One Game Rant editor goes hands-on with LawBreakers, the debut project from Cliff Blezinski’s studio Boss Key Productions. This is one intense and competitive shooter.

When Cliff Bleszinski departed from Epic Games to create a brand new studio called Boss Key Productions, no one could have foreseen what was about to be realized. The debut title for the developer, titled LawBreakers, harkens back to the days of arena shooters in a way that innovates and even pushes the genre forward. Indeed, PC players looking for something fast-paced, and even just downright fun, are sure to be quite happy with what the visionary responsible for Gears of War has been cooking up with his newest team.

I went hands-on with the title during E3 2016, where I was given a brief rundown of how the game functions. Despite being a console player, for the most part, the keyboard layout is expectedly familiar and easy to pick up – with indicators on the screen that highlight the special abilities that can be activated with corresponding keys. In this sense, it’s easy to use, but the depth that’s possible is sure to strike the fancy of a great deal of competitive players. Indeed, LawBreakers is as accessible as it is intense, but there’s also a depth to it that makes it much more engaging than some may initially believe.

lawbreakers preview

To set the scene, there are two sides in this team-based shooter, the Law and the Breakers – hence the name of the game. Each team is packed with various characters that essentially equate to class-types. As of this writing there are four of these warriors on each team, but just because characters are team-locked doesn’t mean that classes vary between each other. Two characters in total will take on the mantle of a single class, of which there were four on each faction during my play session – although plenty more were promised by some of the developers on-hand.

Going down the list of classes, there is the Enforcer (a traditional and well-balanced soldier), the Assassin (a quick and deadly option that can be killed rather easily), the Titan (a large and powerful member of the squad), and the Vanguard (a very mobile hero that allows users to escape situations, do some damage, and get to points quickly). All in all, it’s well-balanced as is, but the promise of further fighters is an enticing prospect.

Prior to booting up the game and becoming acquainted with the aforementioned cast, I was given a brief rundown of the mode I’d be playing. As one of two modes that have been confirmed to ship with the game – the other being a CTF variant called Overcharge – I was exposed to the more traditional Turf War, which tasks users with securing three different control points. While a standard mode at its core, what makes this option stand out is the fact that all three points are open simultaneously, and once a team has maxed out the capture meter it’ll lock to that team and provide them a point in the process before wiping the map clean and starting again.

lawbreakers screenshots

This layout itself creates a rock-paper-scissors dynamic that adds to the intensity of each round, and trying to survive as players flood an area while attempting to secure the final point is an exhilarating endeavor. Indeed, the rush that accompanies each game is one thing, but it’s only exemplified by the gameplay itself. As I was informed by several of the on-site Boss Key devs, one of the main features of LawBreakers is the ability to defy gravity. Particularly, gravity-reduced bubbles ensure that this intended philosophy is carried out, while the abilities of the characters themselves aid in mobility whilst in normal areas.

In particular, the Assassin class features a grappling hook of sorts that allows her to swing around the environment like Spider-Man. For this very reason, she became this editor’s favorite character, but players will find unique approaches and reasons to suit up as any of the others as well. Whether it be the Vanguard’s jetpack or the Titan’s lunging smash, there’s a solid logic in place for gamers of all preferences to try out all of the Law and Breakers recruits.

All in all, Boss Key Productions is off to an incredibly promising start with its first project, and it’ll only be fleshed out as development progresses. In that light, it’s hard not for anyone to begin anticipating the arrival of LawBreakers – and it’s not all that surprising to see the game highlighted amongst Game Rant’s list of the best games from E3 2016. That’s right, the arena shooter is back and it’s better than ever.

LawBreakers is currently set to arrive for PC at some point in 2016.