Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Hawken  - Open Beta

May 7th, 2013

Already Immersed

                So I’ve been playing Hawken off and on for about the last two months (maybe less, I dunno).  Enough time to get used to the patterns of combat and understand how the flow of battle goes on each map at least.  And I figured it was about time to put down my thoughts on the game.

                Hawken is a fast paced, action packed FPS game with great physics, and game mechanics.  As the game developers release new items for sale using Hawken Points, or Meteor Credits, it’s obvious they consider all their new submissions and how they will effect combat on the field.  Whether it’s rocket turrets, blockades, or radar scramblers, the deployable items all have a real usable function and you won’t feel cheated when you blow your points/credits on them. 

                The use of Meteor Credits (real world money) will sport your mech upgraded hardware to increase its offensive, defensive, or mobility capacity.  That said you don’t need to spend money to get these types of items.  All the items you can buy which augment your abilities can all be purchased by using Hawken Points.  These points are gained by simple gameplay.  The points are different each match, but usually I get about a hundred per match I play.  Also, if you get achievements, you get bonus points based on the goal you met.  All in all, I think this is the fairest way I’ve seen a free to play game operate.  This isn’t pay to win, it’s pay to make my mech look different.  I put ten dollars into painting my Reaper Mech, and changing the parts out on my CT-Recruit Mech so it’s not so blah. 

                There are essentially three types of mechs on the field, class A, class B, and class C.  Think of them as small, medium and large.  As you can imagine the smaller class A mechs have greater mobility, but also have less armor.  Class C, just the opposite with greater armor and less mobility.  I find that having several mechs is a good thing for a player.  One, you don’t get bored with a certain style of play, and two, it can effect your teams success on the field of battle.  If your team is getting hammered by a couple of Sharpshooters, using a Rocketeer in Siege Mode (transforms into a tank), and a having a technician healing you may do the trick.  As a Rocketeer you can bombard their perch from a distance causing them to dodge, and avoid fire.  This will stop them from pestering your other team members and give them a chance.

                The high ground is important in Hawken.  When you are up higher you’ll have a better visual range of the enemies as they approach you, but it also gives you slightly more areas to dodge fire and hide behind objects.  I have found that most battles end up hinging on the high ground.  One side is always giving and taking it from the other.  I haven’t done any data analysis on it, but I have a feeling that he who holds the high ground the longest wins…
                The game types are pretty standard.  Team Death Match, Missile Defense, Siege, and Death Match.  Team DM and DM pretty much speak for themselves. 

·         In Team DM you kill the other guy with the help of your comrades in arms.  The key to this gameplay mode is sticking together.  With your groups combined firepower you can drop any mech within a few moments.  You start to die when you stray off the path. 

·         Missile Defense is basically holding your ground at three missile silos and seeing how long you can retain at least two of the three.  As you gain possession of a silo it starts to bombard the enemy base.  3000 hit points later the enemy base (or your own) is toast.  If I had advice, stick to two silos and don’t try to hold all three. 
·         Siege is different animal.  A match of siege can last quite a while with two skilled teams.  You send your mechs out into the field to gather energy and bring it back to your base.  After you gather enough energy your launch a battleship which goes to beat up the enemy base.  The catch… is the Anti-Aircraft missile silo in the middle of the field.  After you launch your battleship, you have to hold the silo.  If you don’t your battleship is going to get smoked before it ever reaches the enemy base.  The whole battle hinges on holding that AA silo.

·         Death Match speaks for itself.  It’s an all-out free for all, without any friends to lean on.  Personally, this is more of an endgame type of gameplay.  If you go out there with low rank and low end gear, you had better be an ace game player.  Otherwise you won’t have a good time…

                Technically the game is still in open beta, but it’s pretty clear the basics of the game are well established.  I think they just want to give themselves time to roll out more items, more mechs, paint designs and maps.  That way no one can accuse them of launching without enough content.

There are also some interesting possible features coming.  Of particular interest are maps which have a completely destructible environment.  I know this is still under development, but it could really be a game changer.  Demo video here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jkHHRox88aU

                Overall, I really enjoy this game and if you are an FPS fan, I think you’ll dig it, even if it’s out of the norm because of the giant robot aspect.  Though Hawken is still in Beta, I score it 8 out of 10.  What I think Hawken needs is more maps, more items, and the ability to outfit a mech with alternate weapon types.  I don’t see this happening though, since it would change the way you buy mechs and possibly how you spend your money on the game.

See you online!