I attended a very fun event last week. While I normally don’t have much in mind about the game, after testing it out at the event, I decided that I should definitely give it a chance. I’m talking about the game HAWKED. I’ll get into the details in a bit, but to put it simply, it’s kind of like a TPS version of League of Legends, even if it’s not exactly that. You can read about my early access experience in HAWKED below.
HAWKED Early Access Preview
Imagine this. You are Indiana Jones and you want to plunder treasures on an island. But beware, you are not the only one. Other bandits have the same goal and they arrive on the island at the same time as you. Of course, you have to get to the treasure before them, but your rivals aren’t your only trouble. The natives of the island are also waiting to protect their treasure. But none of them are sweet creatures like Charmander from Pokémon. They are all bloodthirsty, armed creatures.
By the way, as a footnote, HAWKED is published by My.Games, which we know from games like Warface and Conqueror’s Blade. On November 30th, the game will be available for free and public early access on Steam and you can add it to your wishlist here.
As in many productions, in HAWKED we start by choosing our character. Although there are many different characters, they are basically just cosmetic differences and are no different from each other. However, players can also customize them if they want, such as hairstyle, color, or clothing. Although it doesn’t affect the gameplay, it can affect your enthusiasm for playing.
After choosing our character, we need to go to Exile Island where our story will take place, but there is one more step before that: Fevriâlem. This is where we get involved in the game before Sürgünada. Actually, it’s more like a waiting area before entering the match. Here you can shop and build your team if you want. I should mention right away that you need to be friends on Steam to enter matches as a team. After giving the start command in Fevriâlem, we start the match after a short wait.
As we said, “we are looters”, “we are bandits”, we have to be true to the essence of this. When we reach the island, we have a slingshot and a sword. As we run towards other looters, we upgrade ourselves with the weapons and power-ups we get from these lizards (called Arakists) and the chests they guard. This way, we’ll be better prepared when we face our opponents.
Our pistol or rifle is not the only weapon we need to take down our opponents. You can also take advantage of the traps around you. For example, there are rotating barrels with knives. If you shoot at the red dot on top of it, it will spin quickly and start damaging those around it. At the beginning of the game, I mistook it for a puzzle and fired at it, only to receive a large wound and die in a short time. Details like this can get on your nerves, but it’s actually fun. Especially when you start using it against your opponents.
You can also use artifacts from a lost civilization that we collected on the island. These artifacts grant passive bonuses, such as the ability to turn into a bush when you bend over, or a sixth sense against nearby enemies. There are currently 18 types of artifacts in the game. You can combine up to three artifacts at a time. And what’s more interesting is that all the artifacts are of various rarity levels or can be upgraded. You can use these artifacts with 16 types of equipment such as boomerangs, openable shields, scout hawks, etc. to customize your character to your liking. You can even sell or destroy equipment and artifacts you don’t like or don’t plan to use in the game’s social space, Fevriâlem. This gives you access to valuable resources to improve your character.
Some chests yielded pistols, while others yielded more powerful weapons like rifles. Since we were playing the game in a group of three, I sometimes heard my friends who opened the crates complaining, “God damn it, this one turned out to be a pistol.” But since there were plenty of crates around, we went to another one and tried our luck again. Eventually you get the more powerful weapon. There is one very important thing to note here, and that is the fact that we are racing against time. Because the opposing team is not idle while you are looking for weapons. If they are a little lucky, they can reach the treasures before you. That’s why, after a while, it made the most sense to take the first weapon we found and try our luck with the chests we would encounter on the way.
By the way, Exile, where the story takes place, is different every time you enter. Sometimes the treasures are near you, sometimes they are far away. For this reason, you have to face each match in different parts of the island. My favorite sections were the ones with plenty of rivers. Because we could get on our surfboard, which was speeding over the water, and reach the opponent’s area faster, and if we got stuck, we could jump on our board and quickly get away from the area. Components like this add pleasure to the game.
I think we have looked at the general mechanics of HAWKED enough. We should talk a little bit about the dynamics. Matches last about 15 minutes. This can be a bit shorter depending on the skill or lack of skill of you and your team. When you die in a match, a teammate can resurrect you. However, we couldn’t figure this out early on in the test, so we had some pretty short matches. I’m not going to lie, younger players are more agile in this kind of game, both because of their reflexes and their familiarity with the controls. In the first game or two, I was afraid that my teammates would kick me out of the game.
There are many details to write about HAWKED. I even forgot to write one of them. Let me talk about it briefly. As you progress, you will also encounter puzzles. For example, you have to shoot the fruits of a tree and find the treasure it hides. These are not necessarily puzzles that must be solved. However, since they can give us historical artifacts, they should not be missed. They are not very challenging anyway.
Graphically, the encounters, set in a colorful environment, felt to some extent like immersing us in Marvel’s Thor world. Bright explosions and colorful bullet trails provide a visual show for those who prefer bright colors. Depending on the gear we acquire, you can also get different experiences. The environment of Exile, with its green plains, colorful flowers, and ancient ruins, was technically sound (even for a game that hasn’t even entered early access yet) despite all these details.
Scheduled for full release in 2024, HAWKED will be released for free for PS4, PS5, Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S and PC. But most importantly, players on all these platforms will be able to play together. As we wrote above, you can add the game to your wishlist here, which will be available for free and public early access on Steam on November 30th.