Warhawk Preview
Warhawk box art
System: PS3 Review Rating Legend
Dev: Incog Inc. 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: Sony 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: Aug. 28 2007 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1-32 (Online Only) 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Teen 3.5 - 3.9 = Good
Run, Drive, Fly, Fight

by Tom Becker

April 24, 2007 - Back in the mid 1990s, the PSX world was hooked on the Twisted Metal series. The brains behind that title went on to form Utah-based Incog Inc. and released the fan-favorite, Warhawk. Fast-forward over ten years, and the Warhawk series is reborn.

Warhawk screenshot

The PS3-only title has been in development for the last few years and the game has shown steady improvement, from more realistic graphics to varied choices in gameplay. The original Warhawk was primarily a flying game in which the player took on opponents in a hovering jet: a sort of cross between an A-10 and a Harrier. Players piloted their aircraft around an island-heavy terrain, blowing up other would-be stick jockeys. It has been over a decade since the original game's release, so Warhawk has received a 21st Century upgrade.

The game was looking good in previews as far back as the 2005 Tokyo Game Show, but the biggest improvement to the game was only recently revealed. There are four distinct modes of play: infantry, tanks, jeeps, and jets. Needless to say, fans of the original, aircraft-only game have been psyched. The new format is so different that many reviewers consider the PS3 Warhawk a reinvention rather than a pure remake.

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The gameplay is very straightforward and shares a lot in common with the Halo series. Players no longer begin at the controls of a Warhawk hover-jet, but rather begin as a human infantry unit. From there, the player can scramble to find their preferred mode of transportation and make with the fragging. Just like in Halo, jeeps can be operated in tandem with one player at the turret and the other behind the wheel. Tanks are the most powerful ground vehicles, but like the real thing, they are slow and generally cumbersome to aim. If you're less confident behind the wheel of a vehicle, then there's always the option of either clearing the skies with artillery or taking the fight to the enemy on foot.

Warhawk screenshot

Fighting on the ground is typical of multiplayer FPS. You have the typical variety of weapons including handguns, assault rifles, and sniper rifles. Between the terrain and the format of the infantry gameplay, the whole thing feels a lot like Halo. The difference with Warhawk is the importance of coordination between the various units. In Halo, infantry had some access to powerful weapons but were crushed like ants if they faced off against anything that wasn't on two legs. Infantry in Warhawk can focus on taking down other soldiers, but they have some distinct advantages against the bigger vehicles.

The Warhawk jet, for instance, has the ability to control even the finest of aerial movements, but is very susceptible to ground attack while hovering close to the action. A soldier with an anti-aircraft missile and a decent hiding place among the rubble can do some serious damage. It's another way the developers keep the action balanced, non-stop, and hopefully fun. As with the original Warhawk, the primary focus and appeal of the game lies in the Warhawk jet itself.

Warhawk screenshot

As beloved as the original game is, many players criticized some of the basic flight controls of the Warhawk. Ten years of technological advancement and a facility with the Sixaxis controller can add up to a very sophisticated, satisfying flight experience. Far from simulation-style precision, the feel of the Warhawk is more like an aerial tank or boat. The player has very fine control of the aircraft, enabling low-altitude hovering for engaging ground targets and sophisticated maneuvering against other Warhawks at high altitude. Like any good rehash of a classic game, the PS3 Warhawk takes elements from the original and improves them, giving the player everything that was missing from the original experience and more. Warhawk has been brought fully into the 21st Century as a multiplayer-only game. Players engage each other in four distinct modes of play.

In Deathmatch mode, players must choose between two rival factions: the Eucadians and the Chernovans. It's fairly simple "kill 'em all and let God sort 'em out" deathmatch play. Multiple re-spawns are available and the player can appear at many points on the map. Team Deathmatch pits both teams against one another to rack up the highest body count and maintain control of their base. Capture the Flag mode is typical CTF. The mode which is the most unique and has been garnering most of the praise is Zone Mode. Teams expand outward from their home base by capturing zones of control on the map. Once the zone of control expands to a certain point, new zones will appear, along with new vehicles, spawn points, and weapons. It's the most imaginative gameplay mode and no doubt will attract much of the online play.

Graphically, the game looks excellent. Terrain, buildings, characters, and vehicles lack the simplicity and smoothness of FPS like Halo. Early previews indicated some of the look of the buildings and other game elements needed improvement, but as of this review, it looks great. The skies blaze with sunlight diffused by storm clouds, the waters shine and ripple like blown glass, trees and soil look like you could touch them, and explosions are as stunning and satisfying as they come. At this stage, Warhawk looks like a significant step up in visual quality from the typical FPS.

