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Hands On: Starhawk's Single Player Campaign (PS3)

Riding solo.

On Wednesday, I was lucky enough to nip down to Sony HQ. I spent an hour playing the first couple of missions in the Starhawk single player campaign. Will the solo experience match the excellent multi player that many of you have already sampled in the beta?

The game begins with an introduction to the heroes, Emmett Graves and Sydney Cutter, and teases the back story of Emmett’s brother. There also appears to have been a woman in Emmett’s life before he had his little accident and went all glowy. The tale begins as Emmett walks back into her life, ten years since they last spoke.

All of the cut scenes are utterly gorgeous and look like an animated graphic novel rather than CGI – you can see a couple of brief glimpses of these in the singe player trailer. Although the art style resembles a comic, the scenes are fully animated and work superbly within the context of the game.

The animations also tell of the Union who send out prospectors to wild and uncharted planets of the Frontier to fend for themselves and also of the Reavers, who are colonists who have been mutated by Rift energy.

Sorry, I meant Outcast not Reavers. Sod it, who are they trying to kid, it’s Firefly, right down to the ‘Cowboys in space’ theme and the excellent twangy guitar music that strikes up in the quieter moments. There is another quality Starhawk shares with Firefly – it’s brilliant.

The mission begins with Emmett following a local sheriff to an outpost so it’s time to saddle up a Sidewinder speeder bike (fans of coincidences: there is a speeder bike in Star Wars called Starhawk) and put the peddle to the metal and your jaw to the floor. The build I played was still in development but the differences between the first reveal last year and even the multi player beta from a few months back are noticeable.

The bike is fast and so is the frame rate, which is silky smooth. The draw distances are impressive and the graphics are gorgeous – and we are talking Uncharted-style ‘stop on top of a mountain and just admire the view’ gorgeous, not just ‘quite nice’. I could have spent all my time just zooming about on the bike, racing across the sandy plains with a huge planet in the sky.


Speeder bike!
After taking out a few stray Outcast along the way, we reach the Rift that is under attack. A number of waves of enemies attack the outpost and you can gradually build up the defences using the battle and build system. Cutter locates the source of the attacks, an abandoned fuel depot, so it’s time for another trip on the bike to destroy more Outcast.

The map for the first level is large, it took me about a minute at top speed to reach the first outpost and then at least another minute of zooming through rock formations to reach the Outcast base.

The second mission finds Cutter and Emmett in space, defending a huge platform. Here you learn the basics of Starhawk control and, once again, it looks superb. There are a few humorous touches as well, a small cut scene shows two of the workers discussing whether Emmett is an Outcast and later on, when I tired to take the Starhawk inside the building, a polite but haughty computer told me I should consider removing the mech before entering.

Actually, that is something we have not seen in the multi player – you can go inside buildings on the space stations and that means battles will rage inside, outside and in space.

You have probably played the beta so there is little point me going over old ground but there is one thing I will say: that this feels and plays like a single player game, not something that has been cobbled together from bits of the multi player.

It is a full blown solo experience and I would happily pay full price for just the single player campaign, also having the fantastic multi player makes Starhawk one of 2012’s essential purchases.

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19 Comments
  1. Kitch
    Member
    Since: Aug 2008

    I shall repeat my earlier comment. CAN NOT WAIT!

    Comment posted on 27/04/2012 at 16:06.
  2. hazelam
    Member
    Since: Feb 2009

    as the single player is the only way i expect to be playing this, i’m glad to hear it’s a quality experience.

    it’d be nice if they offered a cheaper single player only version, i’d buy that new.

    Comment posted on 27/04/2012 at 16:10.
    • stage1
      Member
      Since: Feb 2012

      Isn’t multiplayer where most of the long-lasting fun is?

      Comment posted on 27/04/2012 at 16:53.
      • hazelam
        Member
        Since: Feb 2009

        i tried the beta, and i didn’t really enjoy it.
        that and my policy of not supporting online passes means i don’t expect to be playing the multiplayer portion of the game.

        i’m not putting the game down or anything.
        it wasn’t a bad game, it seems well done and that, and for people who like that sort of thing, it looks like they’ll enjoy it a lot, but it’s just not really my thing.

        Comment posted on 27/04/2012 at 17:04.
      • stage1
        Member
        Since: Feb 2012

        That’s ok, multiplayer isn’t for everyone and it looks like this game’s single player will be great!

        Comment posted on 27/04/2012 at 18:14.
      • Paranoimia
        Member
        Since: Aug 2008

        That really depends if you consider multi-player to be ‘fun’. I much prefer a decent single-player game to anything online, particularly in shooters. It’s probably mostly because I suck at them, and partly because I’m an unsociable git :-) – but also because of the number of complete a-holes you encounter. But whatever the reason, single-player is what I’m primarily interested in.

        I’d assumed this was going to be multi-player only like it’s predecessor, and so had absolutely zero interest in it. Now that I know otherwise, and that the single-player is decent, I’ll probably pick it up. I *may* dabble in the multi-player, but I wouldn’t put money on it.

        Comment posted on 27/04/2012 at 18:49.
  3. Jakster123x
    Member
    Since: Aug 2011

    Sounds amazing

    Comment posted on 27/04/2012 at 16:18.
  4. Bilbo_bobbins
    Member
    Since: Jun 2009

    not long now, this is sounding better everytime I read about it.

    Comment posted on 27/04/2012 at 16:18.
  5. ProjectJAY
    Member
    Since: Aug 2009

    “…this feels and plays like a single player game, not something that has been cobbled together from bits of the multi player.”

    All I needed to hear. Between this and PlayStation All-Stars, Sony has pretty much booked up my entire year :D

    Comment posted on 27/04/2012 at 16:26.
    • Erroneus
      Wanted "Trophy Hunter" but was too late.
      Since: May 2009

      But..

      “A number of waves of enemies attack the outpost and you can gradually build up the defences using the battle and build system. ”

      That sounds a lot like the Multiplayer, I’m kinda concerned.

      Comment posted on 28/04/2012 at 16:02.
  6. MICKY17
    Member
    Since: Dec 2008

    So good to hear that the SP is up to scratch. I was a little worried as not much had been mentioned about it until recently. This will happily tide me over the summer. Can’t wait till May 11th.

    Comment posted on 27/04/2012 at 16:59.
  7. Nickboss1
    Member
    Since: Mar 2010

    looks like red faction. not a fan.

    Comment posted on 27/04/2012 at 17:41.
  8. Kennykazey
    Member
    Since: Mar 2010

    Shiny.

    Comment posted on 27/04/2012 at 17:48.
  9. Mickey2010
    Member
    Since: Jan 2010

    When is this out? im on my phone and it dont load up most websites!!

    Comment posted on 27/04/2012 at 20:09.
  10. Kitch
    Member
    Since: Aug 2008

    I hope you don’t need to play the single player to get the most out of Multiplayer. It looks good but I’ll take months to finish it. Unless I need it to unlock online stuff. In that case I’ll screen skip and not pay any attention.

    Comment posted on 27/04/2012 at 20:11.

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