Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Review: Warhawk

Incognito Entertainment


Also burning the DLC oil is PS3-exclusive Warhawk, one of only two PS3 titles available as both a download and retail product. It’s also a reboot of an earlier series, although the name is pretty much the only thing it has in common with the original PlayStation version.

From its release, Warhawk was a brilliant game for those with overflowing PSN friends lists, and as it’s decidedly multiplayer-only, not much fun at all for players without broadband. (Unless, of course, you have that recurring dream where you’re the last person left alive on a deserted island that just happens to be well-stocked with planes, tanks and ammunition.)

As it stands, though, it’s a solid multiplayer game straight out of the box, depending on the speed of your broadband connection. It allows for 32-player online matches, and four players can use the same PS3 console on split-screen mode for non-ranked matches, and few experiences compare to flying around an island controlling planes with a SixAxis’ motion sensor. (Alternate control schemes are available for those unimpressed with the imprecise nature of motion controls.)

Updated, however, Warhawk is a shining example of what multiplayer console games can be, given enough development time and continued support after shipping. April saw update 1.3, which included a rebalanced mode for players who preferred not to use vehicles, new weapons, additional (free) customisations for planes and troops, and new chat modes, including cross-team chat. Updates 1.4 and 1.5, due later this year, promise new game modes, in-game music, and support for Sony’s nascent Trophies.

If the free updates aren’t enough for you, there are also two expansion packs available for download through the PlayStation store for less than twenty bucks each, which offer new maps and vehicles. Operation: Broken Mirror and Omega Dawn aren’t interoperable, sadly, but the decision to monetise these packs means that the free software updates for the core game will keep coming, at least until Warhawk 2 rolls around.

[This review first appeared in Critic magazine.]

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