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Despite not being a big PC gamer, Lawbreakers is a title that’s intrigued me since I first heard about it. I was fortunate enough to get some hands on time with the title at PAX East 2016, and if you’ve yet to scope my initial impressions I’d recommend giving it a quick read HERE-not only do I think it’s concise (for a Bro who tends to ramble!) but there are some neat photos! Nevertheless, I was fortunate enough to participate in the Lawbreakers Alpha Test this past weekend and I was quite excited at the prospect. Despite how uncomfortable I am playing a First Person Shooter on PC, I was eager to delve back into the world of Lawbreakers. If you’re looking for the quick rundown: Lawbreakers is one of the tightest and unique arena shooters to drop in quite some time. If you’re a fan of the fast-paced combat of Unreal but prefer to not have to pick up weapons throughout the map, this is a title you need to scope out ASAP.
Considering how much I enjoyed my time playing as the Titan character Cronos (see: Tank character) during PAX East, I opted to spend the bulk of my time during the alpha reprising my role. While this undoubtedly limited my experiences with the title, I thought this to be the best way to ensure these impressions were accurate and as thorough as possible-even if I’m only covering a quarter of the available classes. Cronos’ primary weapon, a rocket launcher, has decent Area of Effect (AOE) damage; however he’s also armed with a lighting gun which is ideal for short-medium range. This ensures he’s able to remain competitive with quicker characters who can literally run circles around him. His abilities include a “landmine”, a jumping electric-charged smash which is great for covering distance and literally crushing enemies, and his “ultimate” ability lets him float and shoot electricity, Emperor Palpatine-style. If you’re a fan of tank characters, Cronos is one of the best I’ve ever played in any game.
Something I noticed during my initial hands on time with the title was how easy the game is to pick up. If you’ve played any shooter on PC (especially any entry in the Unreal franchise) you’ll be right at home hopping into Lawbreakers. While the game is still in its infancy simply due to the fact it’s only in Alpha testing, this is a great characteristic. However, as evidenced by the variety of weapons and abilities available to the Titan character Cronos, it’s not hard to fathom matches increasing in complexity and strategy once the Lawbreakers community fully immerses themselves in the title. While the game is extremely easy to pick up-and looks awesome to boot-I’d wager once the full title is released it will be a very popular competitive title, as the varied number of attacks available to each character and the gravity mechanic makes each skirmish feel unique.
I emphasized the significance of the gravity mechanic in my initial post because the portions of the map where gravity is reduced completely alter the core gameplay mechanics. Playing as Cronos means I was always the slowest player in the game hulking around the map-except when I reached gravity reduced areas. Overall, gameplay moves at a brisk pace and I believe comparisons to the Unreal franchise are natural and completely warranted. That being said, whereas Unreal tends to move so fast I believe the speed serves as a significant barrier to entry for casual players, the pace of Lawbreakers feels quick but never disorienting.
Truth be told, the only critique I can concoct against Lawbreakers after spending more time than I’d care to admit playing as Cronos is movement feels a little too slow. Trying to jump back into the action after respawning felt as if it took an inordinate amount of time, and making my way across the map always felt like more of a slog than anything else. Now this is just the humble opinion of a Bro who loves gaming and isn’t MLG by any means, but I feel the movement speed of all players could be buffed slightly-say, 5% or 10%-so traversing the map wouldn’t feel as such a chore (for Titans, at least). That being said, the movement increase would have to be significant enough to make regular movement feel “normal” while still maintaining character balance, but not being buffed to the extent movement becomes a barrier to entry similar to Unreal.
Lawbreakers is a title I absolutely adored my time with. The action is fast, refreshing, balanced and unique. The environments, character models and weapons are all drop-dead gorgeous, but truth be told no gamer in the world expected anything less from the good folks over at Bosskey Productions. I cannot wait until the next Alpha test, because Lawbreakers is one of the sharpest games I’ve played in a long time. Until next time, Bros!