Skip to main content

Time to Get Mecha-nized: Part I



Things are coming up mecha!

It's funny: until Hawken went into open beta roughly a year ago, I never was interested in the sci-fi concept of 'mecha'.  It just always seemed really silly to me for an armored vehicle to drop the inherent stability of treads for balance-heavy legs!  In retrospect, maybe it never was a silly as I once thought it was as legged machines seem to be all the rage lately in the world of robotics research.  Go figure.

Be that as it may, once the mecha bug bit me, it bit deep.  Those main battle tanks that had somehow managed to grow a pair of legs can be quite addictive!  I have found that there is a thoroughly unique feeling of power that comes with the ability to stride across a battlefield rather than ride across it like some peasant on a donkey. What is more, I quickly learned to appreciate the distinctiveness of the combat that surrounds bipedal tanks.  Because something with legs is always going to be more elegant in its movements than something merely sporting wheels or treads, combat between two mechs quickly becomes a contest of technique rather than raw firepower.  In some ways, mecha warfare resembles the dogfights of World War I where the pilot's skill was the determining factor more than the qualities of the biplane itself.  I guess that is why mecha operators are referred to as "pilots", and why they also swagger with all the esprit de corps of the Red Barron himself.

As I mentioned above, I credit Adhesive Games' Hawken for getting me hooked on this genre.  Their game of futuristic mech warfare really nailed all the qualities described above.  To pilot one of the fleet-footed Hawken mechs is to really get a sense of what it would be like to command such power and grace as a mecha pilot.  If you haven't had a chance to experience it for yourself, it looks something like this:

  
Good times!

I was thrilled to learn recently that Hawken has finally decided to come out of the shadows and make its debut on Steam.  While Hawken has achieved a cult following during its open beta process, it has never really broken out into the mainstream.  Nothing really surprising about this -  a lot of gamers aren't interested in beta testing a game so they ignore it, free to play or not, until the day it goes v1.0.  Even though Hawken remains in an open beta, its presence on the Walmart of gaming should go a long way in catching the attention of those gamers who have forgotten all about this gem that debuted with quite the hubbub.

For reasons of Steam's "Early Access" policy, as well as to keep the Hawken servers from potentially melting down from all the new attention, Hawken currently requires a $29 purchase of a Nemesis package for new players.  Note:  if you have an account from the pre-Steam days, Hawken remains free to you.  Truth be told, even if I couldn't continue to play the game for free as a grizzled pilot from the early days, I would still happily fork over the money to keep playing this great mecha game!

If $29 is too steep for you to get in on this game sight unseen (understandable), don't fret: Hawken is expected to (finally!) leave beta by the end of March, so you won't have long to wait.  Also, Adhesive has said that there might be cheaper packages coming down the pike soon enough as well, so keep an eye out for those.

All I can say is that Hawken is one heck of a fantastic and addictive mecha experience.  While there is currently another free-2-play mech game out there, one that is based on a very popular science fiction IP, I believe it cannot hold a candle to Hawken.  Adhesive has managed to produce a great looking, highly polished and extremely fun and addictive game, one that is constantly being updated with new mechs and maps no less (even in beta!).  And don't fret about any pay-2-win schemes: everything in Hawken, with the exception of cosmetics, can be earned with in-game currency.  No $500 "golden mechs" here!  Simply:  If you are a fan of mechs, you really must try this delightful mecha game.



 Here is the official Hawken Steam page for more info.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Gamer's Review: Hellsing Ultimate

Is it too early to start queuing up some entertainment for Halloween?  Just a bit.  Regardless, I find myself doing just that.  Part of the reason is that summer for my region never really arrived.  Instead of the requisite heat and humidity, we were treated to largely cool, dry days.  Really, it has felt like little more than an extended late spring or early autumn.  As a result I have found myself yearning to get autumn underway as there isn't any point of continuing this useless summer.  This is why I have been looking forward to Halloween: it is THE holiday of autumn!

But in addition to that, two games have recently awakened in me a love for the horror of "urban fantasy":  Shadowrun Returns, and The Secret World.  As I detailed here, those two games have hit a home run with me, and made me reconsider the whole horror genre - a genre I never particularly cared for seeing the low budget "torture porn" tripe coming out of Hollywood these days.   And that is p…

The Catholic Sensibilities of Shadowrun Returns

"Classic cyberpunk characters were marginalized, alienated loners who lived on the edge of society in generally dystopic futures where daily life was impacted by rapid technological change, an ubiquitous datasphere of computerized information, and invasive modification of the human body." – Lawrence Person
It has often been observed that Christ did not associate with the rich and powerful, but rather with the downtrodden, the rejected, the disreputable.  This is no small thing to consider, especially in a world where the glitterati continue to dominate popular culture.  Oh sure, the have-nots are often feted, sometimes even by the glittering class itself, but only ever so briefly.   Very quickly they are ushered off the stage, usually when the celebri tire of the spectacle, and are promptly forgotten until the next round of self-hating guilt bubbles to the surface of the rich and powerful's collective psyche.  Alas, such is the way of the world.

Be that as it may, it is …

Board Game Glory: Ogre

Yes, I am enjoying my time away from PC gaming!  It feels good to get involved with a fresh game genre again.  And I couldn't have picked a better time: board games and miniatures seem to be going through an veritable explosion of creativity, something that is, coincidentally, being fueled through Kickstarter and other crowd-sourced methods that are also popular with the PC gaming crowd (but I think with better results).

To be honest, I have begun to believe that not all of the problems that are plaguing PC gaming is due entirely to shoddy business practices.  Rather, I think video games have hit a brick wall of realistic possibility.  That is, while the technology to make a super-realistic, super-immersive games might now exist, the programming skills to take advantage of that possibility don't exist.  Or, perhaps more accurately, those skills do exist, but the task of programming such monstrously complex games requires more time and money than any game developer has availab…