As some of you may be aware, Starhawk has had a closed beta running for a few weeks now and fortunately for us at GodisaGeek.com we have had a chance to play this eagerly anticipated title. Having played the frankly excellent Warhawk previously, this reviewer was very excited to get his hands on the next title in the series, albeit a beta version. For those of you who have never heard of Starhawk, the game is set in the future and humans have begun to colonize other planets, the events of the game take place in a distant colony known as the Frontier which was home to a massive battle after an event known as the Rush.
The Rush occurred when all of the rift energy miners (or Rifters) mined for the valuable rift energy, the power source now used by humans for their every day purposes. This rift energy is incredibly powerful and transformed a lot of miners into mutants which are commonly known as Out. These became extremely protective of the rift energy and will gladly kill anyone who attempts to harvest it. So begins a series of massive battles between the Rifters and the Outcasts, all set on Frontier as well as up in space around the planet!
The beta doesn’t have any of the story mode in it, but it has the multiplayer functions for you to play. First of all, in the options you can set a series of different things like preferred faction (Rifter or Outcast) or even how you fly a hawk. The two online modes available to you through the beta are Capture the Flag and Team Deathmatch. You have two locations where you can use these modes, one in a place called the Acid Sea which is a rocky area surrounded by (yes you guessed it) a perilous acid ocean and the second map available to you is called Space, which is a massive space station above the planet Frontier, and falling off the map will have you burning through the atmosphere of the planet to your death.
In terms of gameplay, Starhawk can be described as a third person shooter with RTS elements to it. When in the game, you can collect rift energy by either standing next to a dispenser in your spawn area (which takes a long time) or you can explore the map for barrels which contain a decent amount of rift energy. The more rift energy you have allows you to build many items all over the map, whether it be a simple wall, an auto turret to defend your area, to a jet pack dispenser, ammo bunkers, sniper towers, landing pads and massive beam turrets. All of these allow you to attack/defend against the enemy not only at your home base but anywhere on the map, which can make for some interesting battles!
The maps available on the beta are tagged as small maps but to be honest these are absolutely huge, and I cannot wait to see what the developer’s definition of “large” is! To get around these spacious maps, you have a series of vehicles such as a jet pack for your character, up to a Razorback, which is a kind of off-road all terrain vehicle. All of these vehicles require you to build a dispenser to allow you to access them. You’ll be thankful to hear that the Hawk vehicles are available as well by first building a landing pad, then, on entering the Hawk, you can either have it as a bi-ped Mech or by pressing the circle button you can take off and fly around the map gunning down your foes. You can also collect extra weapons for your Hawk which are scattered around the map, then you can rain hell down on your enemies whether they be on foot or in their Razorbacks or Hawks.
Having played this a fair bit over the recent weeks, Starhawk is a very interesting and fun title to play, although it can take a while to get around the maps if you don’t have some form of transportation, however, with a little patience and ingenuity, you’ll be driving/flying in no time. The multiplayer modes can have 32 player online battles with a variety of different structures to build and a bucket load of weapons at your disposal to destroy your enemies with. It plays very well for a third person shooter and its RTS elements give it that extra dimension when playing. This separates it from all the other third person shooters out there. Graphically it looks pretty good, though there were some rough edges to it but as this is a beta you can imagine that these will more than likely be cleared up by the time this game is released.
So far, Starhawk is brilliant fun to play and a great multiplayer experience to boot. The future prospect of a campaign mode, even bigger maps, more things to build combined with even more multiplayer modes makes Starhawk look like a very promising title indeed and it will be one to watch for 2012. Make sure you keep a “Hawk”-eye on GodisaGeek for the future review.
Starhawk will be released as an exclusive for PlayStation 3 at a date to be confirmed in 2012.