Saturday, August 6, 2016

Lawbreakers Alpha Impressions

It's impossible to avoid comparing Lawbreakers to Overwatch.

A characters-with-abilities-objective-based-first-person-shooter isn't a totally new thing, but Overwatch is the game that (lately) gets talked about the most. Lawbreakers let me play with 4 characters (with a 5th shown in the select screen but locked). Will there be more characters or is this it for now...? The full game could be a year away at least but as the alpha sits now, it looks like 5 characters to choose from. Quantity =/= quality, but compared to Overwatch's varied and enjoyable cast of heroes, Lawbreakers doesn't seem like it is bringing enough to the table. 

Immediately I thought the game just looks...bland. I don't want to shit all over the artists, the game has a look for sure, but it also feels safe - like every other B-tier sci-fi thing ever. Up against something (with a totally different art style I know, shut up) like Overwatch, which has very distinctive characters with a lot of personality, I can't help but be left wanting.Here's Josh and I playing for the first time during a stream ( Due to the alpha state, Lawbreakers was somewhat difficult to capture at a steady framerate.

Let's talk about the gameplay - movement and shooting felt great. Each character has a unique way to get around the map (if you count the Titan's leaping ground pound) and the gunplay feels fast and frantic like it should. I think there's potential in the objectives too. Lawbreakers puts a spin on capture the flag by turning the flag into a battery that must be charged at each team's respective base. Whichever team has the battery at 100% for about 20 seconds, gets the point. This led to matches being pretty tense, because at any point the opposing team could wrest the battery from your control, take it all the way home and still win.

The other mode, a "territories" type, needs some work. The difference here is that the map had 3 plots to capture, and once captured, were locked until all 3 had been captured and reset. I like the idea of the points being locked, but in order to vary who is capturing what point (outside of traversing the entire map over and over), I think the spawn points, or the capture points themselves, need to jump around the map, changing the distance traveled to each point every round.

My first taste of Lawbreakers was a roller coaster. It made a great first impression with the feel of movement and shooting. The low-gravity spot on the map felt like a different game within a match and the small twists on classic FPS multiplayer modes look promising. But I can't help wanting more of the characters themselves. As they stand now, they just feel like ciphers to shoot people with versus a character with motivation or personality. That's probably an unfair criticism so early in this game's existence. Time will tell.

No comments:

Post a Comment