reviews\ Sep 6, 2007 at 8:00 pm

Warhawk - PS3 - Review

Back when Sony finally revealed the sleek new look for the shiny PlayStation 3, footage for some interesting new PS3 titles began to surface as well and one of them was Warhawk - a game that followed the original Warhawk game for the first PlayStation and used the new motion sensor technology of the PS3 controller. The footage showed gamers controlling an aircraft and manipulating the controller the way a child would when he or she played with a toy plane. Launch came and Warhawk was a no-show but now, PS3 gamers, the wait is finally over and the Warhawk has landed. Warhawk for the PS3 is here and it might very well be the killer application the console has been waiting for so clear your calendar and join the war.

First off, I must point out that Warhawk is a multiplayer-only title that is played online using a Broadband connection, through a LAN connection or using a single console through a split-screen deal. There is no single-player mode where you take on the same game modes solo or a story mode that detaches itself from the main multiplayer component. This is an action game designed to be played with others in the way Battlefield was meant to be played. The online component tosses you into a massive battle that puts you in the war with up to 32 players on screen at once. Warhawk, interestingly enough, can be purchased online in the PlayStation Store for $40 but it’s also available at retail stores for $60 and is packaged with a neat Jabra Bluetooth headset with its own USB charger. The retail package also comes with an instruction manual, something you don’t get if you purchase the game online.

The game’s setup process is relatively painless so you’ll be off and starting in no time. You begin the game by selecting a character avatar and personalizing said character as well decide what type of Warhawk (a type of futuristic fighter plane) you’d like to fly. You’ll even get to chose the side you would like to play such as the futuristic Chernovans or the Eucadians, and while the game doesn’t go into any details why these two factions are at war, well, who really cares as long as we get to frag the players in the other team because it’s the all-out battles that makes Warhawk such a blast to play. There are four game modes to play and once you join a game or host one yourself you can decide whether you’d like a Deathmatch mode, Team Deathmatch, Capture the Flag or capturing bases in Zone Mode.  

Anyone who has played a multiplayer match will certainly know their way around a Deathmatch or Team Deathmatch game mode and almost anyone has played a version of Capture the Flag mode at some point whether it’s as a skater in a Tony Hawk game or a soldier in some first-person shooter. Here, however, a host can set up a number of conditions including making the matches all aerial or keeping the battle on the surface of the five or so different worlds. Aside from taking to the skies in some cool dogfights using Warhawk fighters or the sleeker Nemesis fighters, you can climb into tanks or 4 X 4 off-road vehicles capable of carrying other players. During ground battles your soldier to crouch, jump, strafe, toss grenades and even take command of gun turrets.


Zone Mode requires a team effort and it basically pits your team against a rival team as you defend or try to take a rival’s base. Let’s say your team manages to penetrate your rival’s defenses, the longer you hang on to the enemy base the higher points your team will gain as the captured based slowly merges with your own home base. Soon you’ll have more spawn points and thus making it harder for your opponent to try to take their base back. It’s a nice change over the Capture the Flag mode that has you frantically attempting to return a team flag to your own base.

Aerial combat is an interesting and rather fun part of Warhawk that is handled well enough despite the fact that flying a fighter isn’t as easy as it looks. The game lets you use the analog sticks for better maneuvering but why have hamburger when you can have a fat juicy steak. The game makes good use of the SIXAXIS motion sensor controls if you change the control scheme. Using the motion sensor technology, you can move your fighter with a few tilts and turns and trust me when I say that it takes a lot of practice to keep from crashing but it make dogfights such a rare and interesting feat. Over the headset I heard my share of cussing from those still trying to get the hang of the controls but once you do get the hang of it vehicle maneuvering starts to make sense and you’ll be earning medals and ribbons in no time. 

Yes, Warhawk isn’t the type of game you can just quickly grab and start bringing Nemesis planes down with ease but believe me when I say that you will learn and you will do so because the massive battles are like Pringles potato chips … you can’t play just once. I’ve played through a 32-player Deathmatch and a 16-player Capture the Flag session and encountered no framerate stutter or slowdown. I also set up a LAN game and it worked perfectly, although I have to admit split-screen isn’t the best way of playing this game if you decide to play using a single console. The Bluetooth headset works like a dream - which is why I am recommending you buy the game at the store if you don’t own a compatible headset to begin with - and it’s a blast coordinating attacks with other gamers. This is the type of game you’ll be coming up with strategies when approaching different situations. In addition, the game allows you to create your own clans.


Visually, the game is stunning and easy on the eyes when it comes to the aerial combat. Watching a rival’s aircraft explode just inches away from you is a dazzling sight as is bring down a Warhawk or a Nemesis with a gun turret from down below. It’s a real treat watching other players scrambling all around you and with such a slick presentation, the game makes you feel like you’re playing a PS3 game. In short, the graphics are nothing short of impressive.

The game’s music is also a highlight and it does a great job of giving the game its epic war vibe. It’s like listening to a score for a war movie about a war that never really happened and it fits the game nicely. The sound effects are also perfect so you really have to play this game with a good sound system or crank the volume up in whatever setup you have for your console.

Warhawk will be destined to become a PlayStation 3 classic but most importantly, it will remain to be one of the best multiplayer experiences you’ll find in a next-generation console. It’s an action junkie’s dream come true for those who have been looking for a multiplayer action game worthy of the genre and while the controls and style take awhile to really learn, those who are patient will find that this is a game they will want to keep playing for a long time to come.

Review Scoring Details for Warhawk

 Gameplay: 8.9
You really can’t pick up the controller and start blasting opponents like a true veteran but spending enough time in the frontlines will definitely help ease you into the gameplay. The aerial battles are a blast, especially using the SIXAXIS controls, and on foot the action is even hotter. The game modes will give you enough to do so expect to spend a long time with this game.

Graphics: 9.2
Warhawk is a great-looking PS3 game and everything from the explosions to the vehicles and character models are handled perfectly. The dogfights are particularly stunning and on the ground the action looks good especially in these backgrounds.

Sound: 9.0
Play this one loudly because the sound effects are just so incredibly detailed that you’ll be surrounded by sound. The music is wonderfully dramatic and appropriate to the game’s theme and if you’re using the headset you’ll get an earful from your teammates.

Difficulty: Medium/Hard
Once you get past the getting-to-know-you phase of the controls, the real challenges come from the fiery battles and your opponent’s skill level. In the team battles, organization is key to victory and making good use of every weapon at your disposal is a real must in a game that will put you against skilled players. 

Concept: 9.0
I foresee the Warhawk online community growing to an impressive number so building your own clan or joining one is a must. The game modes are fun and with up to 32 players, joining the battle you will have your hands full. Oh, the game comes bundled with a good Bluetooth headset that just plain rocks and makes communicating with your team or other players a breeze.

Multiplayer: 9.0
Online the game runs at a rock steady framerate and you can always play against three other friends offline using split-screen. Since this is an online-only title, a single-player experience is out of the question but why play alone when the game handles a 32-player Deathmatch mode perfectly.

Overall: 9.0
Simply put, Warhawk is what gaming dreams are made of and the reason you will want a PlayStation 3. Yes, its complex controls require a lot of patience but once you get the hang of it you will be completely hooked by the intense action that makes these online battles such an addictive joy. This is one of the PS3’s finest titles that really shouldn’t be missed.


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