For whatever reason, I’m a huge fan of public beta tests. Of anything, really. But especially video games (surprise!). When I found out that “Starhawk” was going to have a public beta, I was stoked, especially considering the fact that it’s half-RTS, half-TPS.
My impressions so far have been extremely positive. Although many of the games vehicles are missing – thereby placing less emphasis on the vehicular combat aspect – there are enough present in the current beta build to allow for an overarching view of how the game will play out at retail.
The biggest change from the game’s spiritual predecessor, “Warhawk,” is the inclusion of a game mechanic called “Build n’ Battle.” The BnB system is extremely intuitive and easy to use, and the strategy that blossoms from it is incredible. Each player on the two teams competing gathers energy from a core that is positioned in their base. When enough energy is gathered, the player can then call in a number of buildings to support their team. Vehicle depots, defensive turrets, and flight pads are just a few examples of the variety.
Combat itself is fast-paced and exciting. The controls are, at this point in time, easy to learn and work well with each of the different vehicles. One of the most welcome aspects of this game is that a skilled player is just as deadly on foot as they are in a vehicle, which makes this title a true hybrid rather than a copycat of any number of vehicular combat games.
“Starhawk” is shaping up to be one of the most exciting launch titles of the second quarter, and I can’t wait to see how it turns out at retail.