LawBreakers blasted out of the gate intent on competing against the likes of Overwatch, but it looks to be retreating toward the gate scarcely a month after liftoff.
Sure, the title benefits from zany characters and fast-paced gunplay, but so did all the other competitive shooters that tried unseat Overwatch from its throne of cash. LawBreakers’ chief novelty – anti-gravity – also hasn’t helped boost the game’s sales or get its player count on Steam up to a respectable level.
As for the Cliff Bleszinksi fanboys in the Steam forums who vehemently argue that LawBreakers isn’t an Overwatch clone… stop. Please, just stop. The only people who honestly argue that LawBreakers isn’t akin to Overwatch are the ones who haven’t played Overwatch.
To be fair to CliffyB and the folks at Boss Key Productions, a lot of great competitive shooters have a short lifespan on PC. If it’s not CS:GO, TF2 or PUBG, it’ll probably be dead in about 3-6 months. If LawBreakers wants to avoid that fate and skip the pile of dead Overwatch understudies, it needs to implement some gameplay changes, and fast. Here, then, are some of the ways that Boss Key could stand to remedy their ailing game. Don’t worry guys, this one’s free of charge on us:
The first thing about LawBreakers that Boss Key needs to fix is its cooldown times. Just like in Overwatch, each character in LawBreakers has his or her own signature ability; these range from shooting missiles at enemy players to dashing around like an ice skater on angel dust. The problem with breaking out the superpowers is that players only get to do so every 60-75 seconds, which is an eternity in the realm of competitive shooters. Most players are lucky if they can pop off their power once before dying and having to start all over.
LawBreakers’ long cooldowns are ironic considering the game’s emphasis on speed. There’s something inherently dysfunctional about zipping around a map at the speed of sound but only being able to use abilities at a slug’s pace. It kills a lot of the title’s fun and reduces most fights to bouts of simple shooting. Cut those cooldowns, CliffyB. Cut ’em by at least 50%.
The other problem harshing LawBreakers’ vibe is the game’s primary selling point: anti-gravity. Contrary to what its marketing implies, flying around in LawBreakers feels less like being Boba Fett and more like being a stuntman shot out of a cannon. Players can’t focus on the enemy when they’re too busy praying to the shooter gods that they don’t careen into the ocean or off a cliff. Plus, the actual anti-gravity portion of most maps is restricted to a big fun zone room in the very center instead of all over the place.
Some titles, like Goat Simulator, have made a killing off of well-implemented flying mechanics, and LawBreakers can as well if Boss Key refines the flight controls and give characters a bit more fuel. Give players more control over thrust, maybe some neat aerial stunts, and the game will be a lot closer to what was shown to be in the trailers. This change would certainly help attract more players to the game’s rapidly cooling fanbase.
That’s really it, Boss Key. Just file down those cooldowns and give players the freedom to fly around like Diddy Kong. Hell, expand the anti-gravity zones beyond that big party room in the maps’ centers. With these fixes, LawBreakers stands a chance of drawing players back to the fold and avoiding the pile of bones on Overwatch’s doorstep.