Boss Key’s LawBreakers was on display at this year’s E3, and in addition to the game being playable on PC, it was also playable on the PS4 for the first time in public. I went hands-on with the PS4 version, and I found the session to be much more enjoyable than my previous time with the game on PC during its closed betas. Now before you start rolling your eyes PC Nation, I am a console-FPS type of guy, and always will be thanks to the comfort of a controller over a keyboard and mouse setup. My brain just doesn’t jive with WASD-controls, which makes games like LawBreakers on a PC seem way more complicated than they are, resulting in a frustrating experience. This is a “me” thing, but I know there are other gamers out there who — like me — prefer a controller over a keyboard and mouse to play FPS games, so if you are one of these gamers, you’ll be happy to know that LawBreakers works very well on the PS4.
During the LawBreakers PS4 hands-on session I played in two Blitzball matches, which pit two teams of players against each other with the goal of snagging a ball that spawns on the map and taking it to their respective goal to score a point. Of course, this all has to be done while you have enemy forces raining all sorts of hell down upon you and your team thanks to the game’s play on gravity, which always yields more than a few insane mid-air ballets of death while two teams duke it out during a match.
The gunplay is very twitchy and frenetic, especially when floating in the air trying to pull off a gnarly kill en route to grabbing the blitzball. Being a console-FPS homer I found the controls to be way more responsive and easier to process than the PC version, so I had way more fun playing on the PS4 than any of my previous PC sessions. The controller felt more natural to me in all aspects of LawBreakers’ controls, and while I didn’t find myself atop any in-game leaderboards for being overly awesome, I did at least feel like I was competing thanks to the familiar feel of FPS controls on a console-based controller.
I know this is sacrilegious to most of the PC master race and FPS genre purists, but for gamers who are more fond of a controller while playing FPS games it’s crucial for the game to be fun. I know you can be way more precise and quick with a keyboard and mouse in a game like LawBreakers, but if your brain just doesn’t deal well with using WASD to move and the mouse to aim and shoot, a controller is a familiar feeling device that almost anyone can get the hang of in a short amount of time.
LawBreakers itself is shaping up nicely, but I still question if it’ll have a place in today’s competitive gaming landscape. It will have the Overwatch juggernaut to deal with once it releases this fall, so it’ll be interesting to see if it too can build up a fanbase like Blizzard’s competitive FPS. I’m not sure there is enough room for LawBreakers to take root and spread like wildfire, but at least from what I’ve played the game is brilliant technically. I just don’t think its gravity gimmick is enough to get masses of gamers to jump ship from their current line of shooters that they already have a year or more of their lives invested into. Boss Key is doing and saying the right things, so LawBreakers will make a splash when it launches this August, but the true test for the game and new studio will be if it can maintain a dedicated following after the launch hype fades away.
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