Have you tried Hawken?

cc_hawken_postFor some of us, it’s not exactly news – we’ve already been enjoying living out our mech-inspired, robot-crushing dreams on this Unreal Engine 3 based title that is currently in open beta. Though it’s been open for about ten months it hasn’t quite reached the marketing levels of a triple-A title but there’s a lot here that you should check out even if you’re just an FPS fan so I thought I’d bump this up to let you know in case you’ve missed it.

Developed by Adhesive Games Hawken places you as the pilot of a powering up, metal shell that towers over the surroundings of an over industrialized planet fighting for survival in several game modes. You’ve got your standard Deathmatch and Team Deathmatch experiences where you’re pitted against other mech’s to try to rack up as many kills as you can while kicking over light posts and parked vehicles. It gets even more interesting when you throw in the objective-based adventures: Siege and Missile Assault add complexities that involve capturing missile silos, collecting energy in a race against the other team and other nuances that guide the action in to a focused mechanical brawl.

Of course what modern FPS would be complete without technology trees that you can traverse, enhancements you can customize, items you can deploy and some paint here and there? It doesn’t feel like a pay-to-win game (though, admittedly, after playing for a while I always find myself tempted to purchase a cool paint job or change my rocket boosters; but these aren’t pushed on you at all, it’s a tame F2P environment). The mechanics are really interesting as you attempt to manage fuel (which depletes as a result of yourself “boosting”), avoid and perform lock ons, swivel around 180 degrees, jink left and right as well as being able to hover. The class-based approach makes for a really interesting rock/paper/scissors reality that is the hallmark of any great title of its type.

To top it all off, the art direction, look and feel is amazing (YouTube) — definitely triple-A and super impressive for such a small development team (that regularly patches) who reportedly went from raw development kit to functioning prototype in a month. It won 12 awards at the 2012 E3 and continues to impress.

If you’re looking to try it out, don’t hesitate: it’s free over at playhawken.com – drop me a line if you want to go through it and feel free to contact me if you’d like to join in on some scheduled team-based play that’s inherently satisfying! Highly recommended!

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