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Warhawk - updated impressions

Warhawk comes alive on the larger maps, like Eucadia and Island Outpost, when it can properly flex its long-distance muscles. Play shifts rapidly from sneaking around a ruined town, ducking behind smoldering tires and watching for anyone using the game’s semi-automatic, on-foot targeting system - intelligently utilized to combat the pad’s sluggishness compared to keyboard and mouse - to tossing the Warhawk between islands, evading missiles and searching for crucial flags, cruising over water that, suspiciously, resembles aluminum foil. Graphics are surprisingly vibrant and polished, like a hi-res Freedom Fighters; there isn’t a hint of slowdown, even on cramped, busy worlds, but the really impressive aspect is the rock-solid draw-distance as you take to the skies tackling up to 30 enemy fighters. We can only hope that a larger map selection will be playable than the handful available now.



Much has been made of the Sixaxis control system, which was first unveiled at E3 last year amid a lot of confusion - Sony claims that developer Incognito had access to the tilting technology for longer than the studio itself will admit to - and its integration into Warhawk appears to be an intriguing mix of innovative control and inadequate gimmick - aerial battles become stunt displays with few attacks connecting, while the aerial targeting system barely extending beyond left-thumb floundering. Purists can fly using traditional analog control, pressing Triangle to enter flight mode and, using the right stick, unleashing rolls, loops and vomit-inducing acrobatics to avoid attack. The rest of the buttons correspond well, with acceleration, weaponry and movement more-or-less where you’d expect, aiding our smooth integration into the game - experienced players laughing at our initial incompetence aside, it didn’t take long to get to grips with Warhawk’s absorbing combat.

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