Cops versus robbers. It’s a classic trope. From Police Quest to Grand Theft Auto something about the ongoing struggle between law and crime fascinates gamers. At the moment Boss Key and Nexon are working on a new interpretation of the genre, LawBreakers. In it teams of players face off in a sci-fi setting, battling to win control by any means necessary.
Recently Boss Key and Nexon held a four day Beta for LawBreakers. Seven Roles, four levels and two game types were on offer. An Alpha was held some months back, and this Beta extended the available roles by including the Battle Medic, Juggernaut and Gunslinger. Two new levels were also included, Mammoth and Station.
LawBreakers joins the quickly growing stable of games like Overwatch. Titles which let players take control of characters that embody certain play styles in team versus team matches. In LawBreakers these characters are known as Roles.
Each Role had a small selection of weapons which it could switch between. They also had a minor ability, such as a dash, which required a few seconds to let charge after each use. Adding some hitting power, they also each had a primary ability. This took a while to charge, but was usually devastating when activated.
The Beta gave me the impression that the central concept of LawBreakers is movement. Everything appears to be geared towards creating an experience that is vertical as well as horizontal, with many Roles able to jet pack, double jump and generally get airborne quickly and easily.
However it’s not just about space, but also speed. Some Roles were quite swift, while others promoted a slower direct approach. A Role like the Assassin zipped quickly around the map, striking fast and from all directions. While something like the Titan was slower, but packed more of a punch and was a great anchor to form an assault around.
The game modes on offer supported this idea of space and speed, with variations on classic FPS match types. Overcharge provided a Capture the Flag type experience, with teams racing to secure a battery which they escorted back to their charger. Whereas the second mode, Turf War, had a King of the Hill feel, with teams scrapping to take ownership of nodes.
After each match, depending on how well the player did, they were awarded with experience points. This didn’t appear to affect anything in the Beta, which isn’t surprising. But I am interested to learn how the player progression augments the game as a whole in future iterations.
After some matches players could also earn access to Stash Boxes. This would provide the player, at least in the Beta, with cosmetic weapon and character skins. If the Stash Boxes are integrated more into the game, especially if they feed back into the player progression system, I think the game play loop of playing matches and winning Stash Boxes could be very rewarding.
At the moment it doesn’t seem like LawBreakers changes up the format set by Overwatch, or even Team Fortress 2, very much. However the world and characters seem interesting, while offering game play that is loose and fluid. The people at Boss Key and Nexon obviously have a particular experience in mind, so as long as they keep true to this concept, I think LawBreakers could be a fun and challenging addition to the growing team-based multiplayer first-person shooter genre.
You can learn more about LawBreakers, and sign up for the next Beta, on the website.