic, let’s look at the classes. LawBreakers has a total of nine classes, and eighteen different looking characters.
The nine classes in LawBreakers are Vanguard, Enforcer, Titan, Assassin, Gunslinger, Juggernaut, Battle medic, Wraith and Harrier. Each class comes equipped with their own weapon and three class specific abilities.
Before going any further the abilities mostly consist of a form of sprint, an offensive or defensive buff, and a what I could best describe as an ultimate ability, which unlike the other two require time to charge up
In terms of classes, they can be easily be broken down into tank, healer or damage dealer. The roles aren’t spelt out, but it is obvious once you examine their abilities and weapon loadouts.
For example, the Juggernaut class has access to temporary armour enhancements and the ability to create a shield; this means the class is quite clearly built around tanking damage. Another is the battle medic, which true to its name is a healer.
The other classes are various types of damage dealers, from the Titan who uses a rocket launcher for area of effect damage to the assassin who dual wields knives for melee damage. With so many different play styles you will be certain to find a class that suits your style of play.
Speaking of style, the game has a degree of character customisation in the form of stash boxes, these boxes which are gained from levelling up or with real money, contain cosmetics such as Character Skins, Weapon Skins, Kick Decals, Weapon Stickers and Account Portraits.
Moving back to gameplay, let’s look at various game modes and maps on offer. LawBreakers has a total of five modes: Overcharge, Turf War, Occupy, Uplink and Blitzball. All the modes are based on objective play with players either needing to collect and hold an object for X amount of time or capture specific areas on a map.
While some modes such as overcharge, which involves capturing and holding a battery, and uplink, which involves capturing and holding an uplink module, might look similar minor differences make approaching them very differently.
In regards to maps, the game has a mixture of outdoor and indoor maps with zero gravity zones usually appearing in the centre of the map. In terms of map size, they range from small to medium.
Personally, when it comes to the map variety I felt a little let down, a lot of maps contain the same premise of winding corridors and wide open zero gravity zones.
Although, some maps are indoor only, which can make the zero gravity zones very difficult to manoeuvre in. In the end, I personally wasn’t blown away by the maps.
For me when I play a multiplayer shooter, balance is a very important part of the game, and I don’t just mean balance between the classes, I mean the balance between players.
Personally, I don’t find it fun being thrown into a game against level 15-21 players as a level 8, yes there are no ability or weapon advantage, but the level 15+ players have more experience than me.
I would have loved to see LawBreakers have a system where I could be matched up against players close to my level, because well honestly getting curb stomped by a player two to three times my level isn’t my idea of fun.
In my opinion Boss key Productions’ could have potentially alleviated the player skill disparity with a more in-depth tutorial system, I mean a sandbox mode and videos is honestly a bit of a joke. Personally, I would have liked to see tutorials that involve teaching players how to best handle the zero gravity zones etc.
So, I haven’t really mentioned the gunplay, and honestly, there isn’t much to say.
It very much like any first person shooter, and honestly if the gravity defying aspect of LawBreakers didn’t exist I would have said that the game felt flat, but the gravity element does exist and honestly it really does make LawBreakers feel fresh and exciting, and in a world where first person shooters all feel the same, a new fresh and interesting idea is always welcome.
In terms of graphics, LawBreakers has a bit rough on the colour palette as the game uses a lot of muted colours, however, the muted colours are in keeping with the game’s theme.
LawBreakers is also a well-optimised PC title, as I never found the game dipping below 100 frames per second even on its highest graphical setting.
In terms of audio, I didn’t find any issues. As the sound effects all hit the right notes along with the music and ambient sounds keeping me interested in the world.