Monday, December 17, 2012

Hawken Open Beta Impression

So, for you mech enthusiasts you should already heard about Mechwarrior Online and Hawken. I've talked about MWO before and the fact that I like how tactical it is and the simulation gameplay really feels great. Now Hawken is actually a really different game entirely. It is not a simulation game but more of a fast paced FPS with a mech setting. But don't make that fact dissuade you from trying this game, because it is great.

Even though I said Fast paced FPS, it is still not the same as your usual FPS. Unlike in CoD, Counter Strike and other FPSs where 1 on 1 firefights only lasts for about 2-3 seconds, 1 on 1 firefights in Hawken could last for a bout 5-8 seconds or even more. Giving the player enough time for maneuvering or even to run away and repair. The addition of jumpjets on all mechs makes combat maneuvering even more effective as you can jump over your enemy to confuse him or to dodge grenades and rocket blasts.

While not as tactical as Mechwarrior Online, Hawken still focuses on team play. Aside from Deathmatches, in other game types players will be better off working together rather than trying to be the lone wolf and charge alone. Because of the longer firefights playing in a group is more effective as your teammate can finish off those who are running away or can handle new incoming enemies. In team games it's never about who gets the most kills but which team has the better position and can work better together. Even the game shouts it out to you every few minutes that if you're alone you die if you work together you'll live. Do listen to the game.

Weapon options in Hawken are limited by the type of chassis you use. Aside from weapon options, each chassis type also have different abilities which will have different impact on gameplay like damage buff, heat reduction, cloaking, etc. Choosing the right chassis to suit your playstyle is important. You start with a Recruit mech which is an okay all-purpose mech but you can unlock other types later on(either by saving up Hawken Credits frommatches or buy it with Meteor Credits).

Weakest part of Hawken IMO is the lack of customization option and effect. In a mech game, I'd like a very complex customization system ala Front Mission, Armored Core or Mechwarrior Online. Hawken lacks all that and only gives you a very small number of weapon options limited to different chassis types. Chassis customization is available to buy with meteor Credits but all they do is make you mech looks different with no in-game effect whatsoever. And no, I don't mean stuff like +25% more armor but how about +10% armor but with reduced speed. Learn something from Blacklight: Retribution's customization options(which I consider very very well balanced and offers plenty of customization).

However, the game offers other kinds of customization in the form of Optimization. You gain experience with each chassis when you use them in battle and when you level up you gain various bonuses and optimization points. Optimization points can be used to fill out the Optimization tree which is filled with various kinds of buffs you can add to your mech. The points can be reset and reused so you don;t have to worry about taking the wrong optimizations.

Despite the slight weakness, Hawken is still a good game. It offers good gameplay with a focus on team play, fast paced combat with enough room for tactical thinking(not 100% twitch-based) and it looks good too(even though that recruit mech looks fugly as heck). Would I suggest Hawken? why yes, yes I would and the fact that meteor Credit is quite cheap also helps as well. Unlocking a new mech only costs $5 and mech customizations also costs around $5 for almost a the whole mech. A great deal IMO.

Check out Hawken at

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