First of all, this game is about as Pay to Win as League of Legends is. You can get every mech in the game without spending a dime. All Mechs and weapons can be bought using the Hawken equivalent of IP, and customizations can be purchased with the Hawken RP.
Second, I'd like to say that I am an oldschool gamer and a die-hard fan of the Mechwarrior series. I first turned to Mechwarrior Online, but that game was a bitter dissapointment. You would only get one life per match, and the matchmaking was terrible. Once you died, you were out for the 20 minute plus snail race of a match. I had given up on Mechs for a long while, but then I saw HAWKEN.
I honestly love this game so much I don't know how to begin.
This game is fast paced. Unlike Mechwarrior Online, you respawn within ten seconds of your death, and the matches are always a brisk ten minutes in duration. Where as MechWO was needlessly complicated with no tutorial, This game is very easy to learn. At the same time, it is difficult to master, so don't think you won't be challenged. Everything is about skill, with perhaps a bit of luck thrown in as well. Team battles are tactical, yet don't panic if you get a bad team because a few skilled players can sometimes carry an entire team.
Each mech has a different unique ability, and a playstyle that maches. You can spend countless hours learning, mastering, and perfecting each one. My personal favorite is the Predator, who can remain indefinitely invisible, but firing turns of the cloak for a few seconds, and getting shot gives you about a 15 second cooldown. Each mech has default weapons, and then a few alternative weapons that you can unlock using the currency you gain from completing missions. Mechs are very fairly balanced, and every month or so a new patch is added to balance things further and add new content.
There are multiple game types to play, including Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, Siege (a king of the hill-esque game mode), and a co-op vs AI mode that actually is extremely difficult and entertaining. Do NOT neglect these matches because they are awesome.
Best Mech game out there.
This game is wicked sick with high-speed mech battles, explosions, and epic chases. If you aren't careful you will never stop playing. Great game to play with friends or by yourself :)
I'd tell you to buy it right now, BUT IT'S FREE!!!!