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Starhawk Review.

Warhawk, Starhawk’s spiritual predecessor came in 2007 to some fanfare at the time but skip forward almost 5 years later and the game is revered as a cult game for the PS3. Using the same template for Warhawk but now set in space with notable gameplay differences and a single player campaign to boot as well as a co-operative horde mode, the game is bursting with content.

However the strength of the game lies in its epic multiplayer games but it still has a single player campaign though it comes a distant second on what is the priority. The campaign follows a extra-terrestrial miner called Emnett and how he has to deal with quotas while fighting off the antagonists of the game called “scabs” led by his brother Logan who was turned into one and became leader. How he became leader you may ask? The resource the game relies on is called rift energy which the scabs don’t harvest but are obsessed with enough to make them far away from humanity and can turn humans into mindless shooting scabs.

A total of 10 missions played out in various locations in space and on other planets in various scenarios. The missions played on foot are generally quite bland and the player basically deals with hordes of enemies incoming to deal with players protecting their quota. However, the missions played in space and when the player is forced to use the flying hawks, that is when the game’s single player is at its best. However, the single player serves as a tutorial set of missions for the big sell of the game which is undoubtedly the multiplayer.

Taking strong influence from Warhawk, the mulitplayer battles take place across large landscapes and players can use jeeps, small hover bikes reminiscent of  something from Star Wars, tanks and flying hawks that can transform into bipedal walking tanks. It is as brilliant as it sounds. The sight of a hawk transforming and storming into an enemy base but then transforming into a tall walking tank is outstanding visually. The multiplayer has 5 modes to boot; deathmatch, team-deathmatch, zones, capture the flag and prospector in which no one plays. Capture the flag is most often played but each mode is utilised well into each landscape making battles never the same and extremely varied.

Gameplay wise, there is a twist on the standard 3rd person shooting experience. Players in both single and multiplayer can call down structures using the rift energy they have and in doing so gives the game an RTS element to it. Structures such as garages, launch pads, sniper towers and walls just to name a few. Structures if landed on an enemy can kill that enemy though doing so requires quite a large amount of fortune. Players can also spawn into battle via pods crashing into the planet and if landed on an enemy will kill that enemy though again it requires a lot of luck. The shooting is also standard “over the shoulder view” but having the right weapon on foot will make the difference. The assault rifle has a fast rate of fire but its accuracy is awful so using a shotgun or a rocket launcher is much more adequate or melee the opponent is the bust option although connections can influence the melee actions.

Starhawk is superb on the eyes. Okay it is not Uncharted graphically but still the game is busy with action and the sight of dogfights between several hawks is excellent. Each environment brings out the vibrancy in which the game has to offer in distinguishing each landscape in space with various colours of the sky and also how each landscape is shaped for battles although some do remain bland and standard in the 3rd person shooting field. The game is not built on its aesthetic quality yet when the game’s epic extra terrestrial battles come through with hawks soaring in the sky in pursuit of two others it really does capture the imagination and best of all its easy to control when flying.

Starhawk with friends, with strangers online is an essential Playstation 3 experience very much like Warhawk is. It will soon develop cult status in no time whatsoever. There is nothing wrong with the gameplay, the multiplayer experience or on the surface the single player. However, the single player has no powerful meaning in the game. It is used as a tutorial in learning how to use each structure and deal with enemies. It defeats the object of the single player and does not make it bad or shoddy but more or less irrelevant. It begs the question as to why it was included. However it is in there and has some superb moments of  gameplay but like it or not players will be drawn to the multiplayer and on that account, the game is one of the best like Warhawk before it, it is essential and brilliant when hooked up online.

Single player- decent but largely irrelevant when compared to the multiplayer and seems to be the trend in games these days. Nonetheless though, Starhawk is fantastic online and will make Xbox, PC, Wii hell any other platform players envious of this masterpiece of a game. 8/10

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