Having a comprehensive look at the gaming titles in our gaming library (Steam,Origin,Uplay, the client does not matter), we will see that first person shooters have evolved since the inception of gaming, with multiple games and multiple ways of playing it.
The real concept of playing in a squad was started by Counter Strike, which was taken forward by other games like Team Fortress 2 and SMITE, each with their own contributions – the most unique of which was the ability to play as a class and with a particular weapon. Class-based gameplay got an unique twist to it when Battleborn and Overwatch came, which improvised the SMITE model of gameplay.
MOBA elements in a squad, along with a concept of role-play made the generation of games a popular one. The question really remained – how hardcore of a game do you want? More MOBA like, with FPS elements? Then it’s SMITE. Class based gameplay with a casual twinge? Team Fortress 2? Highly competitive FPS with role-play based on classes? Overwatch or Paladins. And if you liked the really old games of the FPS generation, which include Unreal Tournament and Quake, a feeling of nostalgia for fast and hardcore gameplay, with a taste of class-based mechanics, then Lawbreakers is your game.
LawBreakers is a first-person shooter video game developed by Boss Key Productions and published by Nexon for Microsoft Windows and PlayStation 4. It was released worldwide on August 8, 2017.
Lawbreakers is a multiplayer squad game, with two modes of gameplay available currently – Quick Game, which takes you and drops you into a lobby with other players queuing for a game, or Custom Game, where you make a lobby with friends, or wait with a half-made lobby till some other players queuing for a game join the lobby. A competitive mode, much coveted and expected in a fast FPS like Lawbreakers, is found to be missing, which is indeed a disappointment.
If you’re a beginner to the scene of fast arena based shooters, and squad based gameplay, there is a tutorial section dedicated to helping you. Tutorial videos help you learn the basics of each hero, their primary and secondary weapons, as well as their ability and their ultimate. A tutorial range is there to help you get started, which has training bots to help you hone your skills. If you want to try out new strategies, new combos and stuff, the training range is the perfect place to try them out on the bots. Tutorial videos explaining the game modes exist as well, where the basics of gameplay in each mode have been thoroughly explained.
Gameplay And Mechanics
Lawbreakers is a squad based FPS, with class based gameplay. You play in a squad, and you play as a team with other players. Each class has a weapon of its own, and have different ways of boosting movement too! Some have thrusters, some have jets, some have sprinters and whatnot! Each class also has an active ability, and an ultimate ability. While technically looking like a huge MOBA, elements of Quake or Unreal Tournament are already incorporated in the game, with game modes much different from the standard MOBA approach to video games.
You have healing vials on various places in each map, to heal up by a small amount, or to take shelter as you plan an ambush or reload your gun. There is a healing platform too, which continuously heals you till you are at full health, near each team’s spawn area. Game modes like Blitzball, Uplink and Overcharge resemble standard game modes implemented in Unreal Tournament, and the fast gameplay resembles the old arena based shooting of Quake.
Squad based gameplay, yet in a game where you can play every hero, and can hope to counter every hero, resembling the likes of Counter Strike (though a role division is necessary for efficiently bringing about a win). This is actually a good thing and helps widen the gap between standard MOBA FPS’s and Lawbreakers, as you need not depend on a teammate for doing something particular, and can carry out the plan yourself without being forced to push along with your teammates (though it is advisable that you play along with the team for maximum team synergy).
The increased freedom allowed by the players to discover more strategies as an individual, yet the existence of delicate team synergies mean that you will often have to work together with certain members of your team to take out your opponents. This being said, a personal feeling is that there are some game balance issues, and some heroes need a buff to their abilities, while some need a nerf. But then again, game balance issues exist in most squad based games, so that can be fixed in updates.
The game features a peculiar amount of freedom in your choice as a class in-game, as you can counter most (if not all) heroes including any class you like, with the skills. This reduces the chances of players blaming their teammates for their losses, and focus on maximizing individual potential in each game. The availability of excess freedom to counter each hero, and at the same time help out your teammates in their course.
The classes of heroes are the same like any other game, defense, offense and support. Defense guys defend your base/points or heroes, offense heroes are the mainstay of the attacking force, while the support players heal or boost the abilities of the players pushing for the win. There is no exquisite line separating the classes, and one has to figure out what role one can play with a hero. (For example, I found that the only Support classes were Battle Medic and Harrier) Despite the focus on individual performance, team synergy plays an important role in winning games, and a better coordinated team, with the help of combos can win games a non-coordinated team cannot. Roleplay is very important, though is not absolutely necessary.
Cosmetics make a return, and can be seen in various forms, graffiti,taunts,poses, dialogues and even skins for weapons and characters. You get a Stash Drop every time you level up, and can buy additional Stash Drops from the store if you feel like it. As expected, micro transactions in the form of Stash Drops do nothing except enhance the look of the characters and guns and customize their behaviour and dialogues in game. (People suggesting “skins are equivalent to skills” and that “skins have a ‘psychological’ effect” please stay away from justifying that the game is pay-to-win).
The only problem that I faced was game balance issues. Some heroes like the Assassin, are a bit overpowered (being extremely quick and dealing large amount of damage in melee combat). Similarly, the Wraith deals an unexpected amount of damage with his Spektor pistol and also an enormous amount of melee damage. On the other hand, Gunslinger’s gun damage is very less, which also makes dodging a necessity when an enemy melee hero dives in, as your damage won’t be enough to kill the guy trying to kill you. Similarly, Juggernaut’s shotgun spreads too much even at a close enough range, which means that you need to be accurate and be close enough for damaging the enemy. However, game balance is a thing that can be gradually implemented in the form of updates, so that’s not a matter of worry.
The optimization of the game is certainly good, and it runs even on old PCs. I myself played at medium settings, because high causes VRAM issues, and it’s playable without lag at medium with some settings set to high (but then again, I have a pretty old PC). Any modern day PC with a more recent graphics card and a better processor can easily max out the game. The settings can be customized as you wish, to adjust till the fine balance between quality and performance is achieved. The graphics quality is pretty good for a modern FPS, so anyone saying “pixelated graphics” should get either their eyes or their hardware (or both) checked.
Every worthwhile player who had enjoyed Quake and Unreal Tournament back in the day should give this game a try, as it attempts to reincarnate the good old gameplay of the old arena shooters, and does a pretty good job. It stands out from other squad based FPS’s in not being a gimmicky game that toes the line of the MOBA generation, but rather try to curve out a hardcore and dynamic approach to first person shooters, as “the arena shooters before” did. So go ahead and score the sweet, sweet “Victory” blue screen in every Lawbreakers game you play!