【LAWBREAKERS】infographic Review 

LAWBREAKERS REVIEW

LawBreakers succeeds as an FPS because it embraces and gives a middle finger to the last five years of FPS design. From a distance, Boss Key’s first game looks like another five-on-five ‘hero shooter’ where each of the characters bring unique guns and unique movement, combat, and ultimate abilities (that you trigger off the Q key) into arena maps to contend for objectives. But beneath that basic structure are big, welcome divergences from Overwatch and similar games.

One example: LawBreakers has no true support characters. The closest thing to a healer, the Battle Medic, employs ‘fire and forget’ healing, delegating the work to drones that automatically fly to teammates when you hit E, leaving your hands free to lob grenades. I love the ease of this role, and the challenge of maintaining lines-of-sight with teammates as you’re both flying: assigning a drone to an Assassin as they swing like Spider-Man into an enemy base, or saving a teammate who’s about to die with a single key tap from across the map.

In this way LawBreakers pleasantly bypasses the concept of classes as battlefield jobs. There aren’t turrets, teleporters, tanks per se, or other distractions. There aren’t even conventional snipers, or guns with any kind of magnification, because LawBreakers doesn’t want you losing sight of the importance of movement. Everyone is expected to fly, fight, and contribute damage.

In place of any ordinary class archetypes, LawBreakers builds variety through its distinct styles of movement, and it’s here that hardcore FPS players will find delightful nuance. Take the Wraith, who slides along the ground to accelerate, jabbing the air with a knife to swim forward in low-grav. They can also triple jump and wall jump, a moveset that gives the Wraith a darting, alien locomotion that’s enjoyable to master.

Each role has a fun micro-skill or two to learn, adding depth and steepening the learning curve in most cases. Gunslingers teleport in 15-foot bursts like Tracer from Overwatch, but the first shots from either of their dual pistols are buffed immediately after you blink. If you fly backwards as the Harrier, you shoot lasers from your boots that can fend off pursuers. This is the only FPS I can think of that lets me shoot behind myself, nevermind turns it into a way to physically propel yourself forward.

I found a couple of these movement styles uncomfortable, and you probably will too. I felt fragile and clumsy as the Assassin, who uses a grappling hook to swing into stabbing range. But Boss Key could’ve easily strapped the same jetpack to each character and called it a day. The wide range of motion not only gives LawBreakers a clear identity, but these movement styles make characters more identifiable at a distance, making it easier to decide how to engage. It’s a huge asset to the game.

In place of any ordinary class archetypes, LawBreakers builds variety through its distinct styles of movement, and it’s here that hardcore FPS players will find delightful nuance. Take the Wraith, who slides along the ground to accelerate, jabbing the air with a knife to swim forward in low-grav. They can also triple jump and wall jump, a moveset that gives the Wraith a darting, alien locomotion that’s enjoyable to master.

Each role has a fun micro-skill or two to learn, adding depth and steepening the learning curve in most cases. Gunslingers teleport in 15-foot bursts like Tracer from Overwatch, but the first shots from either of their dual pistols are buffed immediately after you blink. If you fly backwards as the Harrier, you shoot lasers from your boots that can fend off pursuers. This is the only FPS I can think of that lets me shoot behind myself, nevermind turns it into a way to physically propel yourself forward.

I found a couple of these movement styles uncomfortable, and you probably will too. I felt fragile and clumsy as the Assassin, who uses a grappling hook to swing into stabbing range. But Boss Key could’ve easily strapped the same jetpack to each character and called it a day. The wide range of motion not only gives LawBreakers a clear identity, but these movement styles make characters more identifiable at a distance, making it easier to decide how to engage. It’s a huge asset to the game.

For example, to snatch the battery away from the enemy’s base and run it back to mine, I have to figure out how to fly in at high speed—but not in a straight line, which will probably kill me—and still leave enough jetpack juice to make a getaway.

Different roles excel on different maps and modes, giving the meta a nice texture. Dropping the Battle Medic’s ultimate, a bubble that blocks projectiles in both directions and heals allies, on a capture point can seal the deal. In Blitzball—basically LawBreakers rugby—the robotic Juggernauts often come up clutch with their shield ability, putting up a literal wall to for fast-moving, would-be dunkers to slam their faces into.

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Given all this focus on finesse and skill (LawBreakers goes as far as assigning you a letter grade after each match), I don’t know why there isn’t a separate competitive mode here, or why you can’t specify which maps and modes you want to queue into. In the absence of a server browser you can create custom games, or jump into a practice area solo to work on movement skills. At least the netcode is rock solid, which is frankly necessary for a game that’s this latency-intolerant. The set of graphics and other options are likewise good, erasing the fact that LawBreakers is a multiplatform game. I’ve had excellent, 120-plus fps on my GTX 980 Ti at 1440p, on high settings.

Less in LawBreakers’ favor is how vulnerable it is to AFK players and leavers, similarly to five-on-five games like Rainbow Six Siege. There’s a reporting tool, but no votekick function to aid with these situations. In my experience over the past week, LawBreakers backfills vacant slots fairly quickly, and despite some concerns about player population that have circulated over Reddit I haven’t waited more than two minutes to queue into a match over the past week.

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