It’s been a long time coming. First released in 2012 after extended alpha and beta testing, Hawken’s mech-fuelled combat action attracted plenty of attention owing to some highly attractive Unreal Engine 3-powered visuals. However, after two years of support, publisher Meteor Entertainment shut down, leading the game in limbo. Bought up by Reloaded Games, Hawken is now available on PS4 and Xbox One. And the question now is this – just how good is the port, bearing in mind how badly the publisher’s work on turned out?
Well, the good news is that the overall quality of the game is a significant cut above APB’s current shocking state. Visually, Hawken still looks rather attractive – testament to the quality of the art direction from the original development team. And in terms of image quality, there’s very little to separate the PS4 and Xbox One versions of the title: both render at a native 1080p with identical core assets, the same anti-aliasing solution and mirrored effects work. The only dividing line concerns ambient occlusion – PlayStation 4 receives a more refined solution, whereas the Microsoft platform sees some rather heavy black halo effects in certain areas.
The platform parity also extends to some decidedly last-gen looking artefacts. Texture resolution looks relatively low judged by today’s triple-A standards, and UE3’s streaming difficulties – seen at their worst on – also manifest here, with higher resolution artwork sometimes failing to resolve. On top of that is a curious blurriness to the aesthetic: Hawken often looks as though it’s running at a sub-native resolution in motion, despite all pixel counts on both systems returning full HD results. All of these issues in general detract a little from the sheen.