Not Bri­tish Steel

PCPOWERPLAY - - Review -

De­vel­oper Boss Key stu­dios publisher NexoN Amer­icA iNc. price $ 29.99 AvAil­Able At steAm lawbreak­

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.

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