Warhawk Reader Review
Warhawk is the multi player only online game from game developers Incognito. It Is a third person shooter with the ability to use jeeps, tanks and the Warhawks (planes). The game supports up to 32 players online and four player split screen with scalable maps depending on the number of players. The game can be bought and download through the Playstation network or on a Blu Ray disc. The retail version comes with a Jabra Headset and is more expensive. To combat the long download times the developers use streaming technology so that you only uncompress and use what you need at that moment. I think this is very good as some of the complaint around the Playstation network at the moment are about long download times.
The game to compare Warhawk to would be EA's battlefield series. They have similar modes and weapons. Whilst that series flourishes on PC but not on consoles Warhawk has taken what has worked and applied that to console gaming and I think that whilst it is not particularly new or original the way Incognito has delivered those elements taken from past games have made Warhawk the best multi player experience on the PS3.
There are five environments in the game each with five maps within them so in all you are getting 2d multi player maps which for a online game is not bad but the developers promise of new content needs to be kept to keep the game fresh. The modes are the standard Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, Capture the Flag and Zones. Each game is finely balanced and very fun to play. The Zones mode is where you capture bases (spawn points). The mode rewards team play and allows people to take up support roles without losing points .
One point to note about Warhawk is that the beta for it seems to have worked because every mode, weapon and vehicle in the game seems to be very finely balanced and whether they can maintain the balance if they add new weapons is to be seen or not in Warhawk there are no dominant weapons with everyone running to get them. This balancing makes for a better playing game and also for the player to seek out different roles such as manning the turrets in bases to see off Warhawks. These players are rewarded with various ribbons and medals and whilst they don't really mean much at the end of the level it is nice to be acknowledged.
The graphics in Warhawk are not going to blow you away. There is a reason¬ for this and this is that the draw distances in Warhawk are massive and you cant have that draw distance and have gears of war level graphics. Having said that the game does feature impressive water and volumetric clouds. Graphics snobs will be disappointed but I think that the graphics have a style to them whether it be the mad max style characters or the bombed out buildings I personally think the whole environment is well designed with good technology backing them up.
Sound design on the new latest generation of consoles has improved dramatically and Warhawk takes advantage of this, to put it simply it sounds great whether it be a plane swooshing past or a rocket exploding next to you it is very impressive.
A major oversight of the developers was the lack of tutorials in the game. If you buy the downloadable version of the game from the Playstation network then you have no manual or instruction and are expected to learn on your own. The way I learnt to play the game was I created a my own server and played on my own until I learnt the controls but I should not have to do this to learn the game. The reason for the lack of tutorials is the hint system that Warhawk employs. The hint system is very good and very in depth but it is context sensitive, meaning that it will tell me how to fly the Warhawk once I'm in it. But there is a problem with this in that like every online multi player game it is very competitive and some will not wait until you have learnt the controls to kill you and starting to learn Warhawk that way is a very daunting place.
One of the major disappointments about Warhawk is that there are some network problems with the game at the moment, and for a online shooter them problems can make or break a game. The problem is that there are some ranked server errors and statistic tracking errors that happens from time to time on the server. However the main problem is that there were not enough ranked servers for everyone to play on, this was slightly rectified by the recent 21st September update which added a lot of official Sony ranked servers. However sometimes I still get the cant connect to server problem but it is less frequent. One of the main suggestions that I have heard which you cannot currently do is queue for servers which has been standard in PC gaming for a while now. The network problems that Warhawk has are in the process of being fixed through updates but I think for such a high profile game on the Sony platform maybe they should have been more ready on the network side of things.
One negative point is that only the account that has bought the game can play the game so for example my brother would have to log onto my account on the ps3 instead of his own to play the game.
The lack of single player in a online multi player game does not bother me as people who will download the game will have access to the Internet and therefore will be able to play online. The developers axed the single player campaign as it was inferior to the multi player component of the game so they shifted resources to create the best multiplayer experience they could without have to dilute the game with single player.
Warhawk has taken elements of the best online action games and refined them into a very good solid game, whilst not original the elements have combined and refined in a way that makes it still seem fresh, I think that it will benefit from the lack of good games on the ps3 at the moment and will generate a good online community. The game could do with some more technical support in the network area but there is a good solid base on which to work on.
9 / 10