PS3 Review: Starhawk

Can Starhawk soar like an eagle?

Starhawk is a mixture of different game ideas, third-person shooting, dogfights in space, mech battles and real-time strategy all rolled into one. The story is a bit thin on the ground with different groups fighting over Rift energy, but it does just enough to get you through the 6-7 hour campaign which puts you from on-the-ground action to doing barrel rolls in space.

When you are on the ground, you can order structures like turrets and towers for making vehicles to drop from orbit to a point you designate, although obviously it won’t fit everywhere…there isn’t a good way to tell why sometimes it won’t fit. The resources you get to pay for the structures come in the form of Rift energy which you gain from killing enemies. There are all different types of ways to play, you can be defending a Rift energy source from invasion, or you can try capturing it with the help of mechs, vehicles and troops.

It’s a very interesting way of playing, although the campaign feels more like an extended tutorial for the multiplayer which is where the meat of the game is. You can play with up-to 32 players online, which makes for some epic battles. There’s also specific missions that can be tackled with 4 players via co-op online or 2 via split-screen. Online is where the fun of Starhawk shines, although customisation isn’t as deep as I would have liked, despite levelling up and getting perks, it’s nothing new.

The controls are pretty solid for the most part, flying is a breeze while shooting isn’t as smooth compared to other shooters, it’s definitely the weakest area which is why I prefer to always be in a vehicle or mech ready to crush those who would dare try and steal my Rift energy. In terms of performance, Starhawk is strong and has a steady framerate. Explosions look nice, but the character models look a bit rough around the edges, however I do like the comic-book style cutscenes and the soundtrack is also very well done.

The Verdict

Starhawk does a nice job in combining different gameplay elements into one experience. Hell, even the flying sections could be a game on its own and while it’s not perfect in the third-person shooting area, the rest of the game is solid and the replay value is off the charts when playing online. Simply put, Starhawk isn’t for everyone…but it should be tried by all anyway.