I haven’t “seriously” played a PC FPS in quite some time. That might have something to do with the lackluster circa 2008 PC I currently own. In an even longer time frame, it has been since 2001 that I have played a Mech game of any kind. From the mid-90s till my early days in high school, I spent plenty of weekday afternoons playing the Mechwarrior series. At some point in the early 2000s I hung the controller up on Mech games and haven’t played one since. That all changed at E3.
I literally got sucked into a new franchise in a matter of minutes. I’m a creature of habit and I stick with the franchises I’ve grown up with, so it is not often that I venture into new realms unaware of its history or purpose. I had seen video of Hawken and thought it was interesting but I didn’t put much thought into ever playing it. Maybe I believed that the Mech-genre had seen its better days and it was best left untouched for at least a few more years. Either way, the Hawken PR extravaganza and a chalk-load of their dev team invited Miguel and I to duke it out over some cutting edge mech combat.
If you have been keeping up with the latest news on this coming attraction Free2Play franchise, you know just because you are throwing down in a 18k ton mechanical beast doesn’t mean you sacrifice the “twitch” feeling from most modern day shooters. The speed and deft quickness was extremely responsive and the relation to “Gundam” that I heard from an opponent is pretty spot on. Granted you can’t exactly fly (yet) it doesn’t remove the speed at which this game plays. I loved the ode to Unreal Tournament games with the “Jump-Strafe” technique. Yes I know UT didn’t start it but it’s what I remember that game for. However, I felt a close resemblance to the Killzone/Crysis control scheme throughout the play through and I honestly dig that. I don’t want to move my cockpit around like it’s on a ball bearing rolling down an oil slick. The weightiness compared to the fluid relation between your legs and torso section felt great, especially for a game that isn’t due for download until December.
I definitely felt the esport potential of this F2P title come 2013. I think what creates a definitive line between the average “military-shooter” and Hawken is that you feel you are actually hunting your enemy throughout the industrial section of some futuristic cityscape. The feeling of squad tactics was pretty immense, even more so than your current “Battlefield” title and with the proper amount of balancing with each class, it could take the esports community by storm come January 2013. Regardless of the competitive aspect, it is still a damn good game to play when you have the itch to spew ridiculous Top Gun quotes such as the obligatory ”Kick Tires, Light Fires” paraphrase.
Sure the game sounds fun but what exactly is it that makes me want to sweat tiny war-machines out of my pores for months to come? The people. I’ve met my fair share of dev teams and PR airbags during my stint in the gaming industry but the guys from Adhesive Games and Meteor Entertainment made the experience feel more like a bunch of friends playing in someones’ game room on a Saturday afternoon. Most of the time you spend the session asking all the questions but the dudes from Adhesive Games wanted to know every detail from my experience with the game and its inner-workings. It just goes to show how passion is still very prevalent in the gaming world, even when we get the same rehash every fall. I felt like my feedback was being taken serious and it didn’t matter that I had been playing competitively since 1998, nor did it matter that I carried some of the devs through two matches (I deserve a trophy for that by the way). I could have been the most casuals of casuals and they still would have wanted every drop of information I could muster. I definitely believe that the amount of love and dedication to their product is what makes this group so attractive. I want more from these guys and I implore you to seriously dive into their world.
While there is no confirmed date for the upcoming beta, and I still need to get a PC that can run this game on settings higher than “Give it up bro, your PC is garbo”, I am more than just “excited” for the launch of this refreshing franchise. Take the time to check out their twitter, blog and website (all listed below) when you get the chance. It’s hard to find “good folks” in an industry that has become over-saturated with douche-isms and self-entitlement. Check out their vids, let them know you dig their work and tell them that there needs to be a “Squid” inspired Mech. Can I at least get a fancy paint job?