STARHAWK Beta impressions

When I first heard about Starhawk back in May 2011, I really didn’t know what to expect. Billed as the spiritual sequel to Warhawk, Sony showed off the game at E3 2011. While I would have loved to have gotten some hands on time with the game, the lines for it were massive. But this past week I had a second chance to play the game.Austin based developer LightBox Interactive (staffed by former members of Incognito Entertainment, developers of Warhawk) had finally opened up the StarHawk Beta for PS+ members and those who bought Uncharted 3 this past Tuesday. So let’s see what all the talk was about for this game.
The best way to describe Starhawk is a third person space western. And rightly so since the whole premise of the game is that you are a part of a group of Outcast working as hired guns due to an accident that left you scarred and the ability to absorb the planet’s natural energy. Since this is a MP Beta and not the singleplayer, I’ll skip over the story and head straight into the MP.

When you boot up the game, it starts off at the main menu. Here is where you can set up personal setting, go into a quickmatch, create a game, jump into a lobby with a game in progress, look at the leader boards and read up on news and any of thee patch updates that where made. The over look of the menus us very sharp simple and straight to the point without over complicating thing. Once the game launches sometime this year, mail, MP Homeworld, campaign, and customization will be active.

As of this writing, the beta comes packed with two mode: capture the flag and team deathmatch, and two maps: Scourge, an island like area surrounded by a sea of acid and Space, which takes place on a docking station on top of an asteroid. These two maps are examples of small areas that players can battle it out on. I personally like the Space map, with its multiple floors and other sections that are on smaller near by asteroids. This really makes for some really great hawk battles since players will most likely block off key points and force a stand off. So I played on this map the most.

To start, Starhawk has the best respawn system that I’ve seen in a while. You’re dropped from the sky in a landing pod. The best part? Being able to control where you land and sometimes landing right on top of one of the opposing team members. Now before you go shooting it out take a few minuets to go over the controls here. Reason being that the game doesn’t show you a control scheme or tells you what button does what:
  • L1 Aim down sights, fires missiles from hawk
  • L2 throws grenade, hawk breaks, reverses jeep
  • D-pad weapon select
  • L analog moves character
  • R analog moves camera
  • R3 melee attach
  • R1 shoots weapon, shoots vehicle mounted gun
  • R2 dash, hawk boost, accelerates jeep
  • X jumpa
  • Circle crouches, transforms hawks from mech to jet
  • Square reloads
  • Triangle pulls up base structures: wall, garage, turret, shield generator, watch tower,  outpost, supply bunker, Vulture station, launch pad and beam turret
  • Square deploys vehicles from their stations, it also destroys structures to refund credits, enters and exits vehicles
  • L stick left/right does a barrel roll, L stick up/down loop de loops
After playing a few round of CTF and TDM, I can say that I am hooked on the gameplay. It takes some time getting used to the controls, but after a few matches you’ll be flying the hawk with ease. So far LighBox has been doing a great job in taking player suggestions and keeping them up to date with any changes that were made. If you haven’t gotten the demo, its up on the PSN Store front right now for download. I can’t wait to see what else Starhawk has to offer when the game releases this year.


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