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E3 2012: Hawken hands-on preview

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Posted by: Tate Steinlage

Mech-based shooters aren't a new idea. In fact, they're beginning to crowd up as much as console first-person shooters, but like Call of Duty and Battlefield, these shooters have an enormous fan-base that make each title so worthwhile. Hawken, in this case, is a prime example. We had a chance to sit down at E3 and play through an entire multiplayer match of Hawken, and though it may not be the king of mech games, it's one that deserves your attention. 

Our match began in a metropolis setting filled to the brim with deadly mechs. We couldn't help but instantly notice how gorgeous the backdrop looked and how detailed the entire map was, especially from a small-scaled developer. Along with our crew of mechs, we focused primarily on squad fighting. This is extremely worthwhile in Hawken, because mechs take a considerable amount of damage. Working in pairs (or more) will keep your mech intact and allow you to stay out of major gang fights that will deplete your health. 

Hawken gameplay

In addition to the game's impressive graphics, we noticed how solid of a shooter Hawken is. Whether you're playing with a gamepad or the standard keyboard and mouse, Hawken controls quite well and keeps your focus on the match at hand, not "what button does what again?" Indeed, we were picking off foes one by one while gliding around the city using our mech's flight mechanic, which adds another intriguing element to combat. We also couldn't help but laugh at the fact that your mech doesn't truly "respawn." Instead, a Portal-like bot swoops in and fixes the damages from the gunfire. 

Our match lasted roughly twenty minutes and though we weren't blown away by any true innovation, we couldn't help but be pleased with what Hawken has to offer. If you're looking for a mech-based shooter that plays comfortably, while not losing any difficulty, you'll definitely want to give the game a shot. Hawken's E3 showing proves that this free-to-play genre is still thriving and will be until another slew of games say otherwise. 

Tags: E3 2012, E3, Hawken, PC

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