Originally announced to an extremely enthusiastic internet, Hawken, a Mech based FPS, has been overshadowed in recent months by the return of Mechwarrior in Mechwarrior Online. Still, this little indie-game that could is shaping up to be a very slick looking FPS, and though it is far more arcadey than Mechwarrior, it still retains the weight and feel of mech games before it.
Mech customization in the build I saw was relatively simple. There were a few chassis to choose from, each with varying strengths and weaknesses. Players can also change the loadouts on the arms of their walking tank, switching between a handful of weapon combinations. Honestly, the weapons we played with in this build felt relatively unbalanced, as the flack cannon made very quick work of most lighter tanks. The claustrophobic nature of the city we fought in made it very difficult to fight the weapon, and long range combat was virtually pointless.
As for controls, it needs to be said that this game has much more in common with Mech Assault than Mechwarrior. Though the robots move slowly, and there is weight in their gait, combat still feels like an arena shooter à la Call of Duty or Unreal Tournament. That being said, there is nothing wrong with this form of control and combat. The mech chassis feel different in weight and behave differently in action, so it still *feels* like a giant robot game. There’s even overheating, boosting, and jump jets, so core robot mechanics are still in place. In fact, I was genuinely surprised at how fun and fluid boosting around the city felt, and by holding back and pressing boost your robot can do an instant turn. These movement options speak volumes for the game’s pace, which can speed out of control when two light mechs meet in a cramped corridor.
As for graphics, the game does look great in action, but they made me wear ridiculous in-door sunglasses while I played the game. I still have no idea what the point of these obnoxious shades were, but I will admit that their setup was very impressive. I don’t know how this game will fare on older systems, but what is clear is that the art team has gone to great lengths to fill the world with an insane amount of detail. My one criticism is that it was sometimes difficult to see the robots against the monochrome buildings. Everything in the game is grey or tan, which means that spotting enemies through smoke or from a distance can be near impossible.
Look out for more Hawken information as it nears release. As of now the game is on my radar, and I wish it the best of luck against the heavy-hitting competition.