Warhawk screenshot

The online FPS market is the dominant force in gaming today and developers are often overly eager to crank out cookie-cutter hits. The folks at Incog Inc. aren't trying to re-invent the wheel here, they're just making it better. Warhawk is a surefire hit for fans of the original, but between its straightforward interface, varied gameplay, and gee-whiz graphics, it looks like a solid addition to the FPS genre.

By Tom Becker
CCC Freelance Writer

Features:

  • Epic next-gen multi-modal design immerses you in a deep 3rd person gameplay experience.
  • Fly or hover in the Warhawk to engage in intense dogfights with dozens of fighters and ground forces aimed your way.
  • Take control of armored tanks or utility vehicles to defend your base or launch a ground assault.
  • Continue the battle on-foot and choose from a powerful arsenal of weapons, including rocket launchers, flame throwers, and proximity mines
  • Select one of four online game modes including Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, Capture the Flag and an all-new Zone Mode.




    I've been waiting for this game for 11 years....
    by Cole Smith

    May 10, 2006 - After a dizzying demo of the new PS3 and its gyroscopic controller, we were let loose on a variety of games including Warhawk which is a remake of the PSX game. It's more like a retake than a remake. It's completely different. The controls add a degree of finesse and precision that would have been impossible with the original. Like Nintendo, Sony realizes that it can no longer ignore the vast numbers of non-gamers. These "un-reachables" are being courted by new, intuitive control systems that are more fun to use due to their level of interactivity and the pick-up-and-play characteristics.

    The plane in Warhawk shares some traits with a Harrier jet and a chopper in that it has the ability to hover - but it flies with an incredible fluidity that only a winged vehicle can achieve. With the motion-sensor controller you can make the plane bob and weave like a sailboat rolling over large waves by moving the controller in such a fashion. You can stop, and turn around in mid-air on a proverbial dime. The plane is very responsive and thanks to the control system is highly maneuverable which will allow you to skim over mountaintops and soar under bridges.

    You tilt the control in the actual direction and degree of pitch that you want to bank your craft at. Hold down the R1 button and it will go into a roll. This move is handy when you're being attacked and you can see the tracers heading your way. The R2 button kicks in the afterburners for a quick burst of speed. The triangle button allows your craft to hover and take some precision shots.

    There is room for about 10 different weapons in your plane but in this demo I was only able to access one primary and a couple of secondary weapons. The machine guns are quite destructive but you'll have to practice to increase your accuracy. The game is not very forgiving so you're going to be in for a bit of a challenge. Fortunately the control of the craft is as far from a simulation as you can get.

    The environments are very good looking but I wouldn't say they are photo-realistic. Some of the enemy installations are on the boxy side but the developers tell me the entire game is still a work in progress. Hey guys, so far, great work on the progress you've already made. Can't wait to get my hands on it.

    By Cole Smith
    CCC Senior Writer




    Previously - It's hard to believe that the original Warhawk was released ten years ago this year on the PlayStation. Considering it was one of the titles to help put Sony's new system on the map, it's surprising that it has taken this long for fans to even hear a faint whisper that there is a sequel in the works.

    Luckily for those who fell in love with Warhawk the first time around, Warhawk on the PS3 promises to deliver in spades. After all, you've been waiting a decade to get your hands on it, so why shouldn't it be spectacular?

    Okay that's crossing into fanboy territory. We have no idea if Incog Inc (Warhawk, Twisted Metal Black, War of the Monsters) will be able to capture the heart and soul of the original in the PS3 continuation of the series. It's important to note that ten years ago 3D space shooters weren't exactly the norm and the same goes for eye dropping visuals. Perhaps we were snowed over by Warhawks fancy looks and cuddled into a false sense of quality by the big bucks we blew on Sony's debut system. If that was the case, we've all had enough experience with crap in fancy packaging that we'll be able to sniff this one out a mile away if it's not heading in the right direction.

    From what we witnessed at E3 this year, Incog Inc. seems to be broadening the horizons of the original. This was evident in the CG intro of the game which featured military soldiers running through a cave. Of course this was soon followed by a scene of an armada of flying Warhawk-esque ships, but we were intrigued as to the importance of the footsoldiers. Can it be possible that the gameplay might feature onfoot battles as well as air combat? Since two of the released screenshots feature soldiers, that might definitely be the case. Although message board campers will try and tell you this isn't the case, we have to assume that what worked solely as an air combat shooter ten years ago might not hold the interests of today's gamers. In any event, we'll just have to wait and see.

    By Vaugh Smith
    CCC Former Site Director

  • Screenshots / Images
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