I like to think I’m pretty decent at competitive shooters, but I just couldn’t get Lawbreakers to work for me when I played it this week at E3. Under development by Boss Key Studios, lead by Gears of War designer Cliff Bleszinski, Lawbreakers is a role-based competitive shooter entering a crowded market. With other games like Overwatch and Battleborn fighting for attention, will Lawbreakers stand out?
I played a capture-point style mode for Lawbreakers called Overcharge, and it seems clear that gamers hungry for a fast-paced Unreal Tournament-style game might find something to love here. Boss Key upsets capture-point norms by putting a massive gravity distortion field right in the center of the map. Battling over the center capture point isn’t just a simple skirmish. Enemies will shoot at you from all sides, including from above and below, and the chaos of that three-dimensional arena sets it apart from squat-and-hold environments.
Also, capture points are locked down for a brief period after they’re seized, letting teams reposition themselves and regroup for another fight. Most importantly, kills during this time stack up on players, increasing how quickly those players can capture points during the next round. During these brief pauses, fighting is a far more dangerous affair. If one player racks up several kills, especially right before the capture points unlock, it can become extremely easy for them to sneakily take the enemy team’s primary capture point.
With a huge amount of verticality and characters with a wide arrange of abilities (grappling hooks, rocket packs, lightning-bolts, etc. ), Lawbreakers is a game that will have a steep learning curve. I spoke briefly with one of the game’s designers, and they emphasized this point, letting us know that those who pick-up the importance of vertical maneuvering will dominate each match.
Lawbreakers sounds like an exciting shooter for those familiar with the fast-paced games that inspire it, including games like Tribes and, of course, Unreal Tournament. I, like probably many others will be, was turned off by the game's quick transitions between slow-and-plodding and fast-and-furious. This is a game that begs to be taken seriously. If you come at Lawbreakers like you do Overwatch, you will be decimated.
Lawbreakers does stand out, but it might not be for everyone.