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C Blogs of 09/10/13 + Wrenchisms


Oh stompy robots, why do you torture me so?

So Hawken got really good while nobody was watching. I wrote it off as a lost cause when I played it months ago. But after hearing some positive buzz about it, I decided to give it a second chance. I've spent some time with Hawken over the past couple of weeks, and I don't mind telling you I was glad I did.

They've made a lot of improvements to the game since I stopped paying attention. New mechs and balance tweaks have added a lot of depth and variety to the gameplay. Dynamic game types like the "Siege" maps have come a long way - pitting two teams against each other in a race to fuel their sides massive flying-battle-carrier to bombard the enemy base, while at the same time they wrestle for control of a vital anti-air artillery piece to take down the enemies ship; It's chaotic, fun, and very cinematic. I get chills every time those air-raid sirens go off. And the game looks great, scaling well even on my modest PC. I have most of the graphical bells and whistles turned on and I still rock a decent frame rate, a far cry from the potato-spud level of performance I've been getting out of MWO and a few other games lately.

Speaking of MWO, coming off that abusive relationship, Hawken's F2P hooks are refreshingly light. The grind isn't terribly bad, you can buy a new mech with only a few hours of gameplay so you're encouraged to experiment around and grow your garage. If you just can't wait and want to buy a mech with real dollars, the price is decent, around $5 a stompy bot. Maybe that doesn't sound great, but when MWO wants you to pony up anywhere between $15-$35 real cash dollars for a fancy robit, Hawken's price point looks mighty fine. Garage space is unlimited, they don't try to get you on any character slots or anything, and the customization options are cheap and snazzy. I was able to get a nice paint job for my medic-bot just using the handful of points that came free when I opened a beta account months ago.

So I was very excited to hear about the new Ascension patch! A massive update to the game delivering a ton of new content. New maps, new mechs, tweaks all over the place, and even better optimization. It sounded like I joined in at just the right time!

Sadly, no.

After delaying the patch for a week, and offering a stress test weekend of the new content (which was fantastic), the patch that was supposed to go live on Monday has been stuck in limbo. The game has been down for over 30 hours at the time I'm writing this. A very contrite dev post on the forum broke the bad news that something went wrong with the patch and it needs to be delayed AGAIN, with more details coming sometime in the afternoon.

I feel bad for the guys at Adhesive Games. They have a lot riding on this update. It's no secret that Hawken hasn't performed as well as they expected, and Ascension is supposed to be big turn around point that saves them.

Bad patches and expectation shortfalls seem to be the plight of any stompy robot game I touch these days. Hopefully AC: V-Day will be a smoother experience. And hey, we've always got Titanfall to look forward to.

* - Otherwise known as "can I still get hipster cred for liking Deadly Premonition?" You sure can buddy, you sure can.

* - You should be excited to kill a bulldozer with a flashlight, YOU SHOULD BE.

A - You know, a Darkwing Duck game would be pretty rad.

A - Zerocrossing isn't at all excited about the new generation. I guess that's a fair position, but I think there is also a lot to look forward to. Dismissing all the possibilities of the Xbox One and PS4 as "prettier graphics" is a bit short sighted.

A - Tetris is deep.

A - You can never go home, the answer is no, and wishing for it only makes it bleed.

S - The Germans continue to be crazy about how they censor things, some small part of me still thinks those Generals look cooler all cyberpunked up.

A - Press kits are going to press kit. From what I understand from people in the industry, this kind of stunt gets tiresome after awhile. There is only so much desk space for poorly made hype merch.

M - As always, AS ALWAYS, hell is other people.

I - What a tease with his short little intro...

R - "IT'S SO PRETTY!!!" - the subtext of most reviews about Journey. Still wish I had a PS3 to give this one a try.

T - Handy little PSA for all the PC Mass Effect players out there! Get them good looking textures!

R - Wandering the Mohave never goes out of style.

? - I guess there TheGrinWeeper is so meta-aware that even saying "spoiler alert" at the start of a review or blog will cause him to instantly work out all the possible plot twists, dooming his enjoyment as much as stating them outright. M'kay?


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About CblogRecapsone of us since 11:27 PM on 07.02.2008

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