With E3 being such a huge event for the industry, not everyone has the funds to pay the big money to get a spot within the event. Some companies set up shop just outside the event space within the L.A. Convention Center, while others did guerilla promotion, carrying around laptops with their game, and in the case of Adhesive Games and Meteor Entertainment, an E3 after party was the place for them to show off their highly anticipated free-to-play Mech game, Hawken.
Several months ago, a trailer for Hawken first appeared on the net, wowing gamers with an incredible looking mech game. This unknown game, at the time, had immediately captured gamers’ hopes for a quality mech game, something that hasn’t been seen for about a decade.
At the Luxe Hotel, a quick walk from the L.A. Convention Center, a DJ played music as servers walked around with trays of hors d' oeuvres in a swanky meeting area that overlooked L.A. Live. A large LAN setup was in a room of its own filled with players competing in mech on mech action.
It took a little wait time, but I finally found myself sitting at a PC ready to control my own giant robot. I was in a group of 6 that were going to face each other in a simple Deathmatch battle.
To start, players had a choice between six different mechs: 3 light mechs (Assault, Sniper, Raider) and 3 medium mechs (Demo, Sniper, Brawler). Each mech has its own primary and secondary weapon, with the primary being more of rapid fire weapons (i.e. machine gun) while the secondary being a harder hitting weapon (i.e. missile). Along with each mech are special “abilities” that allow for either more offensive power or defensive options along with one that’s marked as being “functional”.
Once I selected my mech, we were all dropped into a futuristic abandoned city. In this particular stage, there were plenty of open areas for long range combat including multi-level areas for potential sniping spots. Other areas were tight forcing players to get up close and personal.
Visually, the mechs and stage looked great. The map was filled with plenty of detail that gave a look of a gritty city that is technologically advanced. Each mech has its own look that mainly consisted of what every good mech should have: big freakin’ guns.
As good as the game look, it plays even better. First off, the controls are fairly simple. One mouse button is for your primary weapon, another for the secondary, and various other keys to make use of different functions on the mech. Those familiar with the MechWarrior series may remember that the game made use of plenty of keys to make for more a “realistic” experience. However, in Hawken, the controls are streamlined to give you great mech action without the need of remember a bunch of keys.
Secondly, Adhesive Games went about modernizing the mech gameplay. The mechs are big, but they don’t move around like it thanks to a “run” button. I know some mech purists may not like this, but in these modern times, a multiplayer game where it takes minutes to find an enemy as you trudge along with your slow moving robot doesn’t make for a fun time. Players can also repair themselves if they can get some time away from the action or risk being an easy target.
Although I didn’t have a lot of time with the game, I have to say that the future looks great for Hawken. The game looks great, fun to play, and it’s free. What more would a gamer want? Watch out for the game this holiday season on December 12, 2012.