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Not bad for 9 guys
Jarrod
Brisbane, Australia
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March 14, 2011 - 12:26 am
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http://www.kotaku.com.au/2011/.....ndie-game/

 

I love me some big robots, and this looks like it will be pretty good – amazing, actually, considering it's an indie offering.

 

Indie's official site is at http://www.hawkengame.com/blog/

A man goes to knowledge as he goes to war, wide awake, with fear, with respect, and with absolute assurance. – The Teachings of Don Juan

Jakkar
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March 15, 2011 - 11:21 pm
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I've listened to the trailer's music more times than I can recall since RPS posted it last week... The game doesn't excite me, though. Beautiful environmental design, but meaningless as a simple sculpture-arena for big robots to grind through. Ultimately, this looks like Armoured Core without the customisation, several years late.

I think I'm being a grumpy idealist again. Curses.

Hand me the happy-narcotics!

Jarrod
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March 16, 2011 - 10:30 pm
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Find your strengths and stick to them, I say, Jakkar!

 

Yes, story-wise etc... well there isn't any.  But it looks very nice, which is what utlimately turned me on.  If it's successful, hopefully we'll see some good story-telling worked in, and a single player mode!

 

I've been intrigued by Armored Core, but haven't bought one yet... are the games satisfying?

A man goes to knowledge as he goes to war, wide awake, with fear, with respect, and with absolute assurance. – The Teachings of Don Juan

Jakkar
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March 16, 2011 - 11:56 pm
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Hrmm. I haven't played the original AC, nor the more recent versions – solely AC2 and AC2: Another Age on the PS2.

2 and AA are examples of those wonderful games in the vein of Syndicate Wars, Uplink and Jagged Alliance 2 that depict the game's interface as a computer operating-system. You use the Nerves Concorde OS to access your automated garage, your emails, your options menu, the marketplace, the arena rankings and to deploy to the mission of your choice from a small selection.

You have a small degree of freedom in this regard, at any time you can fight in the arena OR accept a mission, and most of the missions are optional, eventually being revoked from your inbox if not completed. Each mission is presented as an audio-visual presentation delivered by email from agent representatives of different corporations and groups, and while the voice-acting can be.. strange, at times, they're acted with enough subtlety to really make you think, trying to gauge the honesty of a speaker and read between the lines before accepting the task – as it will cost you money to engage in battle on their behalf, and a failed mission can ruin your finances, demanding a win in the arena to get back on top. This is a game you can actually lose simply by running out of money. I sometimes wish Deus Ex had had more 'sim' to it this way.

Certain plot bottlenecks lock you to one required mission to continue exposing the storyline and progressing things. Story and setting are competent to very good – it is as far from the intensely Japanese Gundam styles as one could hope. The mechs are strictly war-machines operated by dedicated mercenaries, assembled in great factories and maintained by massive teams of techs. They're also colossal, akin to the scale of The Transformers.

Actual gameplay is strictly focused on the mechs – that is to say that the maps are huge but very low detail and with minimal player-interaction – everything is 100% focused on the mech units themselves, the combat involves nothing but rapid maneuvering and fairly frantic combat, and some degree of exploration. It's -extremely- challenging in places, largely because of a cruel decision made by the developers, one I adore, to make the mechs very difficult to control. I realised as I grew up that this frustrating but appealing game was not simply poorly designed – it was actually designed to operate not like a flexible and bouncy third person shooter but as the operation of a massive vehicle. Operating an Armoured Core is more like driving a tank or a gunboat than maneuvering a human character, particularly with regard to camera controls.

Combat is enjoyably deep – plain destruction of your foe is a matter of grinding down their thousands of armour-points, but the hundreds-a thousand systems and millions of potential combinations for parts make every battle unique. An enemy using a colossal shoulder-mounted cannon will by necessity be using very slow legs to support the weight – and can only carry so much ammunition – if you've studied the parts and recognise your foe's loadout you could easily exploit this by using a fast mech and choosing a cover-heavy arena to simply draw fire, dodge it and exhaust their ammunition supply, then move in for the kill at close range. Others may have poor scanner systems due to a cheap head design, or a slow lock-on computer for their missiles. Many subtle nuances to learn.

In a mission, you're unlikely to have information on the foe you'll face, encouraging a self-reliant, varied Jack of All Trades design to avoid exposing any obvious weaknesses – whereas for the arena, each foe is a hand-made, distinct individual personality with a backstory, unique AI programming influencing habits and aggressiveness and a sweet paintjob. You will despise some of them and feel sorry for taking down others. Some, you'll take great pleasure in forcefully overheating with a flamethrower, paralysing their entire system while they try to cool down and eviscerating the machine at your leisure.

And every penny you spend on ammunition and self-repairs is deducted from your account, so every shot matters, everything is a significant decision on the battlefield or in the arena.

