LawBreakers Review

 

 
Overview
 

Genre: Online First Person Shooter
 
Rating: M
 
Release Date: 08/08/2017
 
Overall
 
 
 
 
 
3.5/5


 

Positives


- Original ideas in a saturated market, something Cliffy B does well
- fast-paced, skill-based combat
- No pay-to-win content.

Negatives


- Takes way too long to find your first game
- Small and shrinking community that is only going to cause problems attracting new players, given the sharp learning curve.


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Posted August 16, 2017 by

 
Full Article
 
 

When LawBreakers was originally announced as the first game from new studio Boss Key Productions, Rocket Chainsaw was very excited to see how the game would fit in to the saturated market of online shooters. LawBreakers (previously known as BlueStreak) was possibly going to be a free-to-play game, however the heads at Boss Key Developments changed their minds in the final months before release and announced it would be $29.99USD exclusively on Steam with no DLC and no pay to win upgrades. Understandably LawBreakers has jumped through some tough developmental hurdles to be what it is today, and now as we battle in gravity-defying arenas whilst getting blown to pieces, we take a look at the final version.

LawBreakers is a class-based online-only first-person team-based shooter. Each class has unique weapons and abilities, and due to the fact that the game is limited to 5 players on each team, you’ll never see one of every class in a game. The nine classes are somewhat disguised with their names such as Vanguard and Harrier, however when you break each one down you can see how they fall in line with other class-based shooters. There are the fast low-damage classes, the medium high-damage classes, the meat-shield bullet-soaker class, and a healer.

While bogging down in a discussion about how LawBreakers differs to Overwatch could easily draw out this article, we don’t want you to read a cliché comparison article disguised as a review. Overwatch is clearly the market leader at the moment, however LawBreakers offers its own unique style of gameplay which separates it from the crowd. For one, the skill ceilings are much, much higher, but more importantly in LawBreakers you can make a difference by yourself with your power moves and/or good skills, whereas other online shooters these days are incredibly team focused.

The game is essentially a fight between the Law and the Breakers, hence the name, however it is also a fight against gravity – or the lack thereof. Different maps give you different low-gravity areas allowing for some very unique combat. Some areas are just an open field of low-gravity chaos, while others have black hole-esque gravity orbs which slowly pull you towards them. It does take some getting used to, but eventually you can use your class’s actions to take full advantage of both the normal and low gravity areas for maximum movement.

There are four game modes: Overcharge, Uplink, Turf War and Blitzball. Overcharge and Blitzball are basically the same game mode, only in Overcharge you take the battery back to your base, whereas in Blitzball you have to try and reach the goal in the enemy base. Uplink is quite similar to Overcharge, however it only charges whilst your team is present in the area, allowing for much closer combat. Finally, Turf War is your typical King of the Hill mode where there are capture points around the map. These points are only available for short periods and can move to different locations in the map. There are also moments of ‘intermission’ allowing for you to hunt down that adversary that may have been trying to pick you off from afar.

Where LawBreakers appears to fall apart is in its matchmaking. The game has unfortunately launched with an extraordinarily low player count, and has already halved since its release. This often means we had to spend up to 10-15 minutes waiting for a game depending on the time of day we tried connecting. It’s hard to justify wasting this amount of time which could be spent in a couple of rounds of Rocket League or another game with a larger community. It seems the $30 price-tag may be LawBreakers’ downfall and unfortunately as we’ve seen with games like BattleBorn, there’s possibly not much the developers can do to recover it from here.

The incredibly sharp learning curve for beginners will not help this either. LawBreakers is not a game for newcomers to first-person shooters. It is a high-action fast-paced game with little time for pausing or planning. The chat system is fairly straight forward, with players using the TAB key to quickly switch between general chat and team chat, and it’s not that difficult to learn each class’s strengths and weaknesses with their weapons, but in such a fast-paced game it can sometimes be difficult to get a lengthy amount of time shooting at the enemy.

At the end of each round, you’re treated with a loot crate. These crates contain cosmetic items such as skins, stickers and logos that you can equip to give your character a unique look. Cliffy B has assured fans of LawBreakers that there will be no pay-to-win content, and so far he has kept his word. The loot crates can’t be opened while you’re in matchmaking however, meaning if you want to open your crate you may be stuck waiting that 10-15 minutes to join another game again. You can buy extra loot crates if you desire, which may or may not give you exclusive and rare items, but none of these will assist you in-game, other than maybe getting more heat.

Graphically, LawBreakers is what you’d expect from an independent games developer. The quality isn’t all there, and it’s definitely not going to compete visually with the latest Call of Duty or Battlefield, but you’re wanting to maximise your frame rate in LawBreakers, and there are plenty of customisation options to achieve your high frame rate while still having decent graphics. We found that it benched much lower than what the computer we ran it on could handle, so the graphics settings are certainly worth fiddling with. Interestingly if you increase your field of view, your performance may decrease (unlike Overwatch).

Cliffy B has tried exceptionally hard to make LawBreakers what it has become, and it is indeed an amazing feat. It’s a solid first person shooter with new ideas, drawing ideas from some of the bigger and long-term shooters whilst remaining stand-on on its own. Unfortunately gamers were hoping it to be free on launch, and most don’t seem to be willing to fork over the $30USD for what is essentially a challenging game. If there’s one thing that may stand the test of time for LawBreakers it will be its community, and it will be interesting to see how positive it remains where other communities have been rife with toxicity.

LawBreakers was reviewed on an EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 FTW Gaming ACX 3.0 and had zero hiccups with everything running on Ultra settings.


David Latham

 
David has a Bachelor of Arts (Journalism) from a Group of Eight university, but only uses his very unique set of skills writing about video games. By day he's a stay-at-home dad, by night he's literally Batman. Where does he find the time?


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