Warhawk for the PS3

Warhawk for the Playstation 3 came in for a landing about two weeks ago. Entirely a multiplayer experience, Warhawk offers non-stop action packed combat in a whole new way. My Warhawk experience began back when the last phase of beta was wrapping up. I launched into the game for the first time and my first thought was “wow, these graphics are sharp!”. When I stopped gawking at the graphics I was quickly swept off my feet with the sound quality. In our game room we have surround sound and for the first time on a game I actually realized it works!

For those who did not listen to our first impressions in episode 3 of our podcast let me start by giving you a brief overview. Warhawk is action third person shooter with air, vehicle, and ground combat. There are several weapons you can pick up randomly throughout the map in the form of power-ups for both air and ground. The ground combat is your standard third person shooter semi-fragfest. There’s definitely an element of strategy (especially on some game modes like zones) but it’s not a tactical shooter by any means. The air combat is what really sets Warhawk apart from the competition. When you get into a plane for the first time you’re going to be in for a shock. The controls have a slight learning curve but they’re very reasonable. Things are fast in Warhawk and you never get that sense of lull. In fact it’s fairly common to be blown up before you even get off the ground. While on the topic of controls it’s probably a good idea to mention how the game ‘feels’. With explosions and bullets everywhere this game maintains a high frames per second while feeling great. The controls are responsive and intuitive. Some games out there have very uncomfortable and wonky control schemes and it’s usually bad enough to break a game. Warhawk’s controls and feel are superb.

Playing Warhawk this morning with Graev with split-screen was actually doable! Usually I am not impressed with how games handle split-screen and gameplay but Warhawk gave me another pleasant surprise. When we joined a server to play a match they had split-screen enabled but they didn’t have it set to keep players on the same team. Graev and I actually had to fight against each other while sharing one TV. Another great addition to the split-screen experience was that the speakers on each side corresponded with the side of the screen they were coming from. Graev being on the left side of the screen had the left speakers supplying his sound and the same for me on the right.

Warhawk has several gameplay modes and a great selection of maps. There are desert forts, archipelagos, ruined cities, and all of them are well designed. Many games like this have small and restricting maps and with air combat there would be no way to pull it off. In Warhawk the maps are enormous and the entire map is at your disposal. You can fly up into the clouds and risk stalling your plane or you can skim the water’s surface as you pull off impossible flips and twists to avoid homing missiles.

This game is well worth the money. I can’t think of any other third-person shooter console game with this much action, this much performance, and this much bang for the buck. Don’t have a headset for online play? Pick up the game in stores and it comes with a free bluetooth headset! Don’t want to go to the store and already have a headset? Buy it online through the Playstation network! Play it for twenty minutes or five hours at a time; you’ll never tire of Warhawk.

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