At GDC this week, we got our hands on a few new features for the
upcoming successor to Warhawk. In addition to the full-fledged single player
campaign and popular 32 player multiplayer battleground, Starhawk will also
include four player co-op – which plays like the game’s own take on Horde mode.
This new mode can be played with up to four players who are tasked
with protecting a power generator at the center of the map. If the generator’s
life bar depletes completely, it’s game over. However, there is an (as of now)
unspecified, finite number of enemy waves – so this Horde mode doesn’t always
end with your guts getting splattered across the map.
Players have access to all of the weapons, power-ups, and
buildings in the multiplayer, only this time they will be using them against waves
of AI controlled enemies. In our play session, the first wave started out with
the usual infantry cannon fodder that we made short work of with the mech we
got fresh off the assembly line, but soon we were dogfighting enemy aircraft
and bombarding incoming tanks. We didn’t feel nearly as overwhelmed playing the
horde-type gameplay in Starhawk as you would in the Gears of War games. Since
the map is wide open, it makes it easy to run away from danger rather than
tough it out in a corner with a shotgun.
Otherwise, co-op plays out as you might expect. The real strategy
comes in coordinating building defenses and vehicles, and managing resources
with teammates so you don’t end up getting obliterated using a group of mechs
against the more powerful enemy tanks. But even if you’re team is a bit lacking
in effective strategy, the developers have also added a useful practice feature
in the game as well, called Explore mode.
In Explore mode, players can set up practice matches for their
team to develop and play out their building and battlefield strategy. All of
the timers and game mode rules still apply – there just won’t be an opposing
force to compete against. This could be used to help beginners familiarize
themselves with maps or clans with coordinated attacking and defensive
In addition to the new details on the game’s co-op Sony announced the public beta patch 1.3 is available today. The update gives
players a chance to play with two new vehicles: the Sidewinder Jetbike and the
OX Heavy tank, and experience the Planet Dust map.
Starhawk releases on May 8th for the PS3.