LawBreakers and the Joy of Learning
I spent part of this past weekend playing the open beta for Boss Key Productions’ LawBreakers. To be completely frank, I really suck at the game. That’s not to say that I didn’t have an enjoyable time with Cliffy B’s latest game, though, as it was really quite the opposite. I had a blast exactly because I wasn’t immediately inside the comfort zone that I’m in when I play Titanfall 2 or Overwatch online.
If I learned anything during my time playing LawBreakers it was that most of the games I play provide little in terms of a learning curve. Sure, there’ll be one or two mechanics that I’ll have to get used to, but when you’ve spent as much time as I have playing video games, there’s not often that many surprises. I didn’t find that to be the case here, as while it definitely falls into the arena shooter mold, there were so many different abilities and mechanics that I just didn’t truly understand.
Some of this can be attributed to the game failing to communicate some of its abilities well (and this is readily apparent when compared to how Overwatch constantly taught me how to play better with helpful hints that appeared after I died), but it’s mainly due to the game bringing something new to the table. My initial match was largely spent trying each class, realizing I had no clue what I was doing, and then switching to the next. Obviously this wasn’t the smartest way to play as it meant that I initially never got a good grasp on any of them, but I eventually found the shotgun toting character to be a lot of fun and I had found my class for the beta.
The gravity shifting mechanic was the first thing that really won me over, although I’ll admit it took me a few matches before I started to actually understand how it worked. Early matches were spent launching myself hilariously high into the air, having no clue how I got there, and then shooting foes from afar. Sometimes it worked well in my favor, but as one can guess, a shotgun really isn’t the best far-range weapon.
Eventually I realized that I could essentially smash back down to the ground when I was in the air, and that’s when I really got into how versatile the movement is. Unlike recent Call of Duty games that seemed to have been doing their best Titanfall impersonation whilst not actually being as satisfying, LawBreakers feels like its own shooter. It gave me an amazing amount of movement at my disposal, but it felt new rather than using a boost jump.
I only ended up playing a handful of matches over the weekend, and I’m not sure my team won a single multiplayer match, but that didn’t keep me from having a good time. I was having fun coming to grips with how Boss Key Productions’ FPS played, and it was just simply enjoyable to be learning something new. In a sea full of generic shooters that feel familiar as soon as I grab the controller, it’s just refreshing to have to learn again.
I didn’t play enough to give some real in-depth criticism of LawBreakers’ systems and functions, but I can say that it felt refreshing. I’m glad that Cliffy B and company didn’t settle in for making just another arena shooter, and are instead putting their own mark on the genre. I can’t be the only one that is constantly looking to experience something new, and I can’t wait to play more of Boss Key Productions’ first-person shooter when it releases August 8.