Hawken is a highly-anticipated first-person mech combat game currently being developed by Adhesive Games with Meteor Entertainment taking publishing duties. Hawken has already received numerous awards and accolades at prestigious gaming events such as the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), Gamescom 2012, and PAX Prime 2012, so it’s safe to say that there is quite a bit of hype surrounding this soon-to-be-released game. We got a chance to go hands-on with the Hawken closed beta to see if it lived up to the hype. Note that the game is still in beta and there are a lot of things that could change for the final release.
Hawken is set in an urban wasteland that sees humans battling for resources as well as survival in large battle mechs. A well-developed game environment can make or break games from smaller studios, and we are happy to report that Hawken does a great job of conveying the dirty, grungy nature of its setting. Building and roads look worn-out and decayed, smog creates a hazy sheen on in-game lighting, and thunderously plodding around in your mech causes sprays of dust to go flying everywhere, just like in any good urban wasteland setting.
Speaking of plodding, the mechs in Hawken literally do “plod” along across the ground. The sheer weight and size of the mechs controlled in Hawken is impressively portrayed. Walking into large vehicles littered all over the map will simply clear them away rather than having them be true obstacles in a mech’s path. Clearing away urban debris is about all that walking is good for in Hawken, however, as all the mechs move and turn pretty slowly.
Weapons in Hawken, which vary from light “sub-machine cannons” (actual in-game name for one of the weapons!) to multi-array rocket pods, do not use any ammunition but instead build up heat the more they are fired. This again lends itself to the high-intensity, short-burst gameplay of Hawken and provides yet another strategic element for players to keep track of during firefights.
Many types of mechs are available, from fast, agile “scout” mechs with light armor but high maneuverability to slow, lumbering “heavy” mechs that make up for their lack of speed with lots of armor and even more firepower. Each mech type also has a unique active ability, which can activate effects such as weapon cooldown reduction, siege mode, increased weapon damage, or even invisibility. As gamers gain experience with particular mechs, tech tree points are unlocked which add bonuses such as increased walk speed or increased fuel regeneration. Each mech can also equip items that can be used in-battle, such as a radar scrambler, a shield, or even an automated turret. Different mech parts and paint jobs can also be applied to a mech, giving players even more control over how their chosen mech plays and looks.
With its well-designed environments, intense gameplay, and tons of customization options, Hawken looks to have a strong impact on fans of giant mech vs. mech fighting. Hawken is currently set to release on Dec. 12. Stay tuned to Gaming Illustrated for a full preview of Hawken in the coming weeks.