In recent years’ games have expanded to a point where there is something for everyone. Some competitive shooters offer unique mechanics or prioritize killing, but much like Splatoon, LawBreakers is less about your performance and more about the teams. With games forcing players to focus on the objective and elements that encourage fast pace plays, is LawBreakers the next big thing or is it all hype?
When loading LawBreakers up, there isn’t much. Since it’s an online only experience, there is no story, offline mode or bots to defeat. Players can choose quick match, a mode that matches players with others in a random mode and game type on default settings or custom game, which allows players to enable/disable certain classes and the ability to select a specific mode and/or stage. Unless you want to play against friends or participate in a tournament of sorts, you’ll be playing quick match.
Quick match has a total of five modes across eight different maps. The modes include overcharge, turf war, blitzball, occupy and uplink, which offer a good amount of diversity, even if there is some overlap. What makes all these modes, besides uplink, interesting is that they’re designed around fast paced action. Getting the objective isn’t enough to win and it’s a constant battle to remain on top.
The mode that best captures this idea is overcharge. The idea is simple. Players need to obtain a battery and bring it to their base to charge. After a period of time, the battery will be at 100 percent and then a countdown will begin. When the counter hits zero, the player with the battery scores a point and the battery resets. What makes this mode both fun and frustrating is charging the battery is neutral progress. Team A might get the battery from 0 percent to 100 percent, but if team B steals and captures it, they just need to hold it long enough for the countdown to expire. Needless to say, sometimes this will work in your favor and other times it will work against you, but it never stops players from trying or gives anyone a rest.
Uplink is similar to this, but instead of having a battery you have a communicator and progress can’t be stolen. It’s a more traditional capture and defend mode, filled with its own challenges. These include length of time, teams holding progress and more. So if you like killing enemies or camping, this is the mode for you.
Those uninterested with objectives have turf war and occupy. Both of these modes are about holding spaces, but go about it different ways. In turf war players need to hold multiple spaces for a brief amount of time. Most matches boil down to each side getting the location closest to them and then fighting for the middle location, though there are other ways to play. By leaving your base unguarded, you run the risk of someone easily capturing it, for the chance to easily capture the middle and then safely get it later. There are other tactics that come into play, making it hard to make the right call. As for occupy, players fight for a single space. It’s a bit more hectic and not as tactical, but it can get crazy trying to hold locations.
The final mode, blitzball, is easily my favorite and one of the most intense modes in the game. Similar to overcharge and uplink, players need to fight for a ball that needs to be brought to the opponent’s base. What makes blitzball so intense is, upon picking up the ball, you have 30 seconds until the ball kills whomever is holding it. This encourages rushing their goal, while leaving just enough time to try to secure it before rushing in.
In addition to modes having a good amount of diversity, every character offers a different style of play. For instance, enforcer is more of a standard character, like what you’d find in most shooters, where as gunslinger rewards precision by punishing inaccuracy. Beyond the standard characters are assassins, titan, juggernaut, medic and harrier, each having their own niche, playstyle and distinct advantages and disadvantages.
Assassins are a strong close range fighter that specialize in melee. They’re easy to kill, though they can kill players in melee range even faster. These are invaluable for holding a location, but not terribly great out on the field. The titan class fires rockets and have a lot of health, at the cost of poor maneuverability. These can be helpful for groups, but not the best if you stay in the air or get the drop on them. As the name suggests, juggernauts have a lot of defense and are designed to prevent people from progressing. Not the best class for fighting at range or multiple enemies, but amazing at securing objectives. Medics work in a similar way, having weak offensive capabilities, with the ability to buff other players. Finally, the new class, harrier, shoots a beam that is weak on its own, but deadly if you hit the debuff, which brings into play one of the biggest concerns with LawBreakers.
Since there are no tutorials, story mode or bots to teach people how to play, it falls on the player. This isn’t a bad thing per se, as the details page gives anyone interested all the details they need to know, but it can make playing as certain characters more difficult, resulting in more accessible players, such as enforcers and wraiths, to be a bit more common.
Without knowing you can use grenades and pulse while firing your gun with a vanguard or the ability to charge the gunslingers pistol for additional damage, it makes them feel weak. For this reason it’s strongly advised to actually read up on characters and try out different styles of play, instead of just writing them off. Every character seems to have their own distinct advantages and disadvantages, which rely on utilizing these mechanics. Without the debuff, harriers will likely lose every one on one fight, vanguards will feel underwhelming and so forth.
LawBreakers might just be the beta with slightly more content, but it’s an enjoyable experience. Some problems, like framerate issues, prevent LawBreakers from receiving an editor’s choice award, but if you can look past these things, it’s an extremely fun game. Every mode is action packed, with stats being second to winning. Combine this with a diverse range of characters, several thrilling modes and tons of cosmetic items and there is plenty to enjoy. And with plans to include free content, there is no fear of missing out or fracturing the community.
[Editor’s Note: LawBreakers was reviewed on PS4 platform. The game was provided to us by the publisher for review purposes.]LawBreakers Review,