Beta Impressions:

There's something wrong with Hawken, and it's difficult to pin down.

The game has mechs (or giant robots, however you want to see it) but they don't move quite right. Sometimes they have friction, sometimes they float. The game has gigantic guns, but they don't sound or feel like you're firing them. There were moments where I wasn't sure if any of my weapons were actually working even though I was holding down both mouse buttons. A disconnect between the player and the physicality of the world can work wonders, it did for the MechWarrior series, but when your game so closely resembles a standard shooter there are certain expectations.

The levels feel cluttered and their immense scale detracts from the robots themselves. It's possible I haven't seen enough levels, but it seems intentional. Adhesive Games has obviously tried very hard to differentiate its product from the classic BattleTech deluge. The over-mechanized world is slick and visually rich, but doesn't always serve as the best play field.

That said, Hawken has its heart in the right place. It's fast paced, and quite unforgiving combat breaths life into the weird constructs that you throw around the levels. The limited dodge and simplified weapons system make it resemble a heavy Halo more than an FASA Title. The gameplay boils down to quick bursts and clever conservation. Most importantly you constantly feel vulnerable.

The real money/fake money combination that works so well in League of Legends suits the upgrade system and, provided they don't lock out too much content, it should produce a rewarding advancement track. I'm defiantly going to keep my eye on this as it develops, and pop in for its instantly satisfying Team Death Matches.

Did I mention the concept art is freaking beautiful?