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Starhawk Beta hands on

Being the spiritual successor to the cult PS3 hit Warhawk, the underlying hype train is starting to build with a worthy game bearing the name (well part of) “hawk.” Having got my code in December thanks to an overly generous and supportive Facebook group before the beta was made public, I hopped straight into some online action. Even at this early stage, it is clear that this is different to Warhawk and very different. Notable differences include;

-It is set in space (or on a different planet other than one that vaguely resembles Earth).

-There is strategy involved with an RTS “build your own base” mechanic.

-Tighter controls mean that it is a very focused shooter and much more harder to learn than Warhawk was.

-You can spawn out of the sky in  spawn pods and timed right, you can spawn into the action getting a jump on an opponent.

From what I have played of the beta which has closed it’s shutters for its ever nearing May release was nothing short of a hardcore 3rd person experience. It plays similarly to Gears Of War in the way you move and shoot but other than that, this is a unique experience and the only game that has come close to it is ironically Warhawk.

Jumping in to games was swift. Picking your mode quickly filters you to a game with a spot just for you. TDM and CTF look to be the modes what will get the most love. Once in game, you are greeted with a map choosing where you can spawn anywhere in your base. Once spawned from the stars, you have a wealth of tactical options. Do you build a sniper tower and snipe incoming enemies? Do you build a structure housing the starhawks? Do you build a garage for jeeps and try to rush the enemy?

The plethora of ways to play is overwhelming and daunting at first meaning that death will occur a lot…as it did in Warhawk. Close quarter fighting is a matter of skill. Health is quite substantial meaning that either you need to have a good weapon of choice to get the edge or play it right. Melee is particularly effective also. Starhawk is also much more realised. It places you firmly in a war. There are loud explosions, the sound of pods crashing into the surface, the sound of a cluster of missiles homing in on a starhawk- they could have named this Star Wars-space wars and it would have been suited.

This is not Star Wars though, this is Starhawk and what was good about Warhawk has been improved or tightened further. Although totally different in nature, Starhawk will be measured against Warhawk and this beta is good evidence that Starhawk could be one of the years best games. Keep your eyes on this one…..

Starhawk is out on the Playstation 3 May 8th.

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