GAME NAME: Starhawk
DEVELOPER(S): LightBox Interactive / SCE Santa Monica Studio
PUBLISHER(S): Sony Computer Entertainment
GENRE(S): Third-person shooter / Vehicular combat
RELEASE DATE(S): 11 May 2012
Imagine, if you will, a barren landscape which can be compared to that of a Mad Max movie or even a modern day version of Bravestarr. Starhawk is set in a futuristic wasteland where you are given the task of saving your team, flying across the not-so-vacant realms of space and so much more.
While Starhawk’s story is about as thrilling as an episode of Days of our Lives this doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have its target audience. The 2D cutscenes between missions are simplistic yet elegant enough to keep you glued to your screen.
The primary addition which stands out from its 2007 spiritual successor, Warhawk, is the addition of a single player campaign mode. This game mode builds up your abilities to venture online and do battle the way the game was meant to be played. Unfortunately the campaign, which essentially acts as an online tutorial, is over far too quickly and the tricks of the trade learnt here are quickly forgotten online as you need to adapt your strategies to do battle with far more intelligent life forms.
There are a total of four online game modes, Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, Capture the Flag and Zones. ‘Zones’ is definitely the stand-out mode, requiring various teams to seize different bases in order to build up points. This sounds easy enough but in the heat of combat you are overcome with a sense of urgency and teamwork is key to coming out on top. This is where the vehicular combat shines. You have the freedom to fight up-close one-on-one or try dismembering opponents bit by bit from a distance. The vehicle combat is what makes the online so excellent however it also underlines just how different the campaign mode is to online. In the campaign mode you can easily get about without any assistance for a vehicle but good luck to you if you plan to run solo online. You might as well start writing your epitaph in that case.
Starhawk has a number of unlockable skills. This encourages the player to carry on playing as by default your road to victory is easier said than done. This is overly noticeable with vehicular combat as your various unlocked skills take care of most of your tedious strategies for you. The only issue with this reward system is that rookie players are at a massive disadvantage and will need to level up quickly just to stand a chance.
Starhawk is the online title that PS3 gamers have been waiting for. While not perfect and hosting a forgettable campaign mode the multiplayer makes this game more than worthwhile. The freedom you and your team have is outstanding and while your strategies will be tested over and over again trial and error as never made victory taste this sweet. You are rewarded by the time you invest into the game which in itself is reason enough to spend endless hours working out your next road to triumph, not to mention the 32-player online battles.