There should be no argument that the FPS crowd is a bit over-saturated, most titles being annual copies of copies, acting as a sort of bread and butter for large publishers. Lawbreakers, the debut title from Boss Key Productions, aims to shoot down the competition by providing a compelling shooter that changes up the gameplay that many FPS players have become accustomed to. The brand new arena style shooter is fast and ruthless and forces you to sit back and learn a brand new game that is sure to shake up the genre.
Boss Key Productions is a team made up of some of the most talented developers in gaming. People who have worked on Gears of War to Call of Duty all met together to bring Lawbreakers to life. I had the chance to speak with Lead Designer Dan Nanni a little about where the influence for Lawbreakers came from. Nanni said that their past experience had all combined in a beautiful marriage to make something that is truly unique. His claims turn up true as well.
I had the chance to play a couple of rounds of Turf War, a brand new game mode that combines deathmatch elements with traditional domination gameplay. The goal is to capture 3 points on the map, with the first team making it to 13 points winning the game. After the 3 points are captured, a 30 second intermission opens and the capture points are reset. Kills made during this time provide a 20% capture speed boost in the next round, granting skilled deathmatch players a boost with in the game.
While I was initially a bit confused when hearing about the game mode, I have never adopted something more quickly. The new way to play forced me to slow down and focus on my surroundings and how I was going to approach the map. Was I support for other capturers? Was I capturing the points? Or was I going to hang back and wait until the intermission to gain some time buffs? Choices like these create a unique playstyle, and experience, for each player. Lawbreakers doesn’t put you into a set of shoes, instead they lay a few pairs out in front of you, and what fits is what you stick with. Teamplay has never been more fluid and integrated into a multiplayer shooter so seamlessly.
The four characters on either the Law or Breakers side each compliment each other as well. Instead of having eight unique characters, Boss Key has opted to create four characters and reskin them for either side. That means whether you’re team Law or team Breakers, you can find your character that you feel at home with.
And at home is really something important about the character selection. Each character plays very differently, offering up different abilities and weapons to choose from. However cycling through the four classes (Enforcer, Vanguard, Assassin, Titan), I never felt like I was at a disadvantage. Every character felt balanced, and while some players were doing amazing with a Titan, I was doing horrible with it, and while others were doing horrible with an Assassin, I was doing great with it. In this way, Lawbreakers has already managed to balance itself and create an experience focused on skill.
Another way that skill is exploited is with the different spaces where you may find yourself in battle. Not all fighting takes place on the ground, with a giant zero G area filling the middle of each map. Taking advantage of this different space keeps the combat dynamic, instead of feeling like you’re running the same track each time you spawn. No matter how many games I played, I always found a new way to get around the map, taking the chaos of Lawbreakers to a whole new level.
I love shooters, but the past few years has not seen much new fruit in the genre. Instead, we’ve been eating (mostly) the same rotten stuff. My short time with Lawbreakers felt like a breath of fresh air in the genre that many (including myself) have slowly grown away from. While Lawbreakers is still in it’s early development, the game already stands out among other shooters, and would fair well even if it was released as is. The combat is fluid, rigorous, and dynamic, and the seamless focus on teamplay takes Lawbreakers to a whole new level. I can’t wait to beat gravity into submission this Summer with Lawbreakers.