Review | Starhawk
When Warhawk came out in 2007, it was generally well received except for one fact: there was no single player. Starhawk adds in the much needed feature, but does the addition add enough to warrant a purchase?
Unfortunately, the single player mode doesn’t feel like a full story in itself, but more of just a glorified bot challenge mode or a multiplayer training. Enemies will come at you in waves that you have to fend off using your gun and the Build n’ Battle system, which I’ll explain shortly. Then, you run to another area and repeat the same thing.
Don’t get me wrong, there actually is a story here, and it’s like a space-cowboy western, but I can’t remember all of the specifics. You control Emmett as he takes on groups of Outcasts, who are humans that have been mutated by Rift Energy. There’s other elements thrown in to the mix, like getting revenge for your brother and trying to protect people in a town, but it often just falls back to wanting to kill Outcasts before moving on.
The biggest addition to Starhawk over Warhawk is the Build n’ Battle system. The system adds RTS elements to the game. Besides just being a shooter, you can build bunkers with weapons or vehicle spawners or turrets and more. This means you can literally make a base in the middle of nowhere, as long as you have enough Rift Energy (resource) to build it.
However, the biggest thing you’ll probably see built is a Hawk spawner. Hawks are the flying mechs that can transform into robots. The game is at its best when you have a dogfight going on overhead, or robots are laying waste to troops before transforming and flying away, if they don’t get blown up first.
This also shows the biggest downfall of the game, non-vehicular combat. When you’re in a Hawk or even zooming along on the jet bike the game’s a blast. However, the running is slow in the game and guns uninspired. The game just has the standard fare of weapons. Maybe it’s just me, but if we’re supposed to think we’re advance enough to colonize worlds, then why can’t we have thought of some creative weaponry to fend off enemies? The Rift Energy would have offered plenty of options for plasma-type weapons to be possible.
Like I said earlier, the single player mode is just a giant tutorial for multiplayer. The multiplayer has no training mode, it just throws you into the servers to try and see what game you want to play. In fact, the game doesn’t even have a matchmaking option like you’re used to in shooters.
In the matches, games often because stalemates where the first team that scores in CTF or Zones can stay on defense and normally stand a strong chance of winning. I attribute this to the scale of most levels, as death can mean a long trek back if no one is around to spawn on.
The multiplayer also features various skills you can unlock to give passive abilities, such as instantly repairing any vehicle you enter (one of my personal favorites). Players should be prepared to work for these, though. Normally, you have the have enough skill points to purchase them as well as have to unlock a skill by performing a certain thing in game, like getting kills a certain way. This means already skilled players can get an even bigger leg up on novices who may never complete these tasks.
Another thing to note in multiplayer is the building limit. In a 32-player match, teams are limited to 32 buildings. Once a large base is up, this can make building smaller outposts fairly difficulty without first hindering the starting base.
Finally, there’s also a co-op mode that’s similar to Gears of War’s Horde Mode. In fact, it’s most similar to the third game in that tower-defense elements play a bigger role. Just trying to fight them with guns will normally lead to a quick death. However, building turrets up and paths that lead to them will help your team get to easier levels. That, and having a bunker set up will give you a base of operations to fight from.
After reading the review, you may think this game is bad. Let me clarify that, though, this is still a good game. The controls are good and gameplay normally fun, but there’s nothing that really makes the game stand out from other shooters. If you and your friends are trying to find something to play during the summer, give Starhawk a shot. It should tide you over for a while.