Saturday, July 9, 2016

HAWKEN + Founder's Bundle (PS4)

I have wanted to play this game for so long. I took notice of it when it came out on the PC years back, and was completely crushed when I figured out it was going to be a PC exclusive at that time. Seeing it come out as a free-to-play game on the PS4 this year though was exciting for me. In saying that I realize some of you may be questioning the choice of the developer to adapt the F2P console model, but from what I've experienced, and seen it is a quality game where the paid for content does not detract from the experience at all. Sure you'll be without the bobbles, and finer customization options if you choose not to pay for the paid in-game currency, but you can still unlock the mechs, and still enjoy them in their entirety without the superficial add-ons. Gameplay is definitely king in this situation, and it really shows. One thing the game has going for it beyond all the offered extras is it's post-apocalyptic environmental design. That, and a well thought out mech design. The developer doesn't get too deep with the mech play, but instead makes it easy to manage so that players can enjoy multiplayer modes like team death match without hassle. Being an online only multiplayer experience it certainly compliments "HAWKEN", and in more ways than one.

HAWKEN to me is hands down one of the finer F2P PSN offerings that I've ever had the privilege of playing. The finest above that being "Destiny of Spirits", and only because the developer of that game gifted people some of the paid for currency every once in a while. Perhaps the HAWKEN devs could do the same at some point? ...

Regardless of the paid for aesthetics/currency HAWKEN is solid from the main menu to the customization menus, and even into the gameplay itself. You have a guided VR trainer available from the get-go to properly learn the ropes of gameplay as well as three main multiplayer modes (Team Deathmatch, Death Match, Missile Assault), and two co-op modes (Co-Op Battle Bots & ...) for enjoying the game with your PSN pals. The multiplayer modes that are included free of cost play out much like any other team based FPS shooters. The only difference in this case is that you are piloting a mech with a primary, and secondary weapon at your command instead of the traditional soldier or heroic character. A mech that also has assist items, and innate capabilities (shields, repair bots ...). Each, and every mech in the game ultimately has the ability to speed up, strafe, and spin. They can also fly, and hover so long as the fuel gauge is not empty. Speaking of the fuel gauge the developer has made it so that fuel is automatically refillable when your mech is stationary. Thus negating the need to worry about said energy source too much. The only thing your really have to worry about in "HAWKEN" is the mech's armor gauge, but should you be able to distance yourself from trouble you can summon a repair bot (if your chosen mech has one), and regain full armor.

In the way of combat the modes are pretty much all strategic cover inclusive scenarios with points, kills, and assists in mind. You'll find varying ground levels, and various structures meant to allow you to sneak up on and hide from approaching opponents. The targets do differ in some of the modes, but for the most part you'll be taking out other mechs with your weaponry. As with any game of the competitive sort your efforts are made easier through a customizable, and identifying player colors (Blue = Teammate, Yellow = Neutral, Red = Enemy). This helps you differentiate friend from foe when out on the battlefield. Also at your disposal are end game taunts that are shown through holographic images, or mech gestures whenever you opt to use them in a won match. The former holo-taunts being a refillable option through continued gameplay earnings.

Aside from combat you can spend time, and currency in the game's garage menu system. In order to unlock things in the garage, or from the market menu you'll need to use one of two currencies. A soft currency (blue) which is earned in-game, and a hard currency (red) which you have to pay for through the PSN "Market" listing. While not all customization options are locked behind a paywall you will find that a majority of them are. Said custom items come in the form of cockpit bobble-heads, and dashboard fixtures of the comical sort among other things. You'll also find mech parts (top, middle, bottom), and mech paint skins among the offerings. Even the out of game items such as player avatars will cost you the hard currency. What won't cost you paid currency though are the unlockable mechs that are showed on both a branching tree diagram, and a grid point of view. Sure you can buy them with the hard currency, but you'll also find the option to use soft currency should you have enough. Some items that are usually hard currency specific will sometimes be available for purchase through the soft currency option as well. Just know that these items are few, and far between.

Founder's Bundle ...

I think the question on most of your minds at this point in my review is whether or not the "Founder's Bundle" is worth the asking price. While I'd usually disagree with said asking price ($39.99) since the limited time launch DLC (one week availability) mostly includes expendable items I can say it does give you something worthwhile in the form of one, or two exclusive mechs. It even unlocks a couple other mechs for you from the mech tree/grid. Along with the mech perks comes currency in both forms, 50 taunt refills, and some exclusive holo-taunts (5 I believe?). There's no doubt in my mind that the exclusive mechs, and paid currency will be costly on the PSN store, and it is that very fact that brings me to the conclusion you'd be getting what you paid for, but perhaps at a slight discount in comparison to store price listings. As such I feel this type of thing will only appeal to hardcore fans of the game, especially those looking to make the experience more personal. The exclusive mech/s will definitely set you apart from other players as will whatever you choose to buy with the 6,000+ blue currency, and the 1,000+ red currency. Honestly though I could not see myself paying up for something like this. I love the game, but the idea of having to pay for currency in order to buy superficial items really does not interest me. I'd have preferred to have at least had the option to unlock the same paid items using earned currency even if it was at a much higher earned currency price. As I said before though the game can stand on it's own two mechanized legs without the added bits and bobbles. It's simply a matter of preference, and dedication to the game.

The Verdict ...

As far as the base game is concerned I can back this game all day. I enjoyed my time online with it even though there was some lag going on at times. The game looks highly polished for an indie, and to have it available for free is good. I strongly suggest you download it now, and start playing if you haven't already ...

For those of you concerned about the in-game currencies just know that you don't have to buy the extra add-ons to enjoy the game at it's fullest. Most, if not all of the paid for items are cosmetic in nature. As far as I can tell you can unlock all of the non-exclusive mechs with the blue earned currency. This alone should be good news. The fact that you can upgrade the mechs' equipped items with the same earned currency should also be good news to hear. I've noticed during my playthrough that a single win in TDM will usually earn you about 1,000 blue currencies, so it's not like you'll be doing some serious grinding to unlock the mechs. I think the cheapest mechs sell for 5,000 blue currencies while the more pricey ones are in the tens of thousands of the same currency. 

Anyways ... that is my assessment of "HAWKEN", and the limited time "Founder's Bundle". I hope you enjoyed reading my OPINIONS.

The Founder’s Bundle includes the following:

•         Early access to a fully upgraded G2-Charge mech with an exclusive skin
•         The Vanguard heavy mech
•         50 consumables and holo taunts
•         1,275 MC (hard currency) for buying additional mechs
•         5,000 HC (soft currency) for upgrading player’s favorite mechs

Still don't see myself paying $39.99 for all of that.

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