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 There are some slight changes for Warhawk players to get used to, in particular the chaff power-up has now been replaced by recharging chaff activated by the R3 button whilst in flight.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.