The Playstation 4 suffers from a lack of not having enough mech-themed games. Thankfully, the developers of Hawken ported the game from PC platforms, thus helping solve a perennial problem. Being free-to-play, it’s one of the rare games on the free Playstation lineup which gives the impression that it is a triple A game. However, once you play for more than a couple of hours, the problems begin to show, which is rather unfortunate for a game with a lot of potential.
One of the brightest points of Hawken is its easy user interface - players won’t have a problem in finding what they need, especially in purchasing or customizing a mech. You’ll first be given a starter mech, called model CR-T, and you will have to go with it for several hours-long worth of grinding if you want to purchase a new mech sooner or later. Though you can save yourself the hassle by buying a new mech with real cash, we’re sure you’d prefer not to burn a hole in your pocket.
Anyway, there are over 30 mechs available, and each has its own different stats and capabilities. They are classified into three different classes: Light, Medium, and Heavy. The A class, or light mechs, are the nimbles and fastest mechs in the game, able to move quietly and cover vast distances within a short amount of time, albeit with little firepower. Medium or B class mechs are more balanced, while the C class or Heavy Mechs carry a lot of firepower, although they lack in the speed and mobility departments. Customization is fantastic: you can upgrade your mech and use different weapons, like cannons, sniper rifles, and rockets.
Hawken’s graphics look like it’s a triple A game, which is a good thing. However, the game does NOT run well at all. On the PC, it suffered from lag and framerate drops, problems which were brought along to the Playstation 4. These can happen in the most inopportune of times, like when you’re turning around to face a backstabbing opponent, or while an intense firefight. This is reasonably disappointing, and while hoping this will be changed in future updates, there’s little chance of this happening.
Though there are numerous game modes you can immerse yourself in, Hawken feels more like your typical first-person shooter. Sure, the HUD may make it feel like you’re inside a mech with all the things it is showing, but the controls and the way you move feel like you’re walking around as a human being. If the aesthetics didn’t show you using a mech, you wouldn’t know that you are.
Finally, the in-game monetization can be harsh to players who purely want to play for free. If you don’t want to spend a cent, you will have to contend with being at a heavy disadvantage against premium players who spent a ton of cash on customizations and upgrades. Though this may be a more profitable model, it takes a huge toll on the free player-base.
Overall, Hawken is a pretty game and is a decent mech-themed shooter. However, the problems hounding the game, like the framerate drops and the reliance on microtransactions, damages it severely. Nevertheless, it is a game with a lot of depth, thanks to its customization and upgrade options. You’ll have fun tweaking your mech according to your preferences.