(for prospective players on the go!)
Hawken is a fast-paced twitch FPS masquerading as a MOBA where assymetrical class-based gameplay relies heavily on coordinated teamwork to accomplish goals. Game modes include variations of PvP and co-op, but no single-player campaign as of now.
The game has a steep intial learning curve, but a seemingly endless depth to the level of mastery (think skiing). It has big hits (think NFL and NHL) and explosions (think F1). It has immenesly satisfying, clutch skill shots (think NBA). It has misdirection and stealth (think chess). It has ganking and flanking (think DOTA2/LoL). And more!
Graphics are still pretty, sound is immersive and overall design is unique. Matches often achieve down-to-the-wire balance. Playerbase is small, but helpful. A few bugs, but all minor and none game-breaking. It is Free-to-Play, not Pay-to-Win.
Overall, Hawken one of most unique and rewarding shooters on the market. So... Why haven't you installed Hawken, yet?
IN DEPTH REVIEW
Let's start with the question on everyone's mind: What happened to Hawken?BACK IN THE DAY
Hawken was developed as F2P first person mech shooter by the now-defunct Adhesive Games and published by the also-now-defunct Meteor Entertainment (WAH wah). After garnering a lot of hype and many awards from E3 2012, the game was released to the public on 12-12-12 in open beta. However, due to numerous factors, Hawken failed to capture a large enough player base to gain any long-term traction.NOWADAYS
Hawken has since been purchased by Reloaded Games, a game publisher with experience resurrecting online multiplayer IP (see APB: Reloaded
(also, I just got that!)). The playerbase, while small, remains a constant mix of new and dedicated players.
Now that's all out of the way, we can move on to the useful bits of the review; the cool section where you'll learn what Hawken is/isn't and some pros/cons to help you decide if this game for you. I mean, you know how reviews work, I didn't need to explain that.Unleash the bulleted lists for selective reading!USEFUL BITS OF THE REVIEW Hawken is:
Hawken is not:
- Fast-paced - Boosting, jumping and dodging speed up the pace of the game.
- Assymetrical action - Different classes, mechs and weapons taken a step further with pilot's choice of items and internals (passives).
- Multiplayer - 6v6 up to 12v12 PvP in 4 game modes: TDM, DM, Missile Assualt (cap and hold) and Siege (unique to Hawken) as well as 4p co-op bot destruction.
- A MOBA masquerading as a twich FPS - The mental aspect of team comps, abilities, cool downs coupled with the physical aspect of aiming, shooting and dodging.
- Mechwarrior - Hawken is a different experience than Mechwarrior and traditional mech games.
- P2W - You can pay for XP and credit boosts, but players gain no in-game advantage other than unlocking early. (besides, the starter mech is a Golden God!)
- Single player - No single player campaign as of the date of this review.
- Perfect - there are still minor technical issues (walls OP), but nothing that greatly diminishes the experience of the game.
- Very Balanced - Assymetry is difficult to pull off and keep everyone happy. Every mech has the potentional to be deadly in Hawken and matches that don't have an influx of new players joining mid-match often come down to the wire with close scores and even sudden death.
- Gorgeous Graphics - Looked amazing in 2012, and still looks great. The designers put an enormous amount of detail into various aspects of the maps and mechs. Users with higher end cards will want to run Hawken on highest settings to achieve the highest frequency of dopamine squirts due pleasing visual stimuli.
- Immersive Sound - Hawken rewards players with 7.1 headsets or surround sound setups. The sound design rewards pilots who key in on audible clues. The Sound designers also added nice suble sound effects, such as the rippling of a roof flap on a tent in a tiny (well, man-sized) market in a desert bazaar.
- Duels - One of the sweetest moments in Hawken is when you 1v1 an enemy without interference from your teams. Any mech can beat any other mech - if you die in a duel, it was your own fault, and perhaps that's what makes coming out of them alive so rewarding.
- Helpful Community - Every online competitive game has ragers, and while Hawken is no exception, the majority of players are happy to help new players with tips and overall strategy. Just ask, don't rage! If you encounter someone who is ragin'. just remember the same rules apply in Hawken as they do elsewhere: do not feed the trolls and they will go back to their underbridges.
- No One-Shot Kills* - I love shooters, but getting constantly sniped from a guy on mountain top 8 klicks away can get old quickly. Players at full health can still die quickly, but never from one shot/barrage from one player. *(Note: small mechs beware of predator traps)
- Customization and Leveling - This may not sound like a "pro" list item to some shooter fans, but Hawken implements it well enough. Customizing game-affecting weapons, items and internals as well as cosmectic changes like skins, chassis parts, cross-hairs and even cockpit decor (bobbleheads and half-eaten chinese food ftw!), the gameplay is made deepener through a sense of progression and self styling.
- Deep Level of Mastery - Years after the release of Hawken, players are still finding and perfecting minor techniques to improve their game play. And like any great shooter, practice makes perfect.
- A Truly Unique Game - Hawken is a game many once-abandoned players revisit again and again, not only for the reasons above because it does online PVP in way that no other FPS really does. We're not talking about unique game modes, but Hawken's very distinct atmosphere and play style. There is a reason Hawken won so many awards at E3 2012 and players who can make over that initial learning curve hump will see why.
- Very Small Playerbase - This can affect new players simply by virtue of being placed in a server with someone who has a lot more experience. Usually when that happens, chances are YOU'RE GONNA HAVE A BAD TIME.
- Difficult to Learn - A few people take to Hawken's gameplay naturally in just a few matches. The majority of new players, however, take a while longer to feel comfortable in the cockpit of their mech.
- Long Grind on Mech Leveling - It can take anywhere from a few days to couple of weeks to level a mech fully. This can be tedious if you're just trying to unlock a later-level weapon for that mech without paying to unlock it early.
- Lag Issues on Far-Away Servers - "Well, of course!" you say. We all know online PVPers want low pings, but pings that reach 70-80 or higher show an immediate affect on gameplay.
- Uncertain future - One developer and one publisher are now donezo (technical term) after releasing Hawken and a new developer bought up the rights for a song. No one knows what will happen going forward, but is this different than most games these days?