‘Lawbreakers’ Review: A Hero Shooter with Grit
A lot of hero shooters that have been coming out have been a little more on the cartoonish side. Overwatch started the whole hero shooter movement and even that game is lighthearted in tone. The graphics are bright and colorful, and a lot of the characters have popping personalities. Well, Boss Key Productions decided to throw a wrench in that formula with their creation, Lawbreakers.
Lawbreakers is a team-based, multiplayer only hero shooter with some unique concepts and design decisions. You play on a team of five players as either the Law side or—wait for it—the Breakers side.
There are nine classes in total, with unique characters for those classes on either side: the Battle Medic, Assassin, Enforcer, Juggernaut, Gunslinger, Harrier, Titan, Vanguard, and Wraith. Each class boasts in own abilities, traversal options, and primary and secondary firing options. These classes play the same regardless of what side you’re playing on, so the Gunslinger on the Law side has the same abilities as the Gunslinger on the Breakers side.
Each character can also be customized from their weapon to their overall appearance. Each of the customization options boast a range of different rarity colors from common to legendary, though they use a different naming system in Lawbreakers. It is, essentially, white, green, blue, purple, and orange.In here lies a problem: some of the skins make it hard to discern who you’re fighting against, as a lot of them look the same. This doesn’t really detach from the total experience, but a small aesthetic feature I had noticed.
In here lies a problem: some of the skins make it hard to discern who you’re fighting against, as a lot of them look the same. This doesn’t really detach from the total experience, but a small aesthetic feature I had noticed.
Before getting into the matches themselves, I checked out the menus. There really wasn’t a whole lot in the vein of menu diversity aside from play, options, and a few other basic choices. I also noticed, to my dismay, that there wasn’t a tutorial when I first launched the game. I’m not sure if this is a launch issue or if Lawbreakers just doesn’t have a tutorial. With a game that has mechanics as complex as this, it really needs one.
I have played the game before, but it was a long time ago during the testing phase so I had NO idea what I was doing. This might deter new players from continuing on, but half the fun comes from trying to figure out what the hell you’re doing. They have small videos that explain what each character does, but nothing that walks you through the basics, or how to play each character.
It is also worthy to note that their matchmaking process is alright at best. You can only queue for quick play, or you can make a custom session. The quick option throws all game modes and maps into one pool and is randomly decided for you. There is no voting process for modes or maps. I hope, in the future, Boss Key will add in a match search feature on a way for you to narrow down the match categories.
Plus, this game just screams “eSports” due to the high skill ceiling. So, maybe, a ranked mode?
Lawbreakers really excels in the matches it puts forth. There are four unique game modes, boasting some of the best features I’ve played in a hero shooter yet. I’m happy to see that three of the game modes are completely unique and only one felt similar. Uplink is a mode where either team has to fight for control of the uplink to download data for their team. So long as you hold the point, you download data. Blitzball is kind of a unique take on capture the flag, but with one flag. Get the EURO ball to your enemy team’s base to score a point. Turf War is your basic grab three zones and reach the score limit, nothing special here.
Lastly, Overcharge sees both teams fighting for control of a single battery on the map. Once you get that battery you need to take it to your base to charge up. Now, the battery will retain its charge, so if the enemy team steals it at 99% you better retrieve it back as fast as you can. The first team to two points wins Overcharge and I have to say this has to be my favorite game mode. There is so much potential for upsets in Overcharge it makes for an edge-of-your-seat game.
The maps in Lawbreakers are well put together to match the features in the game, even though some of the maps feel similar to each other with the same sort of hallways and outside areas. What makes the environments in Lawbreakers great is the options for traversal. The Vanguard class characters can make use of their afterburner systems and fly across the level, and some maps are designed beautifully to utilize this. The Assassin’s weapon also turns into a laser-like rope that allows them to swing through the maps like Spider-Man.
There are also areas of each map that have an anti-gravity zone which turns each game up to 11! Once you enter these zones, all jumps become leaps and leaps become flight. Suddenly, it takes that much more skill to aim at, and hit, the enemy players.
Overall, Lawbreakers is tons of fun once you get all the mechanics down. I found my comfort with the Gunslinger, and I personally liked Faust over Abaddon. I ended up going on multiple killstreaks and helping my team achieve victory, which felt really good because I am hot garbage at other hero shooters. The fun and fluid combat mixed with unique game modes and maps with open traversal options make Lawbreakers a strong contender in the genre.
I feel like Lawbreakers has a strong future ahead of it with plans of new classes, game modes, and maps. You should pick this one up if you’re a fan of games like Overwatch. Check it out on either PlayStation 4 or PC.
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Review statement: The copy of this game was provided by the developer for the sake of this review.