WarHawk Reader Review
Back when the Sixaxis was announced for Playstation 3 Warhawk was one of the games shown off to give gamers a chance to see how the controller could be utilized. The games single-player campaign was scraped some months later and now the game has finally arrived on store shelves and as downloadable content via the Playstation Store. Is the bang worth your buck or should you be spending your PS3 online days back on Resistance?
You�ll begin the game in a bit of disarray. Since there is no single-player campaign there is no time to become accustomed to the controls and learn how the game plays. You'll be thrown in at the deep end and will have to learn the ropes fast if you want to survive in the fast paced world of Warhawk. Trust me when I say that you will die a lot when you begin playing. So a tutorial would have been nice just to get you on your feet.
Once you've got to grips with the game it really starts to shine. The variety of different styles of play enhances the gameplay, and all the aspects are enjoyable. You'll begin each game on foot equipped with only a pistol, but there are many other weapons available for you to pick up and begin popping heads with. None of them are over exquisite as you'll be faced with the norm; machine guns, rocket launchers, flamethrowers etc. All of them behave as you would expect so on-foot combat is very basic. This just emphasises the games vehicular combat. Which ever respawn point you chose there will always be some type of vehicle nearby. Whether it be a jeep (with various type of gun turret attached), a tank or the stand-out aircraft.
All of the vehicles handle well. The jeep is fast and can carry up-to three players; a driver, a passenger and a gunner, much like the Warthogs on Halo. They are a blast to drive and very easy to control, and being a gunner is a blast (no pun intended). The tank is what you would expect; a slow but powerful vehicle that can dish out the damage as well as take it. They can hold up-to three players just like the jeep, and when driving around the huge maps with a couple of mates in tow you feel very powerful and it�s a lot of fun.
Although the ground vehicles are very fun you'll be spending most of your time in the air. There are two types of aircraft, depending on which side of the warring factions you are on. The Eucadian forces pilot the Warhawks whilst the Chernovan's use an aircraft called the Nemesis. Both control the same, so the only difference it the visual look of them. There are two types of flight; one obviously being general flight, allowing you to fly around the maps at high speeds and perform all types of air combat manoeuvres. The other is a helicopter type of hover mode. Using L2 and R2 allows you to hover up and down, and you can also move forwards and backwards. This makes it easy to attempt to pick off ground targets and can also be used to allow easy missile-lock on other aircraft. It's a great feature and means you don�t have to make continuous loops just to attack a ground target.
The aircraft handle brilliantly with either the Sixaxis control scheme or the more traditional analogue stick use. To control the aircraft with the Sixaxis you simply need to tilt the controller in the direction you want to fly. It takes some getting used to, especially when you're getting picked off by other players, but you'll feel a pro once you've mastered it. Using the analogue sticks are just as good, and overall it's just a great control method that makes Warhawks air combat a joy to take part in.
However there are only five maps available from the start, but downloadable content has been announced so hopefully we won't have to wait too long for some more. Luckily you'll be kept busy on the maps with the various game modes available. You'll probably start with death match or team death match, although it's very hard to find a server playing just the standard death match. This is very much a team game and this is evident with the other game modes; capture the flag and zones. Both are what you would expect with zones having you battle it out to capture and maintain zones on the map. Playing each game mode on only one map changes the way you play each time so it doesn't get stale even if you're playing in the same area over and over again.
The visual style of the maps all differ so no one map feels the same. Whether it be the battle torn red sky's of Eucadia or the luscious green of island outpost, every map brings its own visual flair to the game, and overall the graphics are very polished. The aircraft look great as they flood the sky, and explosions and smoke effects suit the visual style of the game. The water effects are good with the sun reflecting off the waves, and in the sky sun shines throw gaps in the clouds giving the game an epic look. Plus, with all the action going on in a full 32-man game I�ve never experienced any slowdown or tearing. The game runs as smoothly as a penguin on ice�if that makes any sense.
Warhawk is the best online game available right now for the Playstation 3, and for the foreseeable future it looks like staying that way. The lack of a tutorial makes the first few games frustration as you try to get accustomed to the games varies styles of play. Although the level of customisation helps as you can tweak any part of the games control system, right down to the x and y axis on every single vehicle.
I'll admit right now that I've never been a big fan of flying games. Maybe it was the linear mission objectives that bored me to death. I've just never really enjoyed them. But Warhawk is different. I have great fun playing it, on the ground or in the sky. There are no objectives to dull me, only intense, fast-paced flight combat that will last many a month.
With the Playstation 3's lack of big multiplayer games, Warhawk is a must buy. Whether gamers will agree and want to fork out £20 on a multiplayer-only game remains to be seen. But if you do you'll be in for a wild ride of flight combat that can�t be matched by any game on the marker right now.
9 / 10