Written by Twisted Ideas
Starhawk is the Spiritual successor to Warhawk that was released by Sony in 2007. Like it’s predecessor it is a third person shooter where you can utilize both land and air vehicles in 32 multiplayer combat. The early access public beta for PS Plus user was released recently and I got the chance to play. Is Starhawk able to stand along the likes of Call of Duty and Battlefield?
What makes Starhawk unique for third person shooters is it’s real time strategy elements.. Immediately after starting the match you have the ability to build structures. Each structure has a specific purpose whether it be to provide vehicles, offence, defence or support. You can build structures anywhere provided the space and flat enough terrain is available. Anything you build can also be destroyed. Resources are required to build. You can gather resources at your base, in barrels found on the map or destroying structures.
Each time you spawn you can deploy your pod in territory you control. Your base is your starting territory but you can build pod beacons to expand your spawn points. Pods can be used to kill enemies as they are incoming. There is an indicator when there is an incoming pod but it is not always possible to avoid.
The vehicles available in the beta are the Razorback, the Hawk and the jet pack. The Razorback is a combat jeep used to drive on the map and can carry up to three player. The Hawk is a combat mech able to fight on the ground and transform into a jet and take flight. The jet pack is an equip-able item that allows players to hover. The structures can deploy as many vehicles as you need but they cost resources. Players can shoot while in the passenger seats of the Razorback, in both land and flight mode of the Hawk and while hovering with the jet pack.
The shooting in Starhawk has an arcade feel. Players can absorb a lot of damage and the movement and aiming is fast and smooth. You have an array of weapons can find in certain buildings, on the map or off enemies. You also start off with three grenades. You can sprint indefinitely and have a melee attack. Jumping from great heights will not harm you but will immobilize you temporarily. The
The beta only has two modes, Capture the Flag and Team Death Match on two maps. The beta only supports 16 player multi player but the full game will support 32. It is possible that smaller maps like the ones in the beta can only have 16 players. When you create a match you can choose the game type, the map, the score limit and the time limit. There is a match maker that will automatically put you in a game mode of your choice or you can go to the game list and find active games. During a game you are able to go to the home screen and find or create a match without having to leave the current game first.
I have not played Warhawk nor was I aware of the new mechanics of the game when I entered the beta. I had no idea what I was doing. The game gave me no instruction and I started my first match mid-way through. I did not know how to deploy vehicles even that I could build structures. I took the game slow and tested out the controls and figured out the basics. I originally thought that vehicles where the key to victory but what I learned is that structure placement, controlling an area and resource gathering are even more important. I did find in a few matches but teamwork is essential in this game. You don’t want 8 people all trying to build something while nobody is collecting resources. When your team doesn’t have a sense of unity then it becomes very frustrating.
From what I played, Starhawk is a good game. The RTS elements work great and the game is smooth with little lag. It may not be on my personal list right now because shooters aren’t my thing but Starhawk has a lot of potential to become a hit. Starhawk is set to release May 8, 2012