Starhawk Private Beta Hands On

Today’s a funny day. It’s the day after New Year’s Day so everyone’s probably still feeling a bit rough, and in the UK it’s a Bank Holiday. For many it’s the last day before they have to go back to work, and in some ways it feels like a bit of a non-day.

So today we’re trying something a little different. If there’s any news out there we’ll obviously still report on that but today’s features come from you, the community. The first of these is from James Kirk, better known as Death_in_Flamez. He’s been having a look at the Starhawk Private Beta, and has even seen fit to include a handy video.


After one patch and sixteen hot fixes, the Starhawk Private Beta is coming to a close in early January. Yet for us who have been lucky enough to take part, either by a generous Facebook sourced code or otherwise, it’s been one hell of an experience. Even though I didn’t join until after the eighth hot fix, it’s incredible how much has been changed and how amazingly addictive the gameplay has remained.

[videoyoutube]Those who have played Warhawk will be thankful that Starhawk’s gameplay feels familiar when you’re on foot. One major difference however is the removal of the knife from the weapon wheel and its transference onto the industry-standard R3 button. Now, to some this may be a bad decision, as it means the tactical implications of having to switch to the knife are now gone. However, from a not very good Warhawk player’s perspective (i.e. my perspective) this is an absolute god-send. To me re-mapping the knife onto R3 helps to improve the flow of gameplay, and hopefully even the most hard core of Warhawk players will see the light eventually.


The two vehicles in the game, the Razorback and the Hawk, remain loyal to the gameplay of their predecessors though. The Razorback replaces the Jeep, with power slides coming if you keep the brake button firmly held down. Frustratingly, the camera angle whilst in the Razorback (controlled by the right stick) takes ages to snap back to its “normal” position when moved, making driving interesting at times.

The Hawk may present a steep learning curve for some, with no indication of the vehicle’s control scheme for new players. Fortunately, the transformation and robot control scheme are actually quite easy to get to grips with, so it’s only the flight mode that may present challenges for some. There are some slight changes for Warhawk players to get used to, in particular the chaff power-up has now been replaced by recharging chaff activated by the R3 button whilst in flight.

What we must remember is that this is the early Beta stage. As such things like bikes, tanks and the infamous pistol are not even present or mentioned. From information on the matchmaking screen it looks like the final game will feature four modes; Capture the Flag, Team Deathmatch, Deathmatch and Zones (A territory control game mode). As of now (Version 1.1.6) there are two game modes available, Team Deathmatch and Capture the Flag, to be played across two maps; ‘Acid Sea’ and ‘Space’. Both maps, in the style of Warhawk, are completely symmetrical but both give off a beautiful dark sci-fi atmosphere with the graphics overhaul very obvious to me.

Of course the biggest addition to the game is the Build and Battle system, something I found doesn’t come across well in text. Fortunately, I’ve been able to provide you with this handy dandy video of me taking a look at the new system, and explaining exactly how it fits into the rest of the game.

The best thing about Starhawk it manages to mix a good, fun gameplay with a strong teamwork mechanic, just like Warhawk managed. Even at this stage I can see this as a possible Game of the Year contender and I am thoroughly looking forward to getting into the Public Beta stage, where those who picked up Uncharted 3 new and Playstation Plus subscribers will get to take a crack at the highly anticipated title.



  1. Last day of the private beta is today :(

    • Is it? Oh, I should really of played more of it…

  2. Everyone in the private beta is automatically in the public beta without having to reply on website give-aways

  3. *rely

    • Good news, thanks! I didn’t play enough either due to my Internet slowing to a crawl last month. It’s fine now though, just in time for going back to work!

      • Just remember NOT to delete the actual date. You require that otherwise you need a new code :L So yeh NO DELETE ANYTHING

      • Oh right, so just leave it installed?

      • Exactly :)

      • Great news, thanks for the update

  4. Sounds good fun. Only played a little of Warhawk so there is some interest from me into Starhawk. Looking forward to the public Beta then :)

  5. Not sure when the pubic beta will start though…..Dylan has said “soon” but that is all

  6. In the beta, and it’s ace!!!

    • My main issue is when you fail to join a game you have to be thrown back to the reasonably long main menu screen

      • Is there still a quick join option?

      • @Jak
        Couldn’t agree more. I really like the look of the main menu, but it gets proper tedious having to wait after repeatedly getting kicked from games.

  7. Interesting read, looking forward to the public beta. I haven’t played Warhawk, but from what I’ve seen of Starhawk it’s a game I think I’ll like very much.

  8. no 4 player split screen…*sulks*

    • Split screen is being gradually fazed out this generation, it seems :(

      • It’s the sad, sad truth. It’s like developers doesn’t belive gamers can have real life friends or something. It sometimes makes me wish it was the N64/PS1 era again, when all games had split screen and hefty manuals. My guess is it’s a case of lazy devs, budget cuts and the online phenomenon.

      • The manuals I only miss for nostalgia, but I can understand why they’re not their for some games (although complex games like Mass Effect, Fallout etc. should have them, and more unique games like Mirror’s Edge should too) but split screen gaming, or the loss of it, is my single biggest problem with this generation.

        But why’s it not in Starhawk? It was present in Warhawk…

      • you have just given me an idea. I too am somewhat angered by the lack of split screen in most games this gen. Manuals are now awful. I would always enjoy reading through them before playing a game, but there is only a handful of pages in them now there is no point. The smell of a new manual is something I need when buying a game :P

      • What! This is shocking news, spilt-screen was one of the things that made Warhawk truly great.

      • Is it possible that it’s in the full game, just not in the beta?
        I hope so.

      • Beta is single player, full game will be 2 player split screen :-(

        warhawk is still our goto-game for 4 player fun. Am worried this release will reduce the amount off players on the already dwindling servers.

        With big tvs now the norm 4 player split screen should be more common!

  9. Great article, sounds fantastic. I can’t wait till the public beta.

  10. It’s the last day!!! *Matt Runs and locks himself in room!*

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