The Offense: Know Your Vehicles
The vehicles found in Starhawk are the crux of combat. They can get you from one end of the map to the other a hell of a lot faster than the Heel-toe Express and will offer you some semblance of protection against all the other incoming vehicles. There are 5 types of vehicles that you can spawn through buildings, and each has their own strengths and weaknesses. Knowing what to use when, will be the difference between getting kills and being killed.
The Sidewinder is basically like a speeder bike from Return of the Jedi. It’s fast and nimble and will get you where you want to go in a heartbeat. It can jump as well, allowing you to navigate the terrain of the dusty maps with ease. Another plus is that in CTF modes, the driver can carry the flag while zipping around on it. The downside to the Sidewinder is that it is incredibly weak and offers no firepower whatsoever. It doesn’t take much to render it useless, so while riding it, keep moving until you get where you need to go and then ditch it. To build the Corral which spawns the Sidewinders it will cost you 2 units and then an additional 1 unit to spawn after the initial creation.
The Vulture is a jetpack that allows you to more or less jump into the air rather than actually fly. You have a very limited amount of fuel for one constant jump and will need to land on something to regenerate, which it does quickly. Like the Sidewinder, it is not especially protective, but the bouncing around high above makes it a tougher target to hit. The driver of the Vulture can use any equipped weapons they have in their arsenal, as the Vulture itself doesn’t have anything equipped on it.
Once you have the Vulture jetpack on, it will remain on until you respawn. It even stays on when you enter other vehicles. During CTF matches, be warned that if you grab the flag with the Vulture on, you will not be able to jump, nor will the fuel regenerate. Build the Vulture Station to spawn the Vultures. It will cost you 5 units for the station and 1 unit afterwards to spawn additional jetpacks.
Now we get to the more useful vehicles. The Razorback jeep is a quick vehicle that allows three teammates to travel at a fast rate, with one manning a machine gun turret on the rear. The jeeps can take a fair bit of damage before ending up a smoking heap and are good for getting a small assault force out to the action rather quickly. If you want to change your position in the jeep, hold down X and select a seat. Like the Sidewinder, the Razorback is also versatile when it comes to the rough terrain of the Dust map and can do some pretty sweet jumps. To build a garage that spawns the Razorbacks, it will cost you 2 units and an additional unit to spawn more vehicles.
Ox Heavy Tank
The Ox Heavy Tank is the vehicle that arguable can cause the biggest headache. It is a rolling behemoth that not only has incredible firepower, but also some hefty armor to protect it. The Ox has two types of shells that it can fire: one being a brutal direct shot that can cover a vast distance with pinpoint accuracy, and a mortar type fire that lobs multiple shells high into the air in an arc that come crashing down. The problem with the mortar shells is that they have a dotted line of fire — or aiming path — that can be seen by both teammates and enemies. So knowing where the shells are aimed and where they are going to land isn’t all that much of a mystery, and getting out of the way is pretty easy.
When you have a convoy of Ox tanks rolling out of your base and heading to the enemies, it can be an intimidating sight. The downfall of the tanks is that they are the slowest moving vehicles of the bunch and are not all that maneuverable when it comes to the rocky terrain. They need to stick mainly to roads and paths to get where they need to go without any real issues. To build a bay for the Ox tanks to spawn, it will cost you 10 Units, one of the most expensive structures to build, and an additional 3 units to spawn more vehicles.
The Hawks are arguably the most useful vehicles, but at the same time, they are the hardest to learn to use effectively. Just hopping into a Hawk will get you killed quickly if you haven’t had some practice with them. Hawks, when treated right, are a brutal force on the battlefield, and can take on both vehicles and soldiers alike. To get the most out of your Hawk, figure out the flight controls that work best for you. There are three types, with the Advanced mode giving you the most freedom, but also likely to cause some players to want to vomit in their lap from motion sickness.
Using L2 and R2 at the same time will cause you to turn sharply, a definite must to use when you are engaged in a dog fight with another Hawk. Tapping R2 twice will engage the boost, which is another great maneuver to use when an enemy is on your butt or you are vying with an enemy to get power-ups. Using brakes in your Hawk may sound a little counter-intuitive, but again, it is a necessary skill to learn. In addition to using the sharp turn of L2 and R2, you can also press Up or Down and X to immediately go the opposite direction, usually causing the Hawk that is on your tail to veer off and rethink their attack.
There are many offensive and defensive power-ups the Hawk can use. For the most part, there’s only a couple that you really want to be on the lookout for: The Homing Missiles (the yellow X icon), Flak (the orange icon), and the Swarming Laser (the light purple icon). To use the power-ups, use the D-Pad to select which weapon you want, and hit L1 to fire them. For the homing type, such as Homing Missiles and Swarm Lasers, hold L1 to lock on and release once the target is highlighted. Remember that while using your special weapons you can also keep firing your machine guns with the R1.
The other power-ups that you can snag are Cluster Bombs from the dark green icons, Cloaking from the dark purple eyeball icons, Shields from the light blue icons, Repair from the red icons and Torpedoes from the dark blue icons. Air Mines are obtained from the light green icons, which drops a bunch of floating mines to make life difficult for any Hawk on your tail. Most of these power-ups are just not worth trying to get kills with as they either have poor aiming capabilities, or they just take the time away from using a weapon that could be racking up the kills easier.
When you aren’t terrorizing the skies, you can transform your Hawk and take to the ground in robot form. When you are in this two-legged mode, you can still use the weapon power-ups that you acquired in the air, as well as press R3 to unleash a powerful stomp attack on soldiers that get too close. It's a simple, yet effective attack. Keep in mind that Hawks aren’t exceptionally well armored, nor can you move all that quickly on two legs, so if you are on the ground, be ready to take off at any moment when the big guns come out. To build a launch pad for the Hawks to spawn, it will cost you 6 units, and an additional 2 units to spawn more vehicles.