Online multiplayer shooters used to be about little more than blasting the guy next to you over and over again, with perhaps a little capture-the-flag thrown in for good measure (although even that required more blasting and less flag-capturing than you?d think). After the Quake, Doom and Unreal games had run their course, gamers turned to more tactical online shooters, personified by PC games such as Battlefield 1942, that pit two massive teams of soldiers against each other in a contest that was more about capturing strategic map points than racking up a body count.
Warhawk, an online-only PlayStation 3 exclusive with a somewhat tortured history, takes the massive online skirmishes of the Battlefield franchise and simplifies the gameplay to better appeal to pick-up-and-play gamers. The matches are fast-paced but offer a strategic element, letting players run around on foot, drive jeeps and tanks, or even better, hop in the hovering Warhawk aircraft the game is named after.
That Warhawk is such a blast to play is somewhat surprising, given the changes in direction the game has gone through. First spotted at last year?s E3 show, Warhawk was pitched as an action-packed flight combat simulator, and was one of the first PS3 demos presented to the press in playable form.
The game vanished after that for a time, eventually re-appearing as an online-only affair, originally intended for download on the PlayStation Network. Industry watchers were not impressed, and assumed Sony was just dumping the half-completed game on the market. But after playing the current version of Warhawk it's clear that the game has a lot of potential, and demo kiosks running Warhawk were constantly packed. It will be available in both retail stores and as a download later this year.