A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Focuses on multiple corporate factions battling against one another to secure control of last resources available on a colonized planet. There's a sentiment of fighting for survival in harsh environment, but it's overshadowed by sense of greed corporations represent.
Positive Role Models
There are no real "good guys," "bad guys." Players take sides piloting their mechs for a corporate faction, all vying to take control of planet's resources for survival, profit.
Ease of Play
Although basic mech controls are fairly straightforward, easy to use, managing various equipment, weapons, load-outs for multitude of mechs, as well as general maintenance of mechs, can be a bit overwhelming for newcomers.
Violence & Scariness
Violence is nonstop, with players' mechs using realistic, futuristic weapons against each other. While there's no blood, gore, there's no shortage of damage, destruction caused by players' actions.
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Products & Purchases
This free-to-play game includes a large variety of content available to purchase. Players don't need to buy items to get the most out of the game, but real money can be spent on everything from new mech models, equipment to exclusive cosmetic options. Also a number of books, comics available set in Hawken universe.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Hawken is a downloadable, free-to-play multiplayer first-person shooter where players fight each other in giant mechs on a distant planet. Players represent soldiers working for corporate interests, vying for control of scarce resources on the planet. There's not much character development outside of this, giving the game no real positive or negative messages. There's a certain level of complexity in crafting and customizing equipment, weapons, and so on for players' mechs. Once you're in the actual cockpit, though, the controls are fairly intuitive. Violence, while not particularly bloody, is nonstop, as the whole point is to eliminate opposing forces, and due to the game's online nature, kids could be exposed to offensive language from other players. The game uses a free-to-play model, offering a variety of cosmetic and gameplay additions to the game via real-money transactions.
Is It Any Good?
This futuristic robot-arena title is fun in doses, but eventually, the decision to either pay for gear or repetitively play for hours for the same item starts to drain the fun out of the game. Now, in video games, you might take the pedal to the metal in the driver's seat of a high-performance sports car one minute, and the next you're doing aerial acrobatics from the cockpit of a fighter jet. But neither of those activities can compare to strapping into the pilot's seat of a massive mechanized war machine, duking it out against your foes in an epic modernized version of Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots. At least, that's the premise behind Hawken, the free-to-play first-person shooter that's made the jump from PC to consoles. While the game makes the transition fairly well, it's still a bit rough around the edges. The real question is whether or not there's enough to keep gamers' interest and help them overlook some of those frayed bits.
On the positive side, there's no shortage of action in the game. Matches are fast-paced, brutally destructive battles that test all your skills as a pilot. Balance is important in Hawken, too, with each model of mech designed with a particular set of strengths and weaknesses. A light mech will never survive taking a heavy mech head-on, but by using your speed and keeping distance, you can chip away at that behemoth until it's ready for the recycle bin. But the free-to-play nature of the game is a bit of a mixed bag. Short of cosmetic additions, there's nothing in the game you buy with real money that you can't eventually unlock in the game. Unfortunately, that means you'll be spending a lot of time grinding in matches to get a good stable of playable options if you're not willing to shell out some extra cash to get access to those new items early. But you'll earn enough in trickles to always at least feel like you're making progress. The game's biggest hurdle is that it's starting to show its age a bit. Although the visuals have a realistic and gritty appeal, they aren't exactly pushing the limits of what consoles are capable of. Still, considering the entry price, Hawken is worth checking out if you're a sci-fi fan looking for a unique shooter experience to play with friends online.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.