Lawbreakers review: The perils of multiplayer-only experiences mar an otherwise solid shooter

Overwatch it ain't

Credit: Boss Key Productions

Fight or Flight

Unfortunately, Lawbreakers does not do a good job of teaching you anything about it. Really, the game doesn’t do a great job of teaching you much about anything. In terms of on-boarding, it’s lazy at best.

There’s a barebones sandbox mode designed to let you learn the controls by running around a map slaughtering braindead AI players. There’s also a series of embedded YouTube videos explaining each map, mode and role in the game. That’s about it.

Lawbreakers is very much one of those that multiplayer games that expects you to dive in and learn everything on the fly, and that inaccessibility may well be the biggest difference between it and Overwatch.

Credit: Boss Key Productions

It took me about a couple dozen or so matches before I started to really have a grip on how to play the various characters and modes. Longer still before I understood how to actually use the gravity mechanics to my advantage.

These days, it’s reasonably-respectable for a game to focus solely on multiplayer experiences. However, as someone who grew up playing the Unreal Tournament series, the absence of an AI or bots mode for new players to train up on remains a hard pill to swallow.

It doesn’t help that the queue times for the Lawbreakers’ launch have been so poor. Getting into a match could take as little as 10-15 minutes of my time, or as long as an hour and a half. The picture this paints isn’t a pretty one. Why pay $30 to buy into an experience you can’t really play with anyone?

Credit: Boss Key Productions

In the end, the absence of an sustained and active online community of people to play with will kill Lawbreakers far quicker that anything Blizzard does. That might sound like hyperbole but the Steam Charts for this game look pretty dire only a few weeks after launch - and that makes it hard to recommend no matter how well it plays.

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Tags fpsMultiplayer GamesOverwatchCliff BlazinskiBoss Key GamesFPS GamesLawbreakers

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Fergus Halliday
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