Must gravity always win?
Rules, as this month’s Hype crop makes clear from the off, are there to be broken. LawBreakers’ (p38) title is a reference to a world in anarchic disrepair, but it’s also a fine way of conveying the extent to which Cliff Bleszinski’s return from retirement flouts the laws of physics.
One character flings mines that strengthen the gravitational field around them, slowing enemies down. Another has a ground-pound with the opposite effect, flinging players into the air. Some maps have low-G sectors. None of this is surprising given Bleszinski’s past – rocket jumping is in
LawBreakers too – but it’s indicative of a widespread desire among creators to fiddle with the natural order of things. As its name implies, Gravity Rush 2 (p52) takes the concept to its logical extreme, giving you full control over the direction you fall in, Sony Japan Studio’s disregard for Newtonian physics giving its teams licence to craft some out-of-this-world level designs.
Yet some are heading the other way. While Dishonored 2 (p44) still empowers the original game’s hero Corvo with his Blink teleport, new protagonist Emily uses a grapple hook to get about the place. The result is a more physical, momentum-based approach to traversal – especially so in the context of a game whose male lead can possess rats and teleport across the sky.
Then there’s Budget Cuts (p54), a Vive exclusive that, while built around a marvellously implemented teleportation system, is brilliant for the rules it adheres to, rather than the ones it breaks. This is a game where you peer tentatively around corners that aren’t there, and cower behind non-existent desks to evade bullets fired by a make-believe robot, before trying to pull yourself up on a ledge your brain is convinced is in front of you right up until the moment you crash to your living-room floor. VR design is necessarily hemmed in by real-world concerns, but this shows that the law can still be fought, and beaten, on its own terms.