LawBreakers Will Be a Nice Break From Overwatch [E3 2017 Preview]

For just over a year now, Overwatch has been my go-to casual FPS. Fulfilling the same role that Team Fortress 2 did for many years, its cast of fun characters and smooth gameplay has kept me hooked well beyond the play value I expected.

Given the success of Overwatch, we can expect to see several class-based FPS titles release in the coming years, one of which is LawBreakers. I had a chance to sit down and play it on PC today, and walked away with a good impression.

The game began with tossing everyone into lobby where we could choose our characters. Given my unfamiliarity with the title, I found myself taking a while to read the descriptions and loadouts of each, which were very different from one another. Tanks, support, melee, and ranged damage dealers are all present, and I’d go as far as to say the visual diversity is even greater than Overwatch. Though, the characters were lacking in personality as far as I could tell.

Before I could finish choosing my character, the round countdown started. I then found myself in control of Juggernaut, a robot armed with a shotgun and bayonet. Serving the role of a tank, the character can deploy a large shield that acts as both a barricade and shield, and even receives a short boost of additional armor on command. He felt tough, and his shotgun was perfect for snap-shotting nearby enemies.

And then there was my gameplay check: yep, LawBreakers plays as smooth as silk. Input and feedback are outstanding, making this another solid addition to Cliff Bleszinski’s portfolio.

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The goal of the Blitzball game mode we were playing was simple: carry the neutral ball into the enemy’s goal. It was something I’ve done countless times before, as it’s no different than timeless classic carry the flag modes that titles such as Unreal Tournament have adopted for decades. However, the class system of LawBreakers made the workflow feel different, and in a good way. There’s a layer of tactics involved, including counter-picking and ability layering, that stands out from most shooters.

It didn’t take long for me to realize that the other team was experienced. They quickly scored five points with seemingly no effort, partially thanks to their perfect team composition that included an aggressive tank, mobile ball handler, and well-positioned support. Our team, on the other hand, was comprised of bozos.

Teamwork is an instrumental part of LawBreakers, to a point where you aren’t necessarily rewarded directly for frags. Due to this, the game might be well-suited for deathmatch style FPS. Nonetheless, any semblace of coordination our team was able to muster was the highlight of my experience; I remember one player taking out an enemy chasing me when I was carrying the ball, in addition to a moment where I laid down a shield just in time to block a powerful enemy attack.

At the end of it all, the visual style and gameplay largely felt so similar to Overwatch that I was at-home, but also wasn’t so sure that I’d be interested at launch. That was, until I saw its MSRP of $29.99. At this price point jI think it has a fair shot at being a great break from Overwatch, and frankly, its release date of August 8th is perfect, as I’m starting to get burned out of Blizzard’s first shooter anyway. I’ll just need some time warming up to the fresh character cast.