Presenting Hawken: free multiplayer mech combat in beta mode

It's time to jump in on one of the most impressive mech-based first person shooters to have come along for quite a while – Hawken – released for Beta gameplay for the masses this week. This game is developed by Adhesive Games and published by Meteor Entertainment, designed by Khang Le, Christopher Lalli, and John Park, and based in the Unreal Engine 3 universe. In a nutshell it's a battle game where you're in a giant one-person machine that blows up other machines for fun – simple concept, fabulous execution.

The set of multiplayer modes you're working with here in [free beta mode] is currently set at 4 – two basic modes, a Missle Assult mode and a Siege mode. The first two modes are Deathmatch and Team Deathmatch with experience given based on accomplishments through your battle against either your opponent's team or every single other player in the game. Missle Assult mode has you capturing a set of three missle silos and defending them until they destroy the enemy team's base.

But it's really all about the Siege mode when it comes down to it. This undeniably fantastic bit of gameplay is still in Alpha Mode – that being an alpha mode in a beta game, certainly not guaranteed to have a perfect gameplay experience by any means – but, spoiler, it really is rather top-notch even here in its early public stages. In Seige mode your goal is to collect enemy energy units that will launch a battleship for you that'll move ever-so-gradually toward your enemy's base.

When your ship is launched, you control the anti-air to attack your enemy's ships and protect your own ship until your ship has reached its goal – and the enemy is massacred. This and the rest of the modes all exist in a fantastic set of environments the likes of which we've only otherwise seen in the highest quality first-person-shooters for high-powered PCs in the past. That and Total Recall or Blade Runner – and the detail is surprisingly deep.

NOTE: It should be made clear here that we're using an Intel Core i7 Ivy Bridge NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680M packing Alienware M17x R4 gaming notebook to play this game – we've not yet tested the game with much lesser machines than that.

Gameplay controls are rather standard and extremely responsive – WASD and Shift-hold to dart one way or the other, holding down the space bar makes you take off and fly, and holding down the letter C sits your mech down so your back-up helper bot can fly around and repair your broken bits. Communication between players online seems to be up to par as far as both microphone chat and on-screen type, and we've experienced no noticeable (or otherwise bothersome) lag in any respect and load-times have been, again, surprisingly quick.

If this game as excellent or better than we've seen here in Beta, we're more than pumped up for the final release. Have a peek at the last time we spoke about the producers of this game and see why we're pumped up about their hard-hitting future as well. Get ready to be smashed!