Ages ago, I used to play Mechwarrior 2 for hours on end. We used to build mechs from the ground up and use them to fight other mechs in the game. Most times, we would end up with a light mech with a big freaking gun that didn’t even work right because we didn’t add ammo. Hawken taps into this nostalgia and never looks back, giving you access to a mech you can build and take out into the futuristic battlefield.
Now, the sweetest thing about Hawken isn’t the killer mech combat, it’s that sexy price point that comes along with the game. You get access to fully customizable mechs, different combat modes and everything in between for the low price of FREE. Yes, Hawken is a free to play game where grinding out games can earn you better gear but those that don’t enjoy to work for it can also take a shortcut and buy their arsenal with cash. While their monetary system hasn’t actually been revealed yet, in an interview with Creative Director Khang Le, he explained that balance was one of the most important things in Hawken and that paying players wouldn’t have an unfair advantage.
I played several different game modes when I experienced Hawken; Team Deathmatch, Free for All and an objective oriented mode. The maps themselves were deceptively large, initially looking way smaller until I stumbled onto another path that would lead to expanded areas. I started in Team Deathmatch where I got pounded by the other players until I got my barrings together and figured out how all the bells and whistles worked on my light-armored sniper mech. After a few minutes, I got the hang of things and started zipping all over the map, taking potshots at unsuspecting enemy targets. Combat was fierce and the subtle things, like a firm camera sway or HUD effects, really made the game completely immersive in a lan-style setting.
The thing that makes Hawken stand out from almost everything else at E3 was simply how polished the game looked. The graphics are awesome, the sound effects are amazing and the controls handled wonderfully. In one of the matches I played (against the legendary Fatal1ty and a few other well known names that escape me now), I found myself catching some heat after sniping a few kills in free for all. After dying a few times, I switched my mech’s armor and picked up a semi auto rifle and a some missiles to change my strategy to run-and-gun. I finished the match in the top 3, simply because I was able to alter my play style in the middle of a game. That is the biggest feature that makes me believe Hawken will be huge!
Hawken will be launching on 12-12-12 for the PC. Expect to see a lot more of this game in the months leading up to the launch date. Before you go, however, check out this combat trailer we put together for the game. It’s only a taste of what the game offers.