Review by horror_spooky
"Crash and burn...again"
Before I actually got to play them, I was impressed with Sony's lineup for the first half of 2012. It was highlighted by two huge sequels to Sony franchises. One was Twisted Metal, the reboot to the franchise, but that turned out to be a massive flop. The second game was Starhawk, the spiritual successor to Warhawk, and I had my hopes high for this game. Unfortunately, Starhawk can't even come close to touching Warhawk.
Starhawk has the basic concepts of Starhawk at heart. It's a mostly-multiplayer game that caters to a variety of play styles and features large multiplayer battles across huge maps. The amount of content in Starhawk is not the problem. It's the execution of the content. The game is missing something that made Warhawk great. It comes across as painfully generic and boring, and entirely inaccessible to anyone looking to just hop in and enjoy a multiplayer game.
Starhawk's art style is a major issue for me. The visuals are bland, boring, and my god, has the color brown ever been more prominent in any video game ever? People have come to mock the action games that sport this ultra-serious, gritty visual style. Yet games still implement it. I will give Starhawk points in other visual areas, for example, the animation. Players can summon structures, vehicles, and more from the sky, and they crash to the ground in a spectacular show.
Another aspect of Starhawk that holds it down? It's just not fun. The multiplayer lacks the charm of the original game. Sony has decided to neuter the number of split-screen players to two, and not only that, but the game requires the dreaded online pass. There's nothing like coming home with a new game, popping it in, and then having to sit around for 15 minutes while the game downloads a silly and pointless online pass. No one is going to be buying used copies of this because no one is buying this to sell it in the first place.
One thing that was missing from the original Warhawk was a solid single player campaign. Games needed strong multiplayer and single player offerings in order to feel whole. When I heard that Starhawk was going to have a campaign, I was glad. When I actually played the Starhawk campaign, I was incredibly disappointed. The campaign is a snooze just as much as the multiplayer is, with uninteresting characters partaking in an uninteresting conflict. The story picks up by the end, but there is an astonishing amount of filler between the opening and the ending. If they weren't going to bother developing a compelling story to fill out an entire campaign, it just feels kind of pointless. And just when it starts getting good, it ends, because Starhawk's campaign is also very short.
So, the campaign is boring and generic, the multiplayer is boring and generic, and the art style is...boring and generic. There has to be something about Starhawk that has redeemable quality. And there is. The gunplay is tight and satisfying. There are moments in the campaign where you have the opportunity to fight a swarm of enemies at once, and this is where the combat really shines. Honestly, if Starhawk dialed back the other aspects of the game and made it more of a traditional third-person shooter, it probably would have been better off.
Overall, Starhawk is not a game that was made badly. There's a lot of polish here. Amazing things are done with the animation, the graphics are technically good, and everything works like it should work. But Starhawk is not a good game. Maybe it was made with the best of intentions, with a lot of people working diligently to try to make it good, but the end result is a game that is simply too boring and too generic to be any good.
Reviewer's Rating: 2.5 - Playable
Originally Posted: 06/18/12
Game Release: Starhawk (US, 05/08/12)
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