LawBreakers - PC/PS4 Review

Unreal Tournament meets Overwatch in Zero Gravity

Game Info:

  • System: PC, PS4
  • Publisher: Nexon
  • Developer: Boss Key Productions
  • Release Date: Aug. 8th, 2017

Who it Caters to

LawBreakers is the first solo production of esteemed shooter game designer Cliff Bleszinski. He, who in the past, was a founding member at Epic Games, creator the Unreal Tournament series, also fathered the Gears of War franchise on Xbox. His ability to create compelling shooting experiences is unquestionable, and his first game with Boss Key Productions reinforces that fact.
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At its very core, LawBreakers is a throwback to the old-school shooter. It’s a game among the company of those of a bygone era like Unreal Tournament and Quake. The faster your reflexes, the better your performance will be. It also blends in class specific gameplay from titles like Team Fortress 2 and most recently Overwatch. In fact, it would be most accurate to say that it and Overwatch are now competing in the same space of attracting gamers to their lobbies.

As a multiplayer only game, it restricts itself to a certain particular group of gamers. If you aren’t a big online shooter fan, this game has nothing to offer you. If games like Call of Duty, Overwatch and Battlefield draw you in, then there’s a lot that this game does that will resonate with your sense of taste. Be that as it may, you’ll have to keep focused. In this battle of Justice vs Crime, things are constantly getting hectic.

What to Expect

You are given access to the full roster of characters and weapons from the get go. The 9 player classes separated by Justice and Crime round out to a character count of 18 with mainly appearance differences separating them. The only thing you will be required to grind for are cosmetic items such as emblems, weapon skins, graffiti paint, and new character skins. These are attained through gaining Stash Boxes, very evocative of Overwatch’s Loot Box craze.

Loot from Stash Boxes is divided into 5 categories, ranging from common Base, through Boss rarity. Weapon skins, weapon stickers, and kick decals round out the majority of drops. Player skins and credit drops are also available, and honestly the more exciting to receive. Skins change the look of models, and stickers are attached to guns. The most noticeable are kick decals, as they appear on the screen of a player you kill after a melee death.

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The game has 44 achievements and trophies that on a cursory glance seem like they can be gained from actively participating in matches. Combat is divided into 5 modes, which are all objective based in nature. All the modes require you to either collect an objective and take it to your base or maintain the supremacy of zones on the map. With 8 maps in the game, it feels like there’s room for growth. However, being multiplayer only, the $29.99 price tag seems reasonable.

LawBreakers Launch Trailer


Without a single-player story mode, there’s no real plot per se, but there is a backstory and sense of world building within the game. Much like Overwatch, you get a sense that characters have their own motivations by dialogue queues that appear at certain times in combat. The overall setting has pitted the lawful (Laws) versus the lawless (Breakers) in a world that has rebounded following a futuristic post-apocalypse. There’s not much to tell, but the main draw is definitely the fighting. For fans of multiplayer shooters, this is definitely the right way to handle it.

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LawBreakers is a very fast-paced arena shooter. The first thing that needs to be made clear is that you will die, a lot. Good players from low time to kill games like Call of Duty will be more accustomed to the bang bang nature of gunfights. Slower time to kill games like Halo and Battlefield may take a bit of time to adjust. As I was the latter and a more recent Overwatch player, the adjustment took more than few matches to get my Unreal Tournament bearings back to me.

The setup is simple. Games are 5 versus 5 player matches across all five modes. Players can choose one of nine individual classes, each with two characters in them, totaling 18 playable heroes across Justice and Criminals. When you get down to it, the differences really boils down to speed and health. Some classes like Titan have more health at the expense of speed, while others like the Assassin are nimble but limited in offensive range. While there is a support type of class like the Battle Medic, it’s hard to classify it as such because how roles feel unnecessary.

The game doesn’t restrict you to a set number per class, and even if it did, every class has an equal opportunity to slaughter the other, making it a game of skill instead role-playing. Having a variety on a team will be more beneficial, but outside of top-level competitive play, this doesn’t seem to make a huge difference. Matches tended to have 2-3 of one class on a given side and it ultimately came down to who the better team was, not class composition.

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In LawBreakers, getting around the map is even more crucial than some other games. Zero gravity is a big change up from most shooters on the market and brings with it, its own difficulties. You will ultimately be at the mercy of your class’ thruster capabilities once you’re off the ground. Some classes like Battle Medic and Enforcer seem almost tailor made for Zero-G play. Others like Assassin can manage with grapple hook and hopping, but those like Juggernaut seem a bit more susceptible to the faster classes.

