I've been a part of numerous beta experiences in the past, many of which I played for a few short hours before realizing that the game just wasn't for me. And others where I've found myself addicted to the point of staying awake all night. Up until Warhawk, that last beta addiction was Final Fantasy XI, and thankfully I was able to tear myself away from it. But to be honest, I sort of missed that feeling of being attached to a game and I'm glad that Warhawk has come along. You see, over the better part of the past two months, I've been entangled in the Warhawk beta and with it coming to an end, I cannot sing my praises high enough.
I was conversing with someone about Warhawk and the person said it best in that: Warhawk is like three games in one. You've got your on-foot, person-to-person confrontations; you've got your aerial-combat confrontations; and you've got your ground arsenal confrontations (tanks, mounted turrets, missile launch turrets, machine gun turrets, jeeps, etc). The game is epic beyond my wildest expectations and now that I've fallen in, I can't get out.
There are five maps to choose from (the addition of more will likely come from downloadable updates), all of which that can be played in various modes such as zone control, capture the flag, deathmatch, and team deathmatch. Depending on the match type, stages will also vary in size to reduce tedium. For instance, in deathmatch, the stages will be smaller so that you don't have to fly all the way to the other side of the stage just to find your opponents – believe me, it's for the best, because these stages are huge.
In terms of scope, the size of the stages reflect the size of the game's multiplayer support: up to 32 players all in one match. While Resistance continues to be the largest console shooter with 40 players simultaneously, Warhawk is right behind it and we're highly content with that. On top of that, you can expect to come over a buddy's house and play with up to 4-split screens on one TV. You'll also be able to enter split-screen multiplayer games simultaneously, without having to reconfigure modes or leave matches – this is very cool.
You will have to choose between two forces, the Eucadians or the Chernovans. Each force has their own respective uniform design, as well as differing looking machinery. When you select your alliance, you'll also be prompted to create your character. At first you'll only have the basic accessories to work with, but the more you play and the more rewards you pick up, then the more customization options will be given to you. There's a plethora of weapons for on-footers to pick-up, everything from shotguns, to rocket launchers, to sniper rifles, to machine guns, grenades, and so forth. Gamers looking to take to the skies will be able to pick up a whole slew of weapons for their warhawks such as homing missiles, homing rockets, lightning, drop-bombs, and much more. Defensive pick ups are featured, as well – so rest at ease.
Hop into a tank or a jeep with a mounted turret and start paving your way on the ground. A buddy system for both vehicles ensures co-operative gameplay, and many will find that quit a blast. You can hop into one of the mounted rocket launching or machine gun turrets and go on the defensive protecting your base. The action is furious, with explosions and gun fire every you go – but it makes the game just that damn good. Everything is well balanced, and no one vehicle or piece of machinery has any significant advantages over another.
Visually, there's a lot to like here. A solid framerate no matter how many players on screen ensures that everything runs smoothly. Likewise, the details in the environments is absolutely filled with solid texture work, on top of stunning water effects and some of the best fog and clouds period. There are tons of different structures in many of the stages, and you can go anywhere you see fit. Details on the warhawks, jeeps and tanks is pretty solid, but player detail isn't too spectacular. Still, considering the size of the game the character models are a lot better than what I had anticipated and I doubt many will find a problem with them. In terms of resolutions, the game runs natively in 720p, but can fake output of 1080i for those who have a set that can't do 720p. Best of all, if your HDTV has overscan issues in 720p, there is a tool within the game that you can adjust and it'll correct the problem for you.
With the beta about to come to an end in a matter of a few days, I'm certain that I'll miss playing Warhawk. I'm usually not too crazy about online gameplay, but Warhawk is a grade-A gem. We're still not too certain about the game's release date, but look for the downloadable version of Warhawk to hit within the next few months, and the alleged retail Blu-Ray version to come closer to the holiday season. Warhawk is definitely one prize you don't want to miss out on.