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Hawken Review

Invasion of the Mechs

Start the rampage for total machine carnage! You’ll want to play this one with a huge screen and a kick-ass audio surround system, Hawken will give you one hellish ride you’ll never want to get off. Thumbs up to Adhesive Games for this insane first-person shooter MMO, ultimately designed to give the audience the most realistic experience of piloting a combat mech. The game was developed with Unreal Engine 3 and was published under Meteor Entertainment. Hawken was officially released last year, entering its open beta 12th of December 2012 and it is currently free-to-play. In this Hawken Review we will take a deeper look.

The thrill of the game is something to look forward to. If you enjoyed games like Counter Strike, which was probably one of the most popular first-person shooters ever released, then it’s probably one you could compare with Hawken. Since the main mechanics of the game are very similar but multiplying it by a thousand fold in terms of graphics and effects. Challenges are held in various maps and in different modes. You’ll be playing as a battle mech pilot with an automatically designated role or position in each battle depending on the type of mech you’ll be controlling. Of course your victory will depend on how well you are able to perform with your assigned position; may it be supporting your comrades in team mode battles or how well you can maneuver against other mech pilots especially in solo combat modes.

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Hawken 1.0

Like every new recruit, you start off with basic training. Officer Leila will be there to greet you and to guide you through each important pointer on how to be a mech pilot. Directional movements are controlled with W.A.S.D keys like in most games. You are also taught on how to hover and jump in order to gain access to higher, lower grounds and terrain gaps with the aid of jumping panels affixed in particular areas of each map. Holding down the Left Shift button allows you to boost and speed up your mech combined with the directional keys; you’ll be able to dash from side to side (dodging move), to boost forward or make 180 degree turns with the down key.

Knowing when to hole in and taking time to repair your mech is important when you are almost under constant and heavy fire. This is done by holding down C. While your mech is being repaired, you will be unable to return fire if an enemy spots you or attack any mech that happens to be close by. Another thing you’ll want to watch out for is the Heat Gauge. This indicates the heat temperature of your weapons and if they overheat, you’ll be unable to attack or defend yourself during a fire fight. The F key executes your mech’s special ability a good example is the starting battle mech you’ll receive at the beginning of the game. It has the special ability of immediately cooling down your weapons.

Battle mechs are divided into three weight classes and each class is lined up with different mechs, each mech has its own coverage of specialty. It can differ from close combat, range mechs and support mechs that specializes on repairs.

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Light Mechs may be weak on the defensive side but are way more agile compared to other mechs. These speedy bucket of bolts can bunny hop all over the place while relying mostly on their hit-and-run tactics. Imagine being stalked by two Berserkers. It is by definition, the assault-type bot for the Light Mech class. It’s equipped with a special ability called Ballistic Barrage that increases weapon damage for a short period. With their speed and capability to induce serious damage, they can totally disorient their enemies and eventually obliterating them while in the state of confusion.

Medium Mechs are the most flexible in terms of accessibility and are the most suited for newbie pilots. As a new player, you start off with a CR-T Recruit that belongs into this category. Though it may look like an old television with arms and legs but Fred (yes, they named it Fred) packs a strong enough force capable of knocking out and eliminating enemy bots with its mixed capabilities. A Medium Mech is your best companion; it can greatly help you build up your battle tactics. While getting used to the controls and movements as a pilot with an all purpose machine, it help give you a much clearer vision of which type of battle mech and combat position you might want to build up.

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Heavy Mechs are capable of trampling through enemies. Its massive defense and power to inflict serious amounts of damage definitely makes up for its loss in terms of movement speed. They can also transform into mobile turrets that can launch more than enough rounds and missiles that a single target can possibly dodge. We all know how annoying turrets can be in any game that has them. Anyway, like Light and Medium Mechs, this walking fortress also comes in different types that can cover any particular combat or support position in battle.

As you continue to gain levels within the game, you will have the opportunity to unlock more rewarding features of the game that can definitely help you win battles and improve your mech’s performance.

There are currently seven types of Maps accessible within the game. Each of them were constructed to be complex and welcoming to any number of battle tactics, equipping your mech with the proper camouflage before jumping into a fight is something you’ll have to keep in mind. Each of these maps are beautifully crafted, the developers clearly put so much effort in making Hawken quite the immersive world. From something like an old abandoned town to an alien like world, I couldn’t help but be in awe. To be able to appreciate this game more, you definitely have to shut your self in a room with dimmed lights, connect your PC to a massive monitor and surround your self with an excellent audio system – then just brace your self for one totally awesome ride.

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Joining the Ranks

Training how to drive your mech is totally awesome in its own way. You can do a few versus A.I. matches to polish your piloting skills BUT it won’t reward you with anything. You’re really going to have to go against other players in the game to get your Progression going. These Player vs. Player matches doesn’t only provide for exp, it also allows you to unlock better type of battle mechs, better options for weaponry and upgrading special skill. Aside from being able to purchase better equipment, you will also earn Modification Points (just their term for character stats) that allows you to tune up your mech and improve their overall battle performance.

Hawken’s Progression feature also include tons of freebies but of course, this all depends on how well you do as mech pilot. By earning Pilot Levels, you’ll get to unlock a ton of benefits like elite mech parts, drones, camouflage for your mech and possibly a new battle mech! During their Hawken’s latest update, the exp was only applied on the battle mechs but now, the pilot also gets the exp. Why is this helpful? Because you’ll need both Mech and Pilot levels to get your Progression going. This is like throwing one stone and hitting a flock of birds at one go. Another neat element in the game is how you can the extra exp you gain and transfer it to a different mech so you can help it level.

All Mechs start at Rank 1, as you go along the game up to the point where your battle mech reaches its highest rank (Rank 5) and already at maximum exp. Any extra exp you gain while using a maxed out mech can be converted into a Universal XP. This can be transferred to other battle mechs you have stored in your garage that are yet to reach their maximum level. And yes, you can have more than one mech. So the universal items you’ll get as freebies will do nicely even if you decide to set up your battle mechs to fit different combat roles.

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Ready to Roll!

This game is bound to be even more addictive than the old first shooter games I’ve tried before. Even if they said that there aren’t that much modes in the game but then again, it is still rather new and I am betting that the developers won’t stop thinking new ways to make Hawken even livelier and more explosive than it already is. For now, I guess it is probably best to wait a little while longer before finalizing what ever impression we have over the game.

I can’t say that this is a game I will be playing all the time, in my experience as an obsessive gamer, it tends to lessen the fun out of a really awesome game if you spend too much time in it. So to keep it fresh, a moderate to an above average gaming dose of Hawken is probably for best.

To find out more about Hawken, visit the game page.

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