Getting out of a fight is just as important as getting into one. Not every hill is worth dying on, and LawBreakers gives you ample ways to scurry away. Each class has their own abilities for mobility, but there’s also a blind fire mechanic as well. Using the blind fire button, you can shoot immediately behind yourself while running away. This is useful to deter enemies from trying to finish you off in tight corners.

Cliff Bleszinski was a level designer at Epic Games, and it seems that that eye for properly flowing maps has been inherited by LawBreakers. The maps look very good, indicative of their futuristic setting. It also only takes a couple of playthroughs to traverse them properly, finding shortcuts depending on your class’ mobility. Faster characters can find multiple exits to a gunfight and quick access to healing when needed, making you feel as if you’re not out of the fight and faced with that long respawn timer just yet.

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One of the most noticeable aspects of the game was performance. It ran at a solid framerate while sporting impressive graphics throughout my play time. Having first been exposed to the game on PS4, it looked more detailed than that running on PC even at low settings. Even though it seems like it should be chugging a little more given the polycount, the Unreal Engine really makes for some grand looking arenas. With the characters all having a kind of cyberpunk look, it all meshes well for some futuristic escapism.

Honey's Gameplay Consensus:

There’s a lot of cool features that LawBreakers brings to the FPS space. It feels like a throwback, but with enough trending, aspects to keep it modern and current. As a player who doesn’t always have a solid group to roll with, it’s a more sure bet than team based games like Overwatch, as it is still possible to win by solo queueing. With that said, it does take a lot of getting used to.
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One of the brilliant things Overwatch did was restricting access to one of each class, requiring you to drop your favorite and learn another character. It is always easy to recognize a player on seeing their ability or skin, and counter their ability by adjusting your play style. That level of strategy is severely lessened in LawBreakers, as you really only need to point and shoot well to win an engagement. It ultimately requires you to decide whether you want a more hectic, mindless shooter or a class-based, strategic shooter that puts you at the mercy of your team.

The only real addition I could see improving the game is a stronger variety of modes. All the modes blend together. Occupy and Turf War require you to sit in zones with your team to score points, and the differences between them are the number of zones and locations. Uplink and Overcharge force you to grab a device and place it in your base to score points. Blitz Ball feels like the most dynamic mode and the one that felt the most fun. Faster classes like the Enforcer can decimate a team by snatching the ball and zipping in and out before anyone knows what’s happening. It’s very reminiscent of Bombing Run in Unreal Tournament.

For variety’s sake, it would be beneficial if there were modes like Deathmatch or Team Deathmatch. Also to have modes where zero gravity was turned off on the maps. It adds something new to the game but is implemented in a way that can be a bit frustrating when adjusting.

Honey's Pros:

  • Detailed graphics
  • Movement speed
  • $29.99 price point
  • Level Design
  • Combat feels fresh and rewarding
  • Well optimized on PC

Honey's Cons:

  • Zero gravity takes getting used to
  • Two of each character class feels a little unnecessary
  • Slow learning curve, not as welcoming to beginners
  • Killcam would really improve respawns vs spectating
  • Mode variety is lacking
  • Doesn’t feel fresh enough to compete with Overwatch

Honey's Final Verdict:

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LawBreakers is a fun shooter that gives a more satisfying shooter experience but at the lack of depth and team play. While this lends itself to allowing for more lone wolf play, gamers who enjoyed the team composition and strategy of class-based shooters like Overwatch will be forced to focus on their gun skill instead. Even with its multitude of differences, it’s hard to shake the Overwatch comparison when playing. Without restrictions to classes, players will continually stick to their favorites until balance patches adjust their feel. On the one hand, it makes the game far more pick up and play, but players may feel they won’t have a role to play if they aren’t adept at killing.

Have you played LawBreakers? What did you think of it? Played any other FPS that it reminds you of or have any favorite moments? Let us know in the comments section below! We’d love to hear them!

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Author: Hercule SSJ

What happens when you give a Crunchyroll trial to a former Toonami kid who hasn't watched anime since Cowboy Bebop got dubbed? You get Hercule SSJ. Thanks to that, he's spent the last two years catching up on dozens of shows and manga he's neglected over the years. Has probably watched 60% of all harem ecchi in existence. Currently seeking series to fill the void left by Konosuba and One-Punch Man. Accepts NisiOisiN quotes as payment.

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