Lawbreakers Hands-On at E3 2017

Bleszinski and Boss Key Gear Up for the Game's August 2017 Launch

June 22, 2017 by

A lot has changed in the FPS scene since we played Lawbreakers at last year’s E3. Blizzard’s Overwatch has taken over. Gearbox’s Battleborn has flopped. And Bethesda has continued the push for Quake‘s comeback launching their own beta back in April. Now, Cliff Bleszinski and his crew at Boss Key are making their own final push to launch Lawbreakers in less than two months.

As huge fans of Overwatch and twitch arena shooters, Lawbreakers‘ more serious tone still seems unique enough to survive in the now-crowded genre. Like how Overwatch crushed Battleborn, Lawbreaker‘s biggest competition will first be Quake Champions. Bethesda is going with a free-to-play model for Champions that requires the full version to purchased to unlock all characters. Meanwhile, Lawbreakers will be $29.99 at launch for all characters and $39.99 if you want all the extra skins.

We got a chance to play Lawbreakers again at this year’s E3, and from what we saw, the team of industry veterans at Boss Key are sticking to their word and still putting all of their attention on multiplayer. Bleszinski has said multiple times that Boss Key is focusing on framerate over graphics —- a concept that we’re happy to hear again after E3 2017 focused on most developers boasting about the power of 4K gaming on new consoles… while not talking about how those same 4K games will sadly be running at 30fps.

Even with a focus on fps over graphics, Lawbreakers looks amazing as you would expect on PC. Bleszinski’s history working for Epic Games is evident with the developers at Boss Key fully utilizing the power of the Unreal Engine 4. Looks aside, what sets gameplay apart from other shooters is how the entire game was built around the concept of environments with low or zero gravity. Hence where the game gets its name from characters “breaking” the “laws” of physics. More than just a gimmick, unique gravity-defying abilities can be utilizing by skilled players such as heavy classes being able to shoot behind themselves to move as fast as light classes who don’t take advantage of the same feature.

Last year we got to play Turf War where two teams battled for control of three points on the map. At this year’s E3, we got to play the game’s second mode, Overcharge, where two teams fight over control of a battery. Overcharge is basically CTF where once picking up said battery you have to deliver it back to base to score a point for your team. The twist is that the battery takes a couple seconds to charge up before it can be delivered and the battery retains its charge.

From our hands-on time, we noticed how the speed and pacing of games has been increased, making more even more hectic and intense shootouts. A wise decision that was clearly made to try and set the game apart from Overwatch‘s slower pace and keep up with the twitch audience that Lawbreakers is now competing with Quake for. It’ll be interesting to see who comes out on top of the serious twitch shooter space this time next year after Lawbreakers launches on August 8, 2017 for PC and PlayStation 4.