Saturday, March 25, 2017

Lawbreakers Closed Beta - Impressions Update

My first impression of Lawbreakers was that it was a bold-faced Overwatch clone. That stance is reductive but apt, however the most recent closed beta reminded me of how much I enjoy just playing the game. It feels great to move and shoot - an obvious key component of an FPS.

I was concerned with the slim pickings of the alpha with 4 characters but the beta introduced 3 new classes, with 2 more still shown as locked. The new characters are almost instantly recognizable as riffs on heroes from that other game but that's selling them a bit short. While all of Lawbreakers' classes could be compared to those heroes, they all have minor twists that make them feel unique - at least in terms of gameplay. I'm still not sold on the aesthetic. Nothing about the characters themselves nor the environment really do anything for me in terms of art direction. That may be unfair to judge at this early stage of the game's life. Time will tell.

This second chance to play really drove home how much I've missed these old-school inspired fast paced shooters. Movement in Lawbreakers is just so snappy and getting kills while other players are themselves flying/dashing/jumping all over the place is so satisfying. In no way did I get proficient with any class during this limited time, but I got very comfortable with the vanguard (which you can see me play in the video) - the jetpack & chaingun wielding bad bitch. Flying in to snatch up the battery just before the team scores is such a joy and almost every class can pull off something like that. Overcharge was still constantly intense, with never-ending juggles of charging then trying to eventually score once the battery was at 100%. I still don't like Turf War - the points need to move around the map. Static spots really get boring for some reason, even though I've enjoyed the classic game mode in other shooters in the past. It probably has something to do with how nerve wracking Overcharge can get versus known positions and timers of everything in Turf War.

The beta also gave a glimpse of new features outside of matches. Yes, there are loot boxes that unlock character skins, weapon skins, icons, etc. The player earns these boxes by leveling up with experience based on performance in matches. Pretty standard stuff but welcome. The available unlocks were still limited but I expect many more to be added.

I'm more excited for this game after the beta. I really liked Overwatch, but fell off pretty quick (as I expected). Lawbreakers seems to reward both objective play and kill/death ratios and since it feels so good to shoot people, I may stay interested longer.

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