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July 16 2007
Warhawk - PS3 Preview
Release Date Distributer Publisher Developer
20/9/2007SonySonyIncognito Ent.
Offline Players Online players Price Anticipation
1-42-32$99.95
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Visuals have improved over the last year!
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2-player split-screen mode.

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One of Warhawk's many vehicles.
What a life it has been for the game known as Warhawk. Now I'm not talking about the original PSOne title - which, by the way, was a standout title on the system - but rather the spiritual sucessor which is due on Playstation 3 in only a few short months. The game was first unveiled at E3 2005 with a video presentation showing hundreds of vehicles flying around the air - it certainly wasn't in-game as we laster found out. Then in E3 2006 the game was shown in playable form - but it looked a bit average. The selling point though was the game was the first to make use of the Sixaxis' motion sensing to control the flying vehicles.

Several months after that E3 show it was announced that Warhawk would be multi-player only, and would not include any single-player missions. Then we had the 'downloadble only', 'Blu-Ray only' news going back and forth for a few weeks before Sony confirmed the game would be available on the Playstation Store and in retail stores on Blu-Ray disc. So now we're sorted. This is a multi-player only game available in either download or disc form due out in September.

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Taking to some deathmatch action in the skies.
But let's forget all that, and focus on the actual game. Warhawk is basically a third person open-ended battle in both the skies, and on land. Take to the skies and engage in high-speed aerobatic dogfights or hover to provide crucial aerial support to surging ground troops. Unleash an artillery assault with heavily armored tanks and all terrain vehicles. Advance on-foot to frontline positions and key locations with an array of devastating weapons, mounted guns and emplaced defense turrets.

The game supports 32-players online which, while down on the 40-players in Sony's Resistance: Fall of Man, could be due to the wider variety of combat options available. While in the air you'll fly or hover in the Warhawk to engage in intense dogfights with dozens of fighters and ground forces aimed your way. On the ground you can take control of armored tanks or utility vehicles to defend your base or launch a ground assault. On foot you can choose from a powerful arsenal of weapons, including rocket launchers, flame throwers, and proximity mines.

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The 4-player split-screen mode in action.
The online game modes include Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, Capture the Flag and an all-new Zone Mode. It will be possible to customise your soldier with an unlimited combination of armor and squad markings. You will also be able to set up competitive clans and stay organized with user friendly communication tools. Complex stat tracking records and rewards your accomplishments on the battlefield. Expansion and vehicle and character customization packs scheduled for download through 2008. In a rather nice twist the developers aren't just providing multi-player thrills online for a single person but, as you may have seen from the surrounding screenshots, also 2-player and 4-player split screen on a single console.

In terms of graphics as I previously mentioned the 2006 showing looks a little less exciting in terms of scope, however it's still visually impressive. Incognito Entertainment have created hundreds of square miles of high-resolution terrain filled with a brave new world where old and new technologies merge.

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Close quarter combat, land and air.
One of the great things about this title is that the developers did release a limited trial in America so gamers could test, and send feedback to Incog so they could fine tune the game prior to release. Indeed there have been several changes made including allowing Warhawk planes to evade missiles easier, reducing the effectiveness of sniper rifles and reducing the power of flak cannons. Impressively the developers have introduced a "Push to Talk" for Bluetooth and USB headset microphones to cut down on the background noise generated when they are always on - as is the case in many other games - and also now identifies who is talking.

We do have one question though with regards to the pricing. Either Sony are going to dramatically increase game pricing for their Playstation Store, or those buying the game in the shops are going to be paying a hefty premium to have the title on disc. We do know the Blu-Ray version will include some exclusive content such as behind the scenes videos and artwork, but if we're paying 50% more for that version it hardly seems worthwhile - or perhaps it's a way for Sony to push people towards downloadable titles. It shall be interesting.

With a release date currently targeted for late September Warhawk is shaping up as a fantastic multi-player title on the Playstation 3. We still have a couple of months until we see the game for ourselves, but it looks like one to keep an eye on.