Hawken is an upcoming F2P multiplayer title from Indie outfit Adhesive Games. Maybe you’ve heard of it? Well up until two weeks ago I hadn’t. Considering this will be a 2012 I took it as a sign of poor quality. After all, shouldn’t there be more buzz? But I was wrong, so wrong in fact that the depths of my folly inspired me to write about this article.
Mech games are nothing new, from the iconic Mech Warrior through Armoured Core and further into strange Japanese territory (which due to lack of experience I’ll avoid commenting on). But what grabbed me and set Hawken apart was the environment. The video below was my first exposure to the game, have a look and we’ll continue my journey from sceptic, to recruit.
“This is what it feels like to be a mech pilot” echoed through my brain. Rather than recoiling at the thought I embraced it. You see, I hate mech games. I loathe the concept of armoured suits battling it out in place of more conventional attack vehicles. Military scientists around the world have toyed with the concept (including semi-viable types of powered exoskeletons) and there are some strong reasons why they’d be useful in certain environments. But In a game setting I’ve seen them as ponderous and slow; even the faster infantry types are plagued with the ridiculous amount of camera bob that would be required for a multi-tonne vehicle running on two legs. More often than not it gave me a headache.But Hawken seems different. Yes there’s head bob, but no more than you’d find in Battlefield 3 when running between points of cover.
Your field of vision lacks the pointless obstructions around the periphery I’ve seen in other games. The HUD does look a little flat (bear in mind the video is based on a product in development) but it’s uncluttered, the things you need are easy to see and the rest doesn’t intrude or distract. I also love the colour palette. Yes it’s mostly browns, greys and greens but it’s pot together in such a way that I really felt like it was representative of a warzone.
I’m not the only person who’s seen potential in Hawken, Archaia Entertainment will be producing a graphic novel and Warner Premier has secured the rights to make a web series. Based on the weak premise and early teases of Defiance, I’m not 100% keen about TV tie-ins to games. But have a look at the live action trailer and tell me this wouldn’t translate well?
Finally, my very favourite thing about Hawken is that it’s built on the truly formidable Unreal Engine. It may not have the bells and whistles of something like Frostbite 2 but it’s proven, dependable and robust. It also allows enough customisation that individual traits can shine through and Hawken, will certainly shine with the best of them.
So maybe I don’t hate mech games after all, maybe I just disliked the implementation of a few major titles. I’ll be playing it, and perhaps it’ll soften my feelings towards similar games. Or maybe Hawken is the Malteaser in a bag full of coffee Revels. Who knows.
Hawken enters open beta on 12.12.12 but sign up for the closed beta now