Hawken is a free to play Mech FPS developed by Adhesive Games and published by Meteor entertainment.
If you’ve never heard of Adhesive Games, don’t fret, it’s because they haven’t developed anything else.
Upon first launching the game I have to say, the menu music blew me away. It is rare for me to notice the music in the menus, but in Hawken’s case it just drew me in something fierce.
Speaking of menu’s, Hawken has lots of options in the settings menu, more so than what you sometimes see in AAA-titles.
Let’s talk mechs before anything else, they are the star of the game after all. Mechs in Hawken are surprisingly maneuverable, yet still feel big and stompy. The reason for that is the impact you feel when contacting the ground. Each step you take leaves the impression of weight, landing after using the jetpack doubly so.
And it’s the jetpack that makes the mechs as maneuverable as they are. Using shift activates it, and depending on which direction you are pressing with shift, it does something else.
Shift+forward is just like sprint in any other FPS, shift+left dodges left, shift+right dodges right and shift+back makes the mech turn 180 degrees. Spacebar makes the jetpack boost you up, only to then hover at max height. The jetpack is limited in use by fuel, which is expended as you use the jetpack, but replenishes when you’re not using it.
As you expect mechs come in a number of varieties, assault (generic balanced model), ranged (sniper), infiltrator (nimble and vulnerable), vanguard (bulky and tanky), etc. Each mech also has a special ability, eg. The assault can cool off heat and sustain fire for longer, the infiltrator has a cloak, the vanguard can deploy armor.
You can also assign items and internals to mechs. Items are consumables, such as a shield, a grenade, a health pack, etc. Internals are modifications, that for instance, something that allows for more armor at the expense of speed, or absorbers that give you more fuel when you get shot, and stuff like that.
Each mech also has two weapons, the primary weapon is usually some style of machine gun, and the secondary is generally a missile/grenade launcher. While there is no reloading in the game, it does have a heat mechanic which will offline weapons when you overheat. So you can’t just keep the fire button pressed down.
Each mech also has a progression bar linked to it. The more you play with said mech, the more it fills up, and the more new stuff you can buy for it.
Hawken offers four game modes for player versus player combat and an additional co-op game mode. Every pvp mode is 6 v 6. The co-op mode allows for 4 players.
Among the game modes are the classic Death match and Team death match, Missile assault (which is a capture the point-mode), and Siege.
Siege is the original mode of the game, it features elements of CTF, tug of war, and point control, but it’s presented as a cohesive whole.
Seeing as siege is the only interesting one, let’s talk about that. In siege you start at your base which has pads for receiving EU. EU stands for Energy Units, and this is the resources you need to gather to construct a battleship. There are a number of point on the map where you can gather these resources. In addition, any bot that is destroyed while carrying EU will drop it, allowing for the opposing team to pick it up.
Mechs can return to the base at any time to drop off the EU, however doing so takes time which you cannot spend gathering, shooting, or protecting.
Once a team has gathered enough EU the base spawns a battleship. This battleship will slowly fly towards the enemy base and attempt to blow it up. It’s important to note that the opposing team can still launch a battleship of their own if they gather the required resources.
Once the battleship (or battleships) are in the air, the anti-air turret in the center of the map becomes active. This turret serves as a capturable point that fires missiles at the battleship of the opposing team.
While you can fire at the battleships with your mech, doing so does woefully little damage when compared to the AA turret.
Once a battleship gets in range of the enemy base it starts to fire upon it. The first team to lose their base, loses the game.
I personally enjoy the games a lot, the Death match modes are fast paced and brutal, and the siege mode is refreshing when compared to other games I have played recently. I don’t really like the Missile assault or co-op modes as they feel too generic to me, but then again, I just don’t play these.
Also noteworthy is that Hawken currently has 6 maps. While these are well designed, the maprotation does get boring rather quickly.
Previously I haven’t spent much attention to the business models of FTP titles, something I will be paying more attention to in the future.
Hawken is comparable to Star Conflict, or World of Tanks in its business model.
Each match you play nets you Hawken credits which you can use to purchase equipment, internals and mechs. All of which can also be purchased by Meteor credits, which is purchasable for real money.
In addition Meteor credits can also be used for cosmetics (which I’m totally fine with), as well as be used to bypass the progression system of the mechs, and this lets you just unlock whatever you want , well before you normally would unlock it.
Much as with World of Tanks I consider this to be too much pay to win.
While I still don’t completely like the League of Legends business model (with its runepages and the fact you can’t just buy the game, something Smite does allow you), I still consider that a much fairer way of doing things than what Hawken presents.
At the end of the day Hawken is enjoyable, but I feel it is hanging itself using its own business model.
Business Model 7 /20