"This Bird Could Fly?"
It's the future and humans are colonizing planets in the hopes of mining a resource known as Rift Energy. Unfortunately, too much exposure to Rift Energy mutates people and turns them into Outcasts. Enter main character Emmett, who gets exposed to said energy but is able to survive due to a regulator. Throw all of this onto a desert like planet of White Sands, toss in some flying mechs known as Hawks, vehicles, and more, and you've got Starhawk, the ephemeral sequel to Warhawk.
Starhawk is actually a very interesting game where the mechanics are a bit more complex than in other games. It's a third person shooter where you can fly around, create buildings in the middle of battle, and need to shoot all the enemies. The ability to drop buildings onto the battlefield from low orbit, if you can afford to do so, is a pretty interesting concept given the low country, backwater, industrial feel this game has. These buildings are essential in fighting off the Outcasts, as they are what spawn vehicles. While I am a good fan of running in and wading through combat with one's bare hands and whatever melee weapons are present, that's a very bad idea if there are large numbers of enemies around. Such buildings can even spawn the Hawks, which, given part of the name of this game, are one of the most fun features. They can zip around the sky, flying all over the place, or they can land and be lumbering, walking mechs reeking all kinds of destruction across the landscape.
The single-player campaign for this game is exceptionally short. It ranges anywhere from 5 hours to longer, and it teaches you some of the basics you'll use in online play. Every mission, however, more or less tailors what buildings are available to you, so you don't get to see advanced buildings often, which will likely put you at a disadvantage against more experienced online players. Honestly, it puts you at a huge disadvantage. Buildings are much, much, much less effective in online play, as enemies just navigate around them and can avoid all of the deadlier things much more easily. These challenges are enjoyable as with any online game, and Starhawk delivers this more than some others, given that you can play with up to 32 people. Being able to constantly adapt and change on the battlefield is worth the time you'll put in learning the online modes.
Moving from gameplay, this game is absolutely beautiful, ranging from a variety of dazzling landscapes be it in space, on orbital platforms, or desert planets, giving you the feeling of being in an industrialized, distant future. Everywhere you go is nicely colored and amazingly executed. Taking a somewhat bold step, Starhawk feels a bit like a satire that's been done before. The human race wants or needs to expand out into space, and in doing so, they've become monsters. The only one who can save it all in the single-player is a person who is somewhere in between, and that's just how it is. It doesn't make the single-player nor the multiplayer any less enjoyable, but it is something to keep in mind when trying to evaluate the overall package in which this game may be trying to wrap its mechanics.
Overall, Starhawk is a very fun game if you have the time and patience to constantly learn and adapt to the online play. Single-player really just acts like a tutorial for online play, which can be nice for some games, but it feels slapped on in this game, despite how fun it was to play single-player. It's definitely a game that is worth giving a shot, but if you value single-player games over multiplayer-oriented titles, then it likely isn't for you. Keep on flying!
GameDynamo's Score for Starhawk (PS3)
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