Up until now, Starhawk footage and screens haven’t shown much in the way of space warfare. Everything has been set in a planetscape that you've probably seen in a million other games. But today at Gamescom, Lightbox Interactive president, Dylan Jobe, revealed the starry skies which will see intergalactic dogfights. And it already looks superb. Phew, we resisted the temptation to use 'out of this world' as a pun-tastic closer there. Oh.
Anyway, the space station multiplayer map is a belter. We went hands-on in a 6 vs 6 battle and the outcome was victory. Not just for us and our mad gaming skills but the whole feel of Starhawk in general, which has a real super-shiny look about things now.
Handling the ship is far easier than in Warhawk. For starters, simply tap X and move the left stick either side and it will perform a missile evading barrel-roll. Pull the stick back and you'll leave pursuing forces slamming into the meteors that make up the deadly battleground. The best part of our hands on is when we notice we can drop buildings on the fly, literally. We swoop in low to our overrun base in a Capture The Flag game and skillfull drop a tower into the mix. Not only does this provide our allies with a much needed ladder to safety, but the drop crushes two enemies. Bosh! To do this you hold triangle to bring up the inventory of options and then select whichever building/vehicle you can afford. The currency here is rift energy and the more you kill and destroy, the more you get. Simple.
The on-foot action feels as frantic as ever, but now the added mix of building as you plough through the enemy makes for some serious RTS stylings, which all fits in seamlessly. Even stomping around in the Starhawks - which now turn into mechs - is great fun. Lightbox have recently added a stomp move so you can squish the enemy under metallic foot as well as use the chaingun and missiles that the flight version provides too.
Punchier weapons such as the bizarre looking sniper rifle, that looks like a tuning fork, makes for some seriously satisfying gunplay. And of course, jumping into the back of your buddy’s jeep as you race to unleash justice on your foes is still a riot of laughs.
We also learned more about Starhawk's single player mode too. The whole mood of the game is like Red Dead Redemption in space. Sort of. The soundtrack is full of Western music, and the rush to harvest rift energy is not too dissimilar to the oil and gold rushes from days of old. Emmett Graves - the lead hero - was also given a bit more backstory today. He was exposed to raw rift energy and as such, he's part mutant, which isn't too bad when you consider his brother, Logan, is full mutant and leader of the Outcasts. Cue a story leading Emmett and Logan to go head to head.
Then there's Starhawk's mooted community options. Apps for both Android and iOS devices will allow you to check leaderboards and other details throughout the Starhawk universe. You'll be able to chat to your mates on other servers while you play and there'll be a full co-op mode for those of you that like to go into battle with someone else to soak up the bullets. It's all set to be a revelation for multiplayer options.
Last but not least, Dylan Jobe told us that any griefers (read: assholes who try to spoil the game) can and will have their building permits revoked. So if some idiot is constantly building walls and trapping his team, then you can complain about them. If they score lots of negative feedback then they can still play the game but their powers to build will be suspended. HA!
August 17, 2011