If you enjoy sims, giant robots, custom-crafted characters and mysterious sci-fi dystopias, I think you'll find them satisfying. I guess I find Hawken just looks a bit under-ambitious, even for an indie. I hope otherwise =)

 

Edit: Gaaah I always seem to post such huge walls of text - seriously, it's not as bad as it looks! This forum has crazy line-spacing, makes a paragraph look like a verbal monolith...

Jarrod
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March 17, 2011 - 10:42 pm
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Hehe - thanks for the explanation.  I've played some of the Mech Warrior/Assault games (even the original), which were good, but it's hard to recapture the love of the original.

 

How customizable are the mechs?  Can you build your own from the ground up?  That's what I've always wanted to do, rather than just have a couple of variations of mechs a-la Mech Assault.

A man goes to knowledge as he goes to war, wide awake, with fear, with respect, and with absolute assurance. – The Teachings of Don Juan

Jakkar
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March 18, 2011 - 5:50 am
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Exactly that, Jarrod - you choose every single component. From memory there's;

Legs/Base (many individual models in many types, from reverse-joint 'chicken' legs, to heavy bipedal, to quadrupeds, antigravity and tank tracks).

Core (your chest, containing variable sockets for smaller modular items).

Head, defining many minor items such as an optional inbuilt scanner device providing your minimap with foe tracking abilities, the capacity of your FCS targetting system, the gender of your computer operator's voice and so forth.

Arms, which can also simply be mounted guns, removing your ability to hold the following two categories in exchange for massively powerful automatic cannons and similar.

Right Hand Weapon - a firearm anything from a slug pistol the size of a car to a colossal sniper cannon longer than a freight train carriage - along with the inevitable rocket launchers, flamethrowers, energy weapons and so forth.

Left Hand Item - traditionally this will be one of a variety of energy blades, or an energy shield - one or the other, but a variety of options for either.

Left and Right shoulders - Anything from a missile rack the size of an office block to twin chainguns, to an extra ammunition stock or an external scanner, and more.

Radiator, Generator  - fairly obvious, but quite vital when it comes to powering a high grade energy sword or maintaining low temperatures in a heavy duty AC in a desert environment.

FCS - Targetting computer can make a radical difference to the way you use your interface to lock targets for your homing missiles, if you've chosen to take them along - the better the FCS in general the faster you can lock moving targets and the wider or taller the range in which you can do so - but with this comes cost and energy usage and certain downsides depending upon the item.

I think I'm leaving some out. There's an internal slot for decoys, chaff launchers and similar, as well as the ability to attach countermeasures like laser-based missile defense systems.

All of these can be custom painted individually or as a whole, though using varied colour sliders rather than hand-painting. You can also use a very detailed Pixel Art system to create your own personal logo. Every Arena Fighter has one conveying his personality or beliefs, beautifully crafted.

A key point to recognise is that these aren't like 'levelling up' - it's wholly a realistic sim in design, everything has upsides and downsides - and at that, not in a gamish 'balance' sense but simply because it makes sense. If you want to carry a heavy cannon you'll need the legs to support the weight - to use those legs you'll need a powerful generator, and your movement speed will be lumbering and slow, perhaps necessitating that you swap out other parts in favour of heavier armour due to your reduced capacity to dodge enemy fire. Consequently a single change may encourage an absolute redesign of your entire AC before you go into battle. I hope you're as crazy as I am and thus able to enjoy that =D *goes back to meticulously arranging his troops along a captured trench in Men of War's Russian Campaign.*

Jarrod
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March 21, 2011 - 10:18 pm
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Yeah, sounds good actually...  I'll have to see what affordable Armoured Cores they have in the stores for me to pick up.  Thanks for the detailed explanations [Image Can Not Be Found]

A man goes to knowledge as he goes to war, wide awake, with fear, with respect, and with absolute assurance. – The Teachings of Don Juan

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Ernest
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March 26, 2011 - 10:29 pm
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I played a lot of the Battletech games way back in the late 80s.  My favorite was a strategy game called Battletech The Crescent Hawk's Inception.  (No idea why I still remember that title).  I think there was a sequel, too: The Crescent Hawk's Revenge maybe? 

They were great fun, but the FPS games (there were quite a few) were tough!  Maybe b/c they were so complicated.  I had a big ol' Thrustmaster joystick.  It had, like, 50 buttons or something.  I barely knew how to use it.  What a great old beast that was!

Jarrod
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March 26, 2011 - 11:40 pm
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haha, just used the keyboard for my first battletech games back in the day.  I'm pretty sure the ol' spacebar was 'fire', although you had to make sure you had the weapon you wanted to use already selected.

 

Was always fun shooting off the 'heads' of the other 'mechs [Image Can Not Be Found]

A man goes to knowledge as he goes to war, wide awake, with fear, with respect, and with absolute assurance. – The Teachings of Don Juan

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