When I first came to the PlayStation 3, I did so a few years after the console’s launch. It wasn’t until the machine started packing several enticing experiences that I was willing and able to pony up the necessary scratch to make the purchase.
When I did, however, one of the first games I snagged was Warhawk. Warhawk was a stripped down, third-person, ground and vehicle multiplayer experience. For what it was, and for what little I paid to get it, I loved the game.
Starhawk, made by the newly founded LightBox Interactive, is the spiritual successor to one of the first great multiplayer experiences for the PlayStation 3.
Single player, shmingle player…
Listen here, if you came to the dinner table that is Starhawk for a brilliant single player warm up, please reconsider your purchase. The single player effort here, quite honestly, stands as nothing more than pure training and filler.
The characters are boring, the plot line is exceptionally basic and the missions themselves serve as nothing more than moments to teach players how to X, Y and Z. The thing about that? They aren’t even trying to conceal that fact.
Except in marketing. And I suppose that’s where I find my biggest problem with this game. Sony and LightBox Interactive (the devs) were both touting this title as capable of delivering a succinct, well told story. In fact, I remember being hyped up by those claims after reading this article (“Starhawk: It’s Got a Story, Baby“) on the PlayStation Blog.
My response? Starhawk: it’s got a mediocre training mode, baby.
The multiplayer, big surprise, is where it’s at.
Take that feeling you experienced when you heard about how not so awesome the single player experience is, take that and flip it on its head for the multiplayer arm of this package. If you own a PlayStation 3 and you’re looking for a game to satiate that quest for a great competitive/cooperative online experience, Starhawk is a great solution.
The on foot combat is decent here, but the money comes from piloting the starhawks (think mechs that can either fly or battle on the ground) themselves and placing structures. Everything feels big, powerful and makes you feel like you’re earning kills and victories over opponents. It’s very rewarding in the sense that it constantly delivers a strong feeling of accomplishment.
The maps are well made, the weaponry is tight and the vehicles control well.
If you build it, they will succumb.
Just as the game is about fighting on the ground and in vehicles, Starhawk is about building and fortifying your base. Players need resources, rift energy, in order to place bunkers, armories, vehicle bases and turrets in required places.
It’s all live and instant, and you’ll be tasked with setting up your defenses throughout the entirety of online matches. When you have enough energy, you’ll open up the build radial and call in whatever you like. Then, almost immediately, that structure or object drops in from orbit with a great big bang and becomes effective.
What results is a game that feels like an action real-time strategy title. There’s shooting, capturing, killing and mech piloting, but there’s also strategic defense and structure selection. It works really, really well.
Should you pick this up?
If you’re a gamer who loves to take battles to the Internet, Starhawk is almost a must buy for PS3 owners. The single player effort isn’t very enticing, but the multiplayer component is well worth the price of entry.
We purchased a copy of Starhawk for the PlayStation 3 with company funds. We completed the quick single player mode in around four hours. We had the multiplayer mode up in our grills for around nine hours before starting this review.