Developers: Adhesive Games
Publishers: Meteor Entertainment
Platform: Microsoft Windows
Genre: Online FPS, Mechs
“There are two kinds of mech pilots — the quick and the dead.”
Hawken is not and never would be my type of game! I figured it best to open with a dramatic statement like that so you will be able to understand when I say that I have been completely and utterly surprised by my visits into the BETA Play of this online FPS. Hawken is not my first experience with giant killing machines, having bought and returned Zone of the Enders in the same day, I’ve always chosen to turn a blind eye to the concept of battling bots purely because they never really interested me. I stumbled across Hawken after seeing some tweeters discussing it and when I found myself an owner of a BETA Key I decided to try and leave my preconcieved notions of the genre behind me.
Developed by Adhesive Games, a Los Angeles based independent developer, the game is their very first title that has been in development since late 2010/early 2011 but was announced March 2011 by the company. Steadily since it’s first reveal the game has gathered massive interest not only amongst gamers but amongst other developers, industry professionals and journalists alike. At E3 this year it was nominated for twenty awards and managed to pick up twelve of those will also receiving honourable mentions.
So there is a lot of fuss about it and it hasn’t even made into the wider scope of the gaming public yet! Is it living up to the hype?
Anyone who has ever gained early access to a game is aware that you can expect bugs, delays, unexpected crashes, annoying glitches and breakable levels and more. For me that wasn’t really the case with Hawken, sure I was met with a delay when trying to reach an active game but once I was in there were no issues and I was free to blow up myself and other enemy mechs to my hearts content.
“Combat in HAWKEN moves fast, no matter which mech you choose. Sharp instincts and a hair trigger will see you striding over the smoking wreckage of your enemies.”
That’s it right there, that’s the premise of the game. You are a mech pilot, struggling to survive on a human colonay that is on the brink of collapse and ruin as over industrialisation and mining has led to an exhaustion of the planets resources and now people scavenge what they can to live another day. The game will be released on Open Beta on the 12th December and will have four playable modes, ‘Team Deathmatch, Free-for-all Deathmatch, Siege and Horde’ across various maps. Of these I’ve only played free for all death match and all of my destructive capers were confined to the walls of a ruined city.
Hawken sets itself apart from other FPS in a few ways. The gameplay feels more frantic, gliding, blasting, and diving around corners while trying to shred your opponent with a railgun isn’t as easy as it sounds even if you are inside a giant machine. Your screen is laid out as if you’re staring out of the front of your Mech, take damage and the protective glass can crack, this only serves to increase that sense of frantic play as you struggle to find cover for your colossal bot and command a service bot to make essential repairs, as you move you’ll see the controls in front of you move with each step. Visually the game is a marvel and as said earlier the HUD screen really makes you feel like you are operating within the Mech and for the first time I’ve actually felt like a FPS lived up to the name.
The Mechs come with unlimited ammunition with two different weapons equipped to your machine to maximise your killing chances but overusing them or walking around all guns blazing in the hopes of hitting someone will lead to overheated guns and they will become unusuable for a short period of time, leaving you completely open to attack. Your Mech is customisable, with credits earned after each match that can be spent buying new weapons or overhauling the Mech entirely adding new parts to make something unqiue. You don’t have to just stop at one either with the option to create a garrison of devastating machines that you can choose depending on the type of fight you’re heading into and the actual role you want to play on the battlefield.
Words like ‘free to play’ and ‘mech’ generally raise alarm bells in my head but I can hold my hand up here and declare I was wrong. This is not a game to watch, it is a game to put on your list of must haves!
Hawken, even in BETA is an enjoyable, fast paced and thoroughly engaging game, as colossal metal figures hurtle around the ruins of a dying planet, I realised that I’d never felt more comfortable in the pilot seat as Hawken pushed past all my own misconceptions and showed me that there is a fantastic beauty to these machines even as they shred through one another with bullets and rockets. The tagline for the game, “War is a machine.” is anything to go by then sign me up right now!
Editor-in-Chief, part-time super villain and hoarder of cats. If you can’t find me writing, I’m probably in the kitchen!