When the Hawken demo finally finished I asked how much it was going to cost and when it released, that was when I found out it was free which took me by surprise. Hawken isn’t your typical run-of-the-mill free to play FPS though, it’s mech-based warfare.
The demo lasted one multiplayer match of six vs. six and began with each of us picking a loadout. You could choose six different mechs: three light and three medium. Each of them with their own advantages and disadvantages. After that customization it came down to weaponry. Each mech had two primary and secondary fire weapons to choose from. Primary fire is obviously your main form of attack and is generally a machine gun, rifle or something similar. There is no ammo but if you over-use the weapon it’ll overheat. Then there will be a cooldown period when you can’t use it. Secondary fire is heavy weaponry such as rocket launchers, but you can only use them every once in a while because they have a cooldown period after each use. You can choose your other equipment, which are things such as grenades or mines.
Gameplay is very different from most shooters, mainly because you’re in a mech. The mech has a nice bit of weight to it when you move, but a jetpack and forward thrusters make traveling forward and upward easier. The level I played was a sandy desert-like area with buildings which helped give a sense of scale and heft to the mech you’re in. With the different firing modes, equipment, jetpacks, and forward thrusters, gameplay is very unique and exciting especially when it’s several mechs in a multi-way brawl. Instead of regenerating health like most shooters Hawken has a dedicated heal button that shuts down the mech and deploys a hovering bot to heal the mech. This leaves the player defenceless for a period of time adding to the tension of the match.
Overall the Hawken demo impressed me a lot. It has a lot of potential to be a great unique free to play FPS that actually plays differently from other F2P titles. Any gamers looking for a different kind of shooter that isn’t generic, but still has exciting gameplay is going to be very happy come its release on 12/12/12.