14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: PS3 Starhawk (Video Game)
In the early days of the PS3, Santa Monica studios created a multiplayer only title called Warhawk. It was a fun game with big maps, a few beefy chunks of dlc thrown in, and a devoted multiplayer. Devoted to the point that even years later it was still one of the most played games on the PSN. This group naturally left the entry bar set incredibly high to new comers months or even years late to the party, however, now that the sequel is here, even those who didn't play the beta will be on pretty square footing with the most battle hardened warriors of Warhawk fame.
The single player campaign serves as little more than a really long and well rounded tutorial for the online game. It goes over the basics of what buildings are good for what situation, which weapons are more important, and the best areas to call in your oribital gear from. You see, in the world of Starhawk, your team has an oribital station that (granted you have enough of the easily earned rift energy) will drop whole buildings, garages, turrets, shield generators, walls, and other goodies for you and your team to use. Knowing how to best utilize these impressive structures will ensure your victory online and off line. When you are not tinkering with the impressive 'Build' part of the 'Build and Battle' system, you will be wholly engrossed in the battle portion. The fighting in Starhawk is actually pretty basic compared to most games in terms of being a 3rd person run and gun game, however, with the ability to mount several different kinds of vehicles (tanks, speeder bikes, jeeps with turrets, and the obviously macross inspired Hawks) and to take over automatted turrets for bringing down those vehicles or just blasting them with rocket launchers or fixing your gear with tool kits or laying mines (phew!).....You get the idea. The combat is rather simple on the surface, but there is so much action going on and so much versatility as your teams turn a barren and large map into a massive industrial complex of death and war that it is almost staggering, but it never feels overwhelming.
The combat for online consists of 16 vs 16 player teams and runs the gauntlet with the usual gameplay types. Capture the Flag and Zones are probably two of the better recommended types as they show off the "Build and Battle" system far more than your deathmatch gametypes do.
There is a constant sense of adrenaline surging through you even as you accomplish the most basic of tasks, because your doom could be fast approaching in a mechanized suit that feels no remorse, or maybe your enemy will just summon a building on top of you or respawn on to you through a drop pod falling through the sky.
As with its predecessor there are no clearly superior weapons or vehicles. There is a good sense of balance here. Sure the Hawks can pepper you with rockets and fly at stupid speeds across the map, however, they are essentially made of glass and there are so many weapons that can take them out in one or two hits with a homing ability, the pilots are scared to tears when flying in your air zone. The tanks can take a good deal of damage and dish it out, but the are slow and easy target for grenade tosses and rocket blasts, the speeder bikes are very agile and can't be locked onto, but you have no offense with them and they fall apart easier than the hawks do, and the jeeps rely on a secondary person to have an affordable offense. Walking around the map without a vehicle makes you slow, makes you vulnerable, but it gives access to a massive arsenal of destruction and makes you a force to be reckoned with in your own right.
Balance is acheieved here, strategy for building placement ensures a fresh feeling round every time, and Santa Monica studios has a history of keeping the fanbase for their games happy with updates and great dlc down the road.
The only down side is the single player campaign feels like a missed oppurtunity, however, the multiplayer is probably one of the best on any console in many years. Starhawk took risks with its formula, but it gambled big and won as far as I am concerned. -1 for the story campaign, but you would be foolish to pass the title up if you are an online shooter fan. Be advised though, picking it up used will require a purchase of a PSN pass ($10) to play it online.
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Initial post: May 27, 2012 3:07:51 AM PDT
SCE Santa Monica didn't make Starhawk FYI. LightBox Interactive made Starhawk. Also Warhawk was made by Incognito Entertainment, with SCE Santa Monica helping out.
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