Not British Steel
Developer Boss Key studios publisher NexoN AmericA iNc. price $ 29.99 AvAilAble At steAm lawbreakers.nexon.net
Kudos to Cliffy B and Boss Key Studios for trying to do something different with the competitive shooter. Lawbreakers adds a genuine sense of three dimensionality that is lacking in most competitive FPS through something the developers call “The Shattering”. A global catastrophe, the Shattering sundered the land with seismic events so great they lead to gravitational anomalies dotted around the planet. In gameplay terms this means that maps have areas of zero or reduced gravity, and the nine playable classes (each class has two character options) all have their own way of navigating the maps, from triple jumps to jetpacks, wall-running, teleportation, speed boosts and more.
Getting around the maps is great fun. The movement and verticality of the maps is a joy to play around in, both in terms of movement and gunplay. Nailing a perfect shot while flying through the air is great, as is nailing an enemy flying through the air. Learning to track players while moving in three dimensions is one of the most, if not the most vital skill in Lawbreakers, and once you have the hang of it, the core gameplay loop of movement and tracking movement is wonderfully realised. Unfortunately much of the rest of the game is fundamentally flawed to the extent that the core gameplay becomes, if not overshadowed, then at least somewhat obscured.
Lawbreakers features five game modes playable across each one of its maps. The game modes themselves are great riffs on established modes like Capture the Flag and King of the Hill, but the fact that each of the maps has been designed to accommodate them
designs look as though they could be from any Korean MMO released in the last ten years
all renders them either rather dull or unbalanced as the needs of each mode differ. Some maps fare better than others, but given that there doesn’t appear to be a way to choose a game mode to queue for, it really does appear to be a crapshoot as to what you’ll find yourself playing.
The characters also leave more than a little something to be desired. While the core mechanics of the different classes are nicely varied, the actual designs look as though they could be from any Korean MMO released in the last ten years, and the names, with a few exceptions aren’t really indicative of a character’s role in the game. There is almost no lore, so there is nothing in terms of context either. You can test out the characters in a sandbox mode, but given that the only targets in it are both passive and invulnerable it’s not particularly educational if you’re looking to try out different weapons to see their accuracy and damage.
With some new maps dedicated to game modes as well as a proper AI sandbox for training, Lawbreakers can be a great competitive shooter. As it stands, mechanically the game is already excellent, but it’s those fine details that need to be tweaked. Luckily, there doesn’t seem to be much problem finding a game, so it’s not much of a stretch to think that we’ll be seeing some balance patching, map tweaks and new content in the not too distant future. TAVISH FORREST
Step outside the generic shooter arena for some fresh air.