When I first played LawBreakers last year, I thought it was a fun shooter that I wasn't certain would hook me over the long-term. I had a chance to play the recently announced PS4 version, and came away more positive on the experience.
I played the Blitzball mode, which is a similar mode to Capture the Flag, but with one flag that teams must fight over. The object is to escort the ball to the enemy spawn point into their goal. If you kill the ball carrier, they drop the ball. It's a simple mode, but when you combine the two teams comprised of the various classes, it's a fun and frantic experience.
I enjoyed the different characters I played, but I gravitated toward the gunslinger class, which gave me two different kinds of pistols (one revolver and one burst-fire gun), as well as a blink ability like Tracer's speedy maneuver in Overwatch. I liked using the right trigger to fire my revolver for precision shots, while using the left to layer on the damage with the burst-fire. When my character's ultimate comes ready, both of his pistols turn into machine guns for a short period, dealing massive damage to anyone in my path.
While the comparisons to Overwatch are inevitable, director Cliff Bleszinski says that there are a number of differences between his hero-based shooter and Blizzard's. "Overwatch is a great game," he says. "[It] did a lot of things to deliberately expand the market with regards to allowing a more casual user to get in. A lot of the ultimates feel like 'Press 'Q' to win.' Ours you actually have to aim. It's one of those things where I'm not going to freeze the player, I'm not going to have Roadhog's hook, I'm not going to have Hanzo's arrow collision. We're very much a one-to-one ratio where what you see is what you get. What I like to say is that this is a shooter that also has abilities and characters, and Overwatch is a great game that has characters and abilities that's also then a shooter. We are very much gunning for the Counter-Strike crowd."
Of course, one of the selling points of LawBreakers is its leniency with the laws of gravity. The center part of the map I played had very little gravity, which means characters fly through the air, providing unique gameplay moments rarely found in other shooters.
Initially, Bleszinski was concerned about how gamepads would handle this, but he has since figured out ways to make it work. "if you play the game on PC, it's bats— insane," he says. "That actually might be a bit much for people. The console version is still pretty crazy, but it's about 85% as crazy. So it's one of those things where you can only have an FPS be so crazy with a controller."
While I was not particularly hot on the game at first, LawBreakers has slowly won me over more with each time I've played it. Bleszinski says that this was the impression many players had due to the team taking the game too public too early. "We wanted to be very transparent with our development, however we found out that's not very good for PR and press beats," he says. "If I could go back in time, I would have the alpha that we did not be public because it was okay, but it wasn't really what the full game turned out to be. But we did learn a lot of things from it."
Though other hero-based shooters make it so LawBreakers has an uphill battle, I'm excited to get more time with the game when it launches on PS4 and PC August 8.