VGamingNews

Hawked

26 March, 2024 - 3:41 pm by
About 8 mins to read
Reviewed on: PC

Everyone loves a good treasure hunt, whether it’s in its simplest form of your mum hiding your easter eggs around the garden, or plundering bountiful booty after battling a mighty kraken, as you retrieve Athena’s Fortune (shout out to Sea of Thieves for letting me live out my pirate-based dreams). It’s not just the thrill of the hunt; it’s the adventure, the mystery, the peril, and most importantly, the shiny things we collect along the way.

So, when a game comes along that tries to combine the aspects of a tasty treasure hunt, whilst also being a competitive shooter, I had to give it a try. Hawked is a free to play, PvPvE third-person extraction shooter – a genre of game I’ve never really heard of before but seems to be growing in popularity. Two big examples when thinking about it would be Escape from Tarkov and Deep Rock Galactic. The premise essentially being: jump into the arena, collect a bunch of valuable shite, and get the hell out without dying. Developed by MY.GAMES and self-published alongside The Four Winds Entertainment, Hawked is a game that has potential, but in its current state, doesn’t quite feel that X marks the spot.

This is an abridged version of my video review, which we’ve embedded below.

Welcome to X-Isle, a dangerous and excellently named island, home to a lost civilization whose temples, ruins, and treasures still cover the land. Along comes GRAIL, a fun and friendly mega-corporation who are particularly interested in said treasure. The trouble is, so are a faction of monsters called the Disciples, and this is where you come in. As part of a ragtag bunch called Renegades, you’re essentially a hired gun whose main task is to retrieve as many artefacts and relics as you can. Character customisation is simple with few options to pick, but oddly vast in the colours you can apply to your skin and hair. Fun if you’re making weird and wacky, distinct looking models, but annoying if you’re aiming for a particular colour and are mentally challenged when it comes to colour saturation and contrast.


At A Glance

Hawked

Positives

+ TREASURE! Fresh take for an extraction shooter
+ Aesthetically pleasing on a flourishing island
+ Great abilities and movement variation

Negatives  

– Little in game content/ranking system, for now
– Can feel repetitive with simple puzzles, for now
– Poor matchmaking
– Can feel glitchy, room for optimisation

Overall

6 /10

Played On

PC

Also Available On

Xbox Series X|S

Find out about our scoring policy here.


As a concept it’s great, PvP along with PvE invites different play styles by either allowing the player to solve puzzles to get the treasure and escape, or allow someone else to do all the hard work and camp the extraction point. In reality it’s not so great, as the matchmaking in my experience has been poor. I’ll either be on an island with only 3 players, where it all feels rather empty and they play like bots, or with 20 players that are all Elmer Fudd, and it’s wabbit season.

There is a voice chat feature clearly intended to not only coordinate fights with your team, but to also solve the puzzles together. Again, an interesting feature, except the puzzles are really straightforward and simple to do alone, and there currently isn’t that much variation to them. When you are in a solo queue, you can also easily get ganked if you’re not paying attention to your little radio telling you when someone is close by.

It was a rollercoaster of emotions playing Hawked, which in fairness mostly came from my wife adding to the intensity of the situation. Grabbing the artefact which puts the ‘X’ on your back on the map, led to her running around the living room yelling “Go go! Get to the extraction point!”. Killing a player and swiping their artefact meant I got the nod of approval and a cup of tea. Getting killed by someone and losing the artefact, however, meant I got laughed at incessantly, being made fun of for getting killed by a 7-year-old boy. It all really plays havoc with one’s self esteem.

Visually, Hawked is rather appealing; you immediately get that Fortnite meets Borderlands aesthetic which I quite like. Everything feels quirky and it doesn’t take itself too seriously, which also comes across in some of its dialogue. Speaking to characters can feel somewhat jarring though, as the camera shifts quite abruptly between each line of text. Each time you enter X-Isle, the environment is rich with foliage, water features, structures, and traps. Quick, fluid movement is encouraged, with a hoverboard to traverse over water, grappling hooks and ropes to ascend areas, ziplines to descend and pole vaulting to get across large gaps. This not only makes for fun traversal, but also interesting gun fights.

You spend your time between games in the GRAIL submarine called the Riftwake, which serves as your Hub. Here you can buy, sell, and upgrade gear. Familiarise yourself with the mods and weapons from the island, and practise with each of them at the firing range. Customise your loadout and character cosmetics. And last and most certainly least, check out GRAIL+ and the Renegade Pass, which cater as the subscription service for what I feel is a crazy sum of cash for what you get. The artefacts you retrieve from each run aren’t just for show, each can be used to provide special and unique abilities which you can swap and upgrade on your loadout. These offer movement, offensive and defensive enhancements.

I spent my time in X-Isle on the Xbox Series X. It did occasionally feel glitchy, there were points I had to reload the game due to quests not completing. Depending on your platform, I’ve also read servers can be an issue so simply getting any gametime at all can be difficult. Full cross-play is supported, but cross progression is not.

At the end of the day, I think there is a lot of potential here. Hawked isn’t a polished game in its current state, but there are some interesting mechanics and features to be built upon. There isn’t much in the way of in-game content or ranking system currently, but again this seems to be in the pipeline looking at the roadmap for this year, found on their website. Both story and content look to be released in parts as comic book issues, which I really like the concept of.

Hey, it’s free to play – download it and give it a go. Enjoyable alone and with friends, it’s a game you’ll jump in and out of as we watch this space. Right now it feels like it’s held back by its poor matchmaking and repetitive nature, due to its lack of content and variation. But in any case, it will be worth waiting to see what’s in store in the next issue of ‘GRAIL and the Renegades’.

In the interest of full disclosure, VGamingNews was provided with a copy of the game in order to conduct this review.


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Our Rating
6