Versions Available: PS3
The sequel to the Playstation 3 exclusive Warhawk is upon us and it brings more mech action. But this time the game is tooled up with a single player campaign too.
Starhawk is set in a universe where a substance called Rift energy is mined for its fuel and it becomes almost like gold, which leads to the inevitable Western-style comparisons, frontier town gold mining, bandits and bars, but also throws in strange alien forces at work.
Yes, this is Firefly territory. Anyone who fancies the idea of a Western in space will get on fine with the single player story, the tale of Emmett Graves, infected with the living Rift energy and torn between making a living helping the non-infected, and the growing call of the infected, with a dark secret that begins to bubble to the surface as the game progresses.
While it’s a great inclusion in the game, it’s fair to say that the single player story isn’t quite as well written, deep or well paced as other single player focused games and its role is really to show you the ropes as it tries to entertain you with a tale of brothers and choosing sides. But it’s also far from just a training mission, the single player element well worth playing on its own grounds and the settings and enemy AI make it a great campaign, while also preparing you for things to come when you finally go online.
Once you do go online, though, Starhawk begins to show you its true colours. While the mechs are still its main claim to fame, there’s another ace hiding up Starhawk’s sleeve; the builder ability. Every single player in the game (that’s up to an impressive 32 players) can call on walls, turrets, watchtowers, vehicle bays and useful supply depots anywhere on the map. This comes at a cost. Rift energy is constantly thrown out of the mine in the centre of your base and if you’re in its surrounding area your energy bar will grow. Each item is worth a certain amount of energy, so once you’ve retrieved enough you can go anywhere on the map and plant your chosen item.
While this sounds a little too flexible, in the heat of battle it requires skill, timing and tactics. Plant a supply depot in the middle of the map and the enemy will start to rain bullets down on you. The buildings are all destructible and will eventually fall, even if they do offer respite and useful ammo while they stand. Once your Rift energy is depleted you will need to get back to base in order to collect more.