On January eight, 2018, free-to-play mech shooter Hawken will not be out there to play on PC. The supposed relaunch, introduced again in February, seems to not have paid off, so the builders are pulling the plug. With so few nice mech video games round, this can be a enormous loss – even on its deathbed, Hawken stays one of many strongest mech-‘em-ups on PC. I have tried finding the same flavour of mech action elsewhere, but from the sluggish, impenetrable systems of MechWarrior Online, to the lane-locked metal soldiers of Titanfall, nothing has come close to Hawken’s specific fashion of robot-on-robot motion.
Hawken is not the one mech sport in bother – learn our story on the legal battle that BattleTech and MechWarrior have been via.
Hawken is a perfect mix of frenetic taking pictures and stompy battle machines, with mechs feeling nearer to destruction derby automobiles than the lumbering giants of BattleTech. There is a satisfying physicality to the controls – cockpits lurch with each sprint, shaking with weapon hearth. Even the heavier courses have an actual kick to their velocity, however the satisfaction for me is at all times zipping round in a lightweight Berserker, chipping away at flanks earlier than making a fast getaway. Over time, the builders toyed with the injury and armour numbers in order that the time-to-kill decreased, upping the stakes of every steely showdown. Daring assault runs are all of the extra thrilling when a well-placed rocket is the one factor that stands between escape and a flaming wreck.
While Hawken has the same old deathmatch and point-control sport modes, the place every part actually comes collectively is in its improbable siege matches. Two groups combat for management of vitality models, which gasoline airships that traverse the map and hearth on the different crew’s HQ. Fast mechs sprint throughout the stage gathering vitality whereas heavies chip away at one another, holding down the pivotal Anti-Air turret. Where in most modes fights can come right down to ‘which side brought the most guns’, there’s a actual want for coordination in siege. Sadly, over the previous few years, the participant depend has been too low for something apart from deathmatch, so later gamers missed out on the joys of a full spherical of siege.
Hawken’s greatest energy is its sense of favor. A dirty, blue-collar world of company competitors and scavenging mercenaries, delivered to life via killer artwork path and a quietly sensible soundtrack. This setting impressed maps starting from lush jungles and blistering deserts, via city locales that ran the gamut from dense highways to polluted industrial complexes.
But the actual star is the mech design – these janky, heavyset robots all seem like one thing cobbled collectively on Scrapheap Challenge. Of be aware is the infamous ‘Fred’ starter mech – primarily an outsized CRT display on legs, it even comes with a pores and skin that plasters a Windows blue display over its cockpit. Most designs proceed this theme of wanting like a field of commercial home equipment haphazardly welded collectively, draped with tarps, and sporting elements of different autos thrown on for good measure. Even those that handle to look cool sport the identical home-made allure.
I will probably be unhappy when Hawken dies. It has its issues – like a number of free-to-play video games from round that point, the grind is outrageous, and a string of growth points saved a lot of the deliberate content material from surfacing over its 5 years in Early Access. No sport since has fairly captured the feel and appear of mech fight like Hawken does – and with the sport’s failure to ever actually get off the bottom, it’s unlikely we’ll see its specific fashion emulated any time quickly. Mech followers on PC could have forthcoming titles within the BattleTech and MechWarrior line-up to stay up for, however Hawken’s sundown is an actual loss to such an underserved style.