HAWKEN Early Access Review: A Nearly Perfect Free to Play Mech FPS

A free to play truly worth a shot... teehee get it?

They may look like some pipes of steel welded together, but Hawken’s war machines are surprisingly agile. Meteor’s free-to-play shooter gives you control of a twenty-foot-tall mechanical warrior, but it’s not another MechWarrior: the maps here are small, and the combat fast paced.

It’s all about the movement.

As my Mech walks around shaking rocks on the ground around, the cockpit wobbles and dirt flecks the windshield. I hear the mechanical clank of each heavy footstep, and when I fire my weapons I can sense the vibrations shaking my chassis. When I move the mouse to turn, there’s a slight delay and the whir of a motor as my torso swivels around. I haven’t felt as physically connected to a first-person game since Mirror’s Edge.

Ever since I got my hands on the Alpha way back in 2012, I've been absolutely hooked to Hawken

Hawken is an excellent first person shooter in the tradition of games somewhat along the lines of arena shooters like Quake or Unreal Tournament, but with a nice mech flare that gives Hawken a very unique feel.

There are well over a dozen mechs in the game, all with their own play styles, strengths, and weaknesses, and with quite a bit of customization for each one, from the way they perform to the way they look.

Maintaining Free to Play Blanance

they've limited the pay-only stuff to the cosmetic options like camo, thrusters, and repair drones that all have no effect on game play

You can unlock these customizations simply by playing a Mech, or by buying them with the in game currency. Free cosmetic customization options unlock as well as you level up the individual Mechs (mech level) and your overall earned experience across all Mechs (pilot level).

When I first got into it, I was a little worried since, as a free to play game, the possibility of pay-to-win rearing its ugly head was always a possibility, but my fears remained unfounded. Like all developers, these guys need to make money, but they've limited the pay-only stuff to the cosmetic options like camo, thrusters, and repair drones that all have no effect on game play.

You of course have the option to buy new Mechs and such straight away, too, but it's never a requirement. All the Mechs and weapons are balanced very well overall, and there has never been a single must have mech or weapon that gives you an advantage over everyone else. 

I did, personally, buy the Assault the moment the game entered open beta, as I knew from the closed testing it was the mech for me. However, every other mech, weapon, item, and internal in the game was bought with the currency I earned simply through playing - and I have them all.

There is a grind - but it is nowhere near as heinous as it is in plenty of other free-to-play titles out there, and I enjoyed every bit of the game play, I never once felt like I was having to grind out the equipment.

On top of all that, the community in this game is phenomenal.

never wanted to get involved in an official community, or in a clan before

never wanted to get involved in an official community, or in a clan before. It had always seemed stupid and pointless and bleergh. However, I was slowly pushed into it with Hawken, and it's been a tremendous experience. So many of the players are extremely helpful, the developers are friendly and responsive, and my experience as a whole with this game was profoundly affected by my interactions with the community here. Seriously, it's shockingly good for an online game.

"It's a FREE TitanFall!"

Many like to assume at first glance that this game is a free version of the ever so hyped TitanFall, but I'd like to counter that

With my experience on both games I'd say that each game has its own play style. For a starter in Hawken if you don't stick with your team you become easy meat for anyone on the enemy team and winning isn't all about your KD, you do not earn money from big killstreaks but instead whether your team wins or not. While in TitanFall you do not rely on your teammates as much and can easily run around getting kills while your team loses.

We also find a great difference in control and how you feel when controlling your mech, in Hawken when you turn and walk you feel a little less agile but yet more powerful while in TitanFall you find yourself vulnerable to a simple human jumping on you back, opening a suspiciously open weakspot and taking you down with a machine gun. They're two different games with different style, so lets not turn this into a war similar to BF COD.

In all Hawken is one of the best F2P games out there available with amazing level design-WAIT!

How could I possibly forget?

The maps on this game are just AMAZING!

No other F2P could possibly look like this game! Each map has the perfect mix of close quarters combat to long-range sniper-friendly distances. 

 Map - Prosk

But as I was saying I wont go into detail since you can always find out more on the website. Links below. Feel free to try this and hey! It's free!

By the way I made some fan art for HAWKEN, you can check it out on my steam here: http://steamcommunity.com/id/Iderpedtoharderror69/images/

Our Rating
9
A free to play truly worth a shot... teehee get it?

Featured Contributor

Games Hawken Genres ActionFree to PlayShooter Platforms PCMac Tags f2p
Source playhawken.com
Published Apr. 10th 2014
  • Bankles
    I've come from from two weeks into the future to let you know that I was playing fervently the moment at which the game transitioned from one early developmental stage to another, having already spent money in the "operational cash shop" and I got it all back. Which was classy.

    As for Steam - Steam itself is a shady system anyway. Pop up ads on my computer, paying for games I can't access when Steam connectivity is wonky, Steam support is unreachable - literally. They don't feel the need to be able to communicate directly with paying customers.
  • fuodshfdshfdsjfk
    Featured Contributor
    I've come 11 months from the future to let you know Hawken is basically Dead.
  • iTrigonometry
    Featured Contributor
    Hawken has sadly done a couple of shady things that have made me simply not want to play it. Transitioning from Open Beta back into closed beta by joining Early Access in Steam and making you pay for it, having an operational cash shop whilst in Beta and the entire freemium concept. Sure, it became free to play again recently, but me and my friends just refuse to play it.
  • Chai Chien Liang
    Contributor
    I like mecha games and definitely have been enjoying this. a lot of variety in terms of choice of mechs with 3 different sizes catering to different playstyles

    There are times when I meet an opposing team which is coordinating really well which makes the game a hard slog...
  • Amy White
    Former Editor in Chief
    That fan art is sweet! I honestly would have figured it was concept art right from the game designers.

    How would you say this game compares to Titanfall? Releasing so closely together, they almost can't avoid comparison, and I'm sure some players would be interested in hearing how this F2P stacks up against the somewhat costly titan.

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