Yesterday when the doors at PAX East opened early, Media surged forward through the doors, and The Relay surged with them, headed for that most important of events.
I wish that were a joke, but it was free.
Nourished and rejuvenated, we moved on to check out one of the larger booths on the show floor, one that would likely be beset with lines for the rest of the weekend, once the rest of the huddled masses yet lined up outside the convention hall were set free.
We checked out LawBreakers.
The latest game from the renowned and acclaimed Cliff Bleszinski, known primarily for his work on the Gears of War series and Unreal Tournament, LawBreakers provides an interesting and less stylized take on the ‘Hero Shooter’ formula, each team being provided with a choice between five different heroes with which to do battle. [For the purpose of our demo, one hero was both locked and unrevealed]. Hero Shooters are generally FPS games with multiple characters with cool-down abilities, in the vein of Team Fortress 2 and Overwatch.
The four available classes, Gunner [Breacher], Skirmisher [Maverick], Titan [Cronos], and Assassin [Kitsune], feel comfortable to move and different enough in play-styles to be entertaining, and yet they hardly feel remarkable. Admittedly our time with the game was rather short, but still, none of the characters seemed anything other than pairs of inanimate hands sticking out of the screen. It’s hard to explain, but they don’t feel quite alive.
Still, LawBreakers is in alpha. While character design and choice feels like they’re lacking, that could improve with more time., and the rest of the game still feels well put-together.
Movement, for example, feels smooth, even when picking it up for the first time. I personally played most as the Assassin, a quick and agile character that could boost repeatedly around the arena or send out an energy-based grappling-hook to move herself along quickly. The arenas make incredible use of the vertical space, players being able to jump, float, and grapple from point to point on the map.
Also most remarkably, and something I didn’t manage to really realize and utilize until the end of the demo, the center of the map we played had a large zero-g area. While floating through the zero-g area, you could fire behind your character, propelling them forward more efficiently. Fun, but I needed more time with it to get a feel of it.
The goal of the match we played was to grab a battery from the center of the map, take it back to your team’s base, and defend it while the battery charged to 100% in a sort of King of the Hill / Capture the Flag mashup. While it never happened in the matches we played, knowing that the match could turn completely in the dying seconds of the game lent some sense of urgency to the end of even the most one-sided match.
All in all, LawBreakers is a good-looking, fun-controlling hero-shooter that currently suffers from a distinct lack of feeling and character. Published by Nexon, LawBreakers will be a buy-to-play game, likely competing with games like Overwatch and Battleborn.