Hawken’s still in closed beta, but I’m going to go ahead and chat about it anyway. As an avid fan of action packed high-customization action packed mech fighters, I personally found this one to be strategic, aesthetic, entertaining, and jaw-shatteringly frustrating. Could just be the fact that I’m not into heavily competitive games, or that there are still a few balancing bugs to be worked out, but I’m having a hard time playing consistently. I’ll get into it.
Hawken is a first person shooter that uses a wide variety of mech types as its main selling point. Lots of different guns, different support and offensive items, and oodles of visual customization. You earn HAWKEN Credits for completing matches (whether you win or lose), and you can buy Meteor Credits with real money. You start off with 4,800 MC, to my knowledge, which is pretty nice. You can buy four extra mechs with that alone, and with the starting Assault model you get, five is a generous number to work with.
Mechs come with a Main weapons, and Alternative Main, and a Sub. Aside from trading out Main and Alt Mains, no armaments customization has been made available beyond items. Items range from defensive barriers to cloaking modules and thrown grenades, separated by their lean towards offense and support. Each mech model starts out with one item and one innate ability, and you’ll be glad to know that all items recharge and can be used infinitely without the need to re-buy.
There are four modes thus far: Free-for-All, Team Deathmatch, Seige, and Missile Assault. I’ve only played Team Deathmatch, but that certainly gives you a great feel for how the game works. Because Hawken’s mechs have poor sustainability and low fuel reserves compared to games like Armored Core, teamwork is an absolute must. To fly solo is to be murdered by a cluster of kill-hungry enemy mechs. Even if you’re sniping, it’s important to know where your teammates are and where you can run.
That said, the lack of voice chatting teammates and evenly balanced teams is rather… unpleasant. The thing is, you don’t level up your account; you level up your individual mechs. This may lead to a discrepancy in skill when teams are being organized, or even during gameplay. Someone might come in with a Level 0 Scout and swap out for a Level 12 Berserker after their first death. There are no mechanisms in place to prevent that yet. As such, you’re not just fighting with new people. You’re fighting with anyone and everyone who plays and has been playing Hawken.
Hawken has a LOT of promise, though. I haven’t seen a Mech MMO this attractive since… ever. Admittedly, I’m still waiting on the new Mech Warrior, but Hawken is great fun, with great big guns! The versatility of mechs already available this early on in development gives me high hopes for the full release and on. There should be some websites still handing out beta keys, so Google it or whatever and get in while you can! You may not get the free 4,800 Meteor Credits if you wait until open beta.
No alternative review, because there aren’t a whole lot out there yet! Closed beta and all, know what I mean? If I do a second review, I’ll definitely have much more info for ya, including Siege Mode and Missile Assault. For now, I’ll leave you with this.