WHAT UP INTERNET?!
With PAX East in the rear view, it’s the perfect time to reflect upon the multitude of games I was fortunate enough to get some hands on time with during the show. Prior to attending PAX, I looked up multiple titles which would be available and made my mental list of games I needed to play: Overwatch, Doom…the usual suspects. I was completely unaware Bosskey Productions’ Lawbreakers would be playable at the show, and needless to say the second I saw the booth this game skyrocketed to the top of my PAX East “must-play” list.
As soon as the floor opened for Day 2, we walked as briskly as humanly possible to the Lawbreakers booth. After a short wait it was straight into a game mode unique to the title, simply dubbed “Battery.” The premise is simple-two teams fight for control of a single battery which chargers over the course of the game. Once the battery is fully charged, each team tries to return it to a specific area to score. For example-our team held onto the battery for the majority of the game and once it was fully charged the opposition swooped in, stole the battery and scored, effectively rendering our efforts ineffective.
I played as the resident tank named “Cronos” who carts around a rocket-launcher and slams the ground for a devastating close-range attack as a special. In order to familiarize myself with the controls during our single match I only played as this one character and grew comfortable quite quickly. It’s worth noting the character classes have yet to be finalized, and a brief conversation with Cliff and Lauren B after the panel indicated the team is currently toying with the idea of adding an additional class or two.
Due to my chosen character, movement was not particularly quick-however that does not mean engagements were slow. They were quite fast and frantic, partly due to the characters opposing me and largely due to the map we were playing on was fast and loose with gravity. At the center of the map-where most skirmishes occurred-gravity was reduced significantly, meaning encounters were primarily vertical. This meant my slow-moving tank class was able to evade and target faster characters with my rocket launcher.
The way the gravity mechanic alters encounters cannot be understated. Whereas a tank class would benefit from battles in tight corridors where the opposition cannot run away, being able to get vertical and rain down on enemy combatants provided new strategic possibilities. Combining the gravity mechanic with the capabilities of other character classes who can get around the map more quickly means action was varied and always unpredictable. That being said, the map layout was easy to pickup, so despite the abilities of my opposition I never felt as if I experienced any “cheap deaths,” for lack of a better term.
Gameplay reminded me of the Unreal franchise, meaning it was quick and easy to pickup. That being said, specific class skills and the gravity mechanic provided an added layer of complexity which never felt gimmicky or as if it was detracting from the gameplay. On the contrary-it made Lawbreakers feel fresh and innovative in a space which has grown increasingly saturated in recent years.
After attending the Lawbreakers panel at PAX South (which provided an exclusive look at the “cutting room floor” footage from the early stages of development) I immediately signed up for the Alpha-test of the game at Lawbreakers.com. This title feels fresh and while it’s entirely possible the game I played at PAX East 2016 may not resemble the completed product entirely, I cannot wait to see what the good folks of Bosskey Productions come up with. Until next time, Bros!