Mech series revived after five years is getting skewered for adding a pay-to-win cash shop

Hawken Reborn
(Image credit: 505 Games)

Five years since its servers were taken offline, the free-to-play mech FPS series Hawken is back with a new entry, but it's getting a lot of hate for adding what seems like a fairly predatory pay-to-win cash shop.

That's far from the only complaint about Hawken Reborn I'm hearing while scanning the web for reviews. Both critics and Steam users seem generally unpleased with the revival, with some of the most frequent complaints being the myriad bugs and performance issues, repetitive gameplay, and of course, that darned cash shop.

People hate cash shops, and for good reason. At best, they're places where you can go to spend real-life money on useless cosmetics, and at worst, and what appears to be the case with Hawken Reborn, they're designed to encourage you to get through the game simply by throwing your wallet at it. Reviewers also note that the price of a single bundle of premium currency is just under what it costs to buy a mech, meaning you would need to buy two bundles and then have a bunch left over that you can only use to buy more stuff.

As it stands, of the 995 reviews on Steam, a whopping 777 are negative. "They killed hawken and then they use its corpse to make a new game, which really isnt hawken," reads one particularly scathing comment.

Another big problem folks seem to be having with Hawken Reborn is that, at least in its current state in Early Access, it's a single-player PvE game only, whereas the series is really better known for PvP. That fact compounds the microtransaction issue, as cash shops and microtransactions are usually only found in multiplayer games. As PC Gamer points out, the cash shop was up and running before developer and publisher 505 Games even managed to add customizable controls, which is undoubtedly not a good look.

"This is Hawken in mech models and name only," reads another negative Steam review. "The art style is completely different (and worse), the gunplay and movement is completely different (and worse), and it's already planning to lean extremely hard on monetization! It's shallower than a kiddie pool in the middle of the desert." Oof.

To be completely fair, Hawken Reborn is still an Early Access title, and one fresh out of the oven at that. There's still plenty of time before launch to sort out the cash shop and address other community feedback, but this certainly makes for a rough start for the mech series' long-awaited return.

Looking for something good to play? Don't miss our roundup of the best games of 2023 so far.

Jordan Gerblick

After scoring a degree in English from ASU, I worked as a copy editor while freelancing for places like SFX Magazine, Screen Rant, Game Revolution, and MMORPG on the side. Now, as GamesRadar's west coast Staff Writer, I'm responsible for managing the site's western regional executive branch, AKA my apartment, and writing about whatever horror game I'm too afraid to finish.