(Sony for PS3)
By Mike Delano
Like its enormously fun 2007 predecessor, Warhawk, the appeal of Starhawk is the way it spoils the player with choice. Like a kid on one of those all-you-can-grab Toys ‘R Us shopping sprees, the player is let loose in these futuristic battlefields with all manner of ways to amuse themselves. Take to the sky for some aerial combat, zip around on a hoverbike, engage in a ground-based shootout, or tinker with the game’s base-building tower-defense elements: You can spend an entire skirmish focused on just one of these elements alone. The game doesn’t stray far from the foundation established by Warhawk, it just refines and expands on everything. Developer LightBox Interactive adds the tower defense elements and a single player campaign along with mechs (that transform into the titular airborne menaces) and wraps it all in a bright, attractive look that merges the barren Southwestern landscapes of Rage with the starry-skied wonder of Mass Effect.
There’s a black blanket welcome waiting for you in the online multiplayer matches, to be sure, since there’s a significant disconnect between the action-heavy story missions and the careful, strategic approach needed to succeed (or even survive) in online battles. But it’s great that Starhawk offers so many ways to access all of its varied content, and that makes it easy to recommend for any shooter fans looking for an extra layer of strategy on top of their action.