Penetrating the online first-person shooter market is hard especially when the likes of ‘Overwatch’ is reigning supreme, but they say “if you can’t beat them, join them” and that’s exactly what LawBreakers (LB) sets out to do. Whilst the game bears a striking similarity to ‘Overwatch’ in terms of its premise and unique character identities (each of whom also have their own of skins and idle animations to unlock), LB cranks up the tempo to 11 and presents a much faster pace of gameplay.
Developed by Boss Key Productions (a new studio spearheaded by ‘Gears of War’ creator, Cliff Bleszinski), its gameplay focuses on intense online battles between two factions: the ‘Law’ and the ‘Breakers’. Given that Bleszinski previously worked on the ‘Unreal Tournament’ series before LawBreakers, it’s clear to see an incredibly similar vibe.
As a competitive online shooter, LawBreaker’s content is streamlined and offers nine character classes, a handful of maps and five gameplay modes: Overcharge, Turf War, Uplink, Occupy and Blitzball.
- Overcharge is basically the same as capture the flag and tasks players with capturing and charging a battery in their home base. When the battery reaches 100%, a further 20 seconds will count down before a point is scored. However, no matter which team ends up capturing the battery it will keep its charge until the countdown clock expires.
- Turf War is identical to capture the point. With a total of three points on the map to capture, it’s your job to take over as many spots as possible. Once all three point have been captured and locked down, they’re reset and the game continues until either side have reached the score limit.
- Uplink is similar to ‘Overcharge’ but instead of a battery you must collect a satellite dish and take it back to your base. The first team to successfully protect the dish at their home base until its reaches 100% transmission wins.
- Occupy sets players the objective of occupying a single zone which rotates to a different area every 45 seconds.
- Blitzball is my favourite game mode. With a ball sat in the middle of the map, you must capture it and take it back to your own glowing goal. If you take too long then it explodes and if it’s dropped and not picked up within a short amount of time, it resets to the centre of the map again. In a brilliant twist, the ball actually talks and is voiced by the same actor who voices Rick & Morty.
It took me a while to get used to LB’s quicker rate of gameplay when compared to some of its competitors. Its frantic and chaotic matches often led me to frustration because of the breakneck speed and tight learning curve. Some its gravity-defying maps also add a new perspective that takes time to acclimatise to. It will turn a lot of people off, but it may equally excite those looking for something fresh.
In comparison to the powerhouse that is ‘Overwatch’, LawBreakers offers a lot less in terms of content, but for a new studio launching their first title as a competitive online shoot ‘em up, it’s an incredibly brave journey to take and the path ahead looks bright for both the ‘Law’ and the ‘Breakers’.