HAWKEN is another example of F2P done right.
HAWKEN is a Free to Play in the same style as League of Legends, where you use in-game currency to purchase different Champions
Mechs who have different advantages, abilities, utilities, playstyles, as well as disadvantages. You can equip different Runes
Internals which give different advantages, alternate weapons to your Mechs, & even bring along different items in order to balance out different strategies & playstyles— making your Mech more unique in how you play it. The game is easy to pick up & play, all while leaving room for mastering advanced strategies or gameplay mechanics.
There is NOTHING
you can purchase with real-money (MC) that you can't get with in-game currency (HC) which gives you a gameplay advantage; this game is certainly NOT "Pay to Win". You can buy Mechs, Internals, Weapons, & Items with the "real-money currency" but it's nothing you can't obtain with the in-game currency. The only things you cannot purchase with in-game currency are cosmetics; different paints for your Mechs, different coloured thrusters, or even swappable visual parts which do nothing
aside for personal aesthetic appeal.
The game is surprisingly
balanced, with each Mech (including the starting Assault you get for free) being no more overpowered or underpowered than any other. The Assault is a good balance of up-close or at a distance, being between niches while it isn't the best at anything either; a jack-of-all-trades if you will. The Rocketeer is good for harassment, zoning discouragement, or finishing off those low-health rivals trying to run away. The Reaper is good for sniping the enemy Mechs while maintaining a high amount of mobility. The Infiltrator is good for, well, infiltrating the enemy base or coming out of stealth to deal a large amount of burst-damage. Even the 'cheapest' Mechs have their place & are quite usable in battle which is pleasant to know.
For game modes; There is the traditional Team DeathMatch, a Missile Assault (keep control of 3 points), a Siege (bit harder to summarise) but there is also a CO-OP TDM where you face against bots (who get stronger the more people are in your party), or a CO-OP "Bot Destruction" mode which is akin to destroying waves of weaker enemies while you fight for your life alongside strangers or friends. There are plenty of servers, & for those who wish you are able to browse & join specific servers as well-- so you're not simply a slave to the matchmaker system. However, the game will prevent you (or anyone with a really high match-making-rank) from joining low-rank servers; this is to prevent the 'elite' from simply obliterating low-ranking players as that really isn't fun for anybody.
The controls are solid
. There is a quickturn mechanic which can be a little obnoxious at first (instead of "boosting" (akin to sprinting) backwards, you do a 180-quickturn which you'll likely do accidentally more than a few times) but once you get used to that the controls are flawless. You're able to re-map every key or function, including on an XBOX controller, & the radar, chat, & kill-messages are all able to be moved to the corner of your preference. The visual indicators for things such as when your secondary-fire is ready again, or when your ability is cooled down are clearly visible & understandable being able to be checked with a glance at most.
It's a gorgeous game built on the Unreal Engine with some NVIDIA-exclusive graphic options, however even on a non-NVIDIA card cranking the game up to 'Ultra' is very satisfying. I've never been extremely picky on graphics as until this beast-of-a-laptop I've never been able to run games on full so I am probably not the best person to make a comment on them other than that.
I wasn't expecting much when I first downloaded HAWKEN, but even if I was I feel HAWKEN would have met those high expectations. The game has been purchased by a new developer recently who has been fixing bugs, adding a few new features, & slowly but surely working on creating new content for a game with a huge potential. It has been said that HAWKEN could very easily become the next Halo
with a push in the right direction.
SETTINGS I WOULD RECOMMEND: Boost/Dodge Mode:
By default, the boost/dodge/quickturn is set to doubletapping left/right/forward/back. This is known to be slightly unreliable & is recommended to toggle the option. Toggling makes it so (when using default wsad) pressing [Shift]+[W] will boost you forward, [Shift]+[A/D] dodges sideways, & [Shift]+[S] 180-quickturns. If you are already pressing [A] or [D], pressing Shift will make you dodge immediately
rather than having to release the [A] or [D] & press it again. This will save your life more than once! Additionally, (most) games will have you press [Shift] for sprinting rather than doubletapping [W] but this could also be personal preference. Unfortunately, you are unable to have both options at once.Chat/Radar:
Move the chat to the bottom-left, where it should be by default. The in-game voice chat is currently broken, so at times important information or team-strategies will be posted in chat & when the chat is up at the top people are less likely to read/notice it. This also has the happy-side effect of placing the radar in the top left/right, where it will probably feel more natural (most MMORPGs or other games in general have their radar/map in a top corner).Profanity Filter
: This is obviously optional, but there IS an option to disable it. If you go into the [Game Settings] & scroll down to the bottom, there is a profanity filter you're able to un-check.
BONUS:EDSF over WSAD
: This isn't related to HAWKEN specifically, but any WSAD controlled game in general. Thanks to a good friend of mine who converted me, I now try to inform anybody else on using EDSF over WSAD as it comes with MANY advantages with only one disadvantage.
- Your fingers stay on 'home-row position'. In games like HAKWEN, L4D2, Minecraft, or any other game where you may end up typing at all you no longer have to move your hand right & left for typing. You're able to type a quick message, send it, then continue controlling the game without moving your hand; potentially in the wrong spot leading to death, accidental item usage, or anything else. Your fingers can now stay planted on ASDF for typing & gaming!
- MOAR KEYS! With traditional WSAD, your pinky has control over: [Ctrl], [Shift], [Tab] kind of, aaaaaand ... nope that's it. Two, maybe 3 keys. With ESDF, your pinky can still easily reach [Shift] & [Tab] (less so [Ctrl] but it's doable if you need it (& it was 'less so [Tab] for WSAD anyway)), but now your pinky gets to use  [Q] [A] [Z] & [Alt] in addition!
That's a 'profit' of 5 extra keys, or 3 if your fingers are too small to include the /[Alt] as a pinky-key press (& I typically press [Alt] with my thumb, anyway). That's 3-5 extra buttons for abilities, macros, items, toggles, or whatever else without sacrificing any keys (keep in mind the pinky still has [Ctrl](ish) [Shift] & [Tab] just like before) for any other fingers since they all simply shift one key to the right. Instead of pressing [E] for 'Use' it's [R], & instead of [R] for 'Reload' where applicable it's [T], instead of 'Flashlight' being [F] it'd be [G], etcetera etcetera. The letter on the key is different, but the muscle-memory movement is still the same so there's no having to readjust or re-learn the key presses you've known for years.
- The ONLY disadvantage of EDSF ... is having to remap keys. By default, games have a WSAD-based control scheme so before playing you'll typically need to move every key one key to the right so it's based around EDSF, but that's a one-time deal & worth it.