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Gaming Evolution
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Gaming Evolution
Gaming Evolution
Published By: Sony Computer Entertainment
Developed By: LightBox Interactive
Genre: Third-Person Shooter
Players: 1-32
Rated: T for Teen (Blood, Language, Violence)
Release Date: May 8, 2012
Screenshots: Link
Amazon: Buy Now!
Written By: Matthew Prunty








July 8, 2012 - In 2007, gamers were treating a re-imaging of a PSOne Classic by the name of Warhawk. In 2010, the on-screen action was ramped with the release on the online spectacle known as MAG. Two years later, developer LightBox Interactive releases the spiritual successor to Warhawk; Starhawk, and once again we are treated with an experience unlike anything currently on the market. While many third-person shooters have stuck to the tried and true formula that has brought success to countless franchises, Starhawk conforms to nothing and sets out to innovate through original ideas. While striking out on your own doesn’t always guarantee success, LitghtBox Interactive’s Starhawk succeeds where other titles have failed.

There are several high profile titles that are all about the multiplayer experience with a tacked on single-player experience just to help increase sales. For those unfamiliar with Sony’s love of the single-player experience will see Starhawk as one of those titles. While there is a single-player experience included within Starhawk, its inclusions serves a purpose. Since LightBox Interactive’s approach for its third-person shooter is more in-line with RTS (Real Time Strategy) and flying titles than a straight up shooter, including a single-player mode that will ease you into the multiplayer experience is a welcome addition. This very idea may turn some off, but when you actually dive into the game, you find some many redeeming qualities that put this title above the Battlefields and Call of Duty’s of the world.



Within the single-player campaign you control Emmett Graves; who with his brother Logan, harvest right energy; a valuable commodity. During one job, something goes wrong and Emmett is infected by the very Rift energy they were acquiring, while his brother wasn’t so lucky. He’s not the first to be infected by the substance, but he’s one of a few to resists its impulses. He’s not a mindless, violent “Outcast” like the others affected, but he does bare the glowing eyes and scares from being infected. Throughout the single-player campaign, you will be treated to Emmett’s back story and you’ll find out why he’s now a gun-for-hire and why he’s out to rid the world of the “Outcasts”. You can expect the single-player experience to last around 5-7 hours, depending on how you approach the mayhem.


The single-player experience is very satisfying and rewarding in preparing you for the online multiplayer experience. The multiplayer experience is broken down into two modes: co-op and competitive multiplayer. Within the co-op mode, you can relive the onscreen action of the single-player experience with a friend in order to improve your time and effectiveness on the battlefield and simply for bragging rights. However, once you hop into the competitive multiplayer experience, it’s unlike anything you have experienced before. Some people may have a problem with the multiplayer experience utilizing the same tried and true game modes you find in other popular multiplayer games like Call of Duty, Battlefield and the list goes on. You have access to modes like Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, Capture the Flag and Zone. While these modes carry the same name and core fundamentals as other titles, the experience in itself is nothing like any other game out there. These modes are given new life through their tie ins to the gameplay mechanics of Starhawk.



Thanks in part to the Build and Battle system; no multiplayer experience will ever play out the same way… EVER! 32-players take to the battlefield, which consists of massive stretches of barren land, which you can utilize to your advantage in taking out your opponents. Running around simply shooting your opponents to death is still possible in Starhawk, however its one of a few ploys you have at your disposal to come out the winner. You have the ability to “build” an array of structures which can be used for defensive or offensive purposes. You can also summon vehicles via garages and supply depots, which will grant you access to new, more powerful weapons and even give you the upper hand in battle; if only for a few minutes. The cream of the crop when it comes to weaponry is when you summon the launchpad, which gives you access to the Hawk, a mech than can transform into a fighter jet.

A battle in Starhawk can be won and lost on how you properly defend yourself and extend your forces when you are attacking. The biggest culprit of this is the Hawks. When engulf in the single-player experience, you will spend a good amount of time learning how to pilot them and engaging in dogfights. The biggest lesion you will learn with the Hawk is when and how to use them to your advantage on the battlefield, which is key when in multiplayer. Deploy them too early or two late could spell doom for you and your team. Using Hawks to exploit weaknesses in the opponents defenses or simply help launch an offensive attack when your defenses are in order can give you an advantage; even leading you to winning the battle.



Starhawk is a Western set in space, and because of that, it’s hard to grade the quality of the environments. Most of the times the battles are taking place on massive pieces of barren land. However, once you start dropping buildings, garages and launchpads, the decor changes from a desert landscape to a futuristic local. For those familiar with games like Borderlands or Tribes, you will feel right at home. There are indeed battles that will take place in space and those are certainly a site to be seen. No matter how much chaos is going on on-screen, the backdrop space is simply mesmerizing and crazily detailed.

Voice acting is nothing to scoff at as the varying cast of characters all delivers a unique performance than bring life to each character and situations they are involved in. I will admit there are a few characters that seem to fall flat; however they don’t take away from the emotion and connectivity delivered by majority of the cast. The weaponry and vehicles all have a distinctive sound. You can definitely tell the sound team took their cues from notable franchises within the movie and game world to create “that” sound for Starhawk.



Starhawk is one of those games that can and will redefine how we play shooters from this day going forward. Just as Warhawk and MAG did, Starhawk breathes new life into the genre and gives you an experience you have been longing for without even knowing it. With the solid single-player campaign used as a launching pad for additive online multiplayer experience, it’s easily to see that this is the “total package” for online escapades. Developer LightBox Interactive really put their best foot forward with this title and I look forward what will come next for Starhawk and beyond.

9/10


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