The universe of Starhawk is a future where pioneers stake their claims on far-off worlds all in search of Rift Energy, the new power source for a new generation. This valuable commodity is highly sought after and unfortunately fought over. People who have been infused with Rift Energy become drug addicts called Outcasts – destructive in hunting down anyone collecting it and trying to preserve as much of it as possible. You play as Emmett Graves, a security expert who helps defend these border claims from Outcasts. As your defeat enemies and collect Rift energy you can call down additional equipment – not only adding additional features to the map but bringing down vehicles or defensible positions depending upon need. As you can imagine you can quickly change the battlefield with the addition of new buildings on the field, or leave the battlefield all together by calling down a Hawk for yourself to fly above it.
Aurally the game has good sound-effects, but the character dialogue splits time between serviceable and hackneyed. Some characters are spot on for delivery but have nothing interesting to say, others deliver lines with a complete lack of context of the situation. Sure, the story isn't exactly the greatest ever, but it almost feels thrown together which is in stark contrast to the care shown in other areas of the game design.
Gameplay itself flows well – not much slowdown is noticed except when calling down a lot of equipment during a hot fire-fight. In each aspect of the different game genres Starhawk deserves a passing grade. Jack of all Trades… Master of None.
The third person combat is good – but missing some features that we've come to expect… using cover against incoming fire is a big omission, and the weapon selection seems to work intermittently. The real-time strategy aspect is done on the fly so you have to find an open space to figure out how you want to array your stuff because the enemies will not stop pressing because you are trying to establish perfect Feng Shui in your combat space. Vehicle combat is decent – some of the land vehicles move rather stiffly; Hawks in robot mode seem to lack fine control but not as badly as the Ox Tank (prepare to get high-centered a lot). Air combat has the most obnoxious evasion system. Unless you are looping or doing an Immelman turn any incoming fire will connect as intended. The flare system helps deflect some of that but is available so infrequently (i.e. long recharge time) that it is of little use in a hot fight more than once.
- Interesting fusion of RTS and TPS
- Single-Player Campaign painfully short and easy
Score: 8.5 / 10