Hawken’s hype seems to have simmered down since it was announced at the beginning of this year. Since its Open Beta launched two days ago, I haven’t really noticed any talk about it. But after about five hours straight of playing it, I think it’s safe to say that I’m digging it.
For those not familiar with it, Hawken is an attempt at bringing the recently untouched Mech-Battle genre into the modern age of gaming. Hawken attempts, and succeeds.
To be clear, Hawken is very much a FPS, it’s not a Mech-Simulator. That said, it isn’t a FPS the forgets its players are controlling Mechs. The weight of these Mechs is made apparent by their slow movement. This isn’t a standard FPS in the way that you can turn on a dime to shoot at an enemy. Players will have to position their Mechs carefully and maybe even have a buddy watch their back so they aren’t attacked from somewhere that isn’t in their field of vision. Mechs also don’t walk very fast, but by boosting (Hawken’s answer to sprinting) players can move very quickly forward, right, left, or even spin backwards if they need to. There is also a sort of jetpack that adds verticality to every match. With all of this freedom of movement, each match of Hawken is as hectic as it is tactical.
All of these gameplay changes aside, it’s worth noting that if you consider yourself entirely spent on First Person Shooters, Hawken likely isn’t the game that is going to make you change your mind. While it is quite a departure from the genre, it is still a FPS. However, if you find that within you there is a bit of hope that makes you curious enough to even think about giving this game a try, please do.
The game types are pretty standard for the most part. Death Match, Team Death Match, Conquest, everything you would expect from a FPS is here. And then there’s Siege mode. In Siege mode, there are several Power Stations scattered around the map. Player have to stand within a certain distance of these Power Stations to collect energy, they then take this energy to their base. Once the base is given enough energy, a huge battleship is launched into the sky to attack the enemy’s base. This is a rather time consuming gametype, each match takes around 40 minutes to complete, but it is very satisfying in the end — especially if you’re on the winning team.
I haven’t had much of a chance to dig into it yet, but the game also features a pretty good amount of customization, if you have the patience for it. Like most free-to-play games, pretty much everything in the game is unlock-able through playing the game, but to unlock everything, you’re going to need to play the game a lot, so spending real-life currency on mech-upgrades is also an option.
Overall, for still being in Beta, the game is looking great. The only trouble is, the client has crashed a lot for me. I asked around to see if others had experienced the same issue, and for the most part, people said they had been crashing rather frequently also.
Hopefully they’ll be able to fix the client-crashing issue, as it is pretty irritating. Otherwise, I highly recommend everyone check Hawken out.
We’ll report back if any significant changes are made during the beta.