Like painted miniatures on a faux-turf covered papier-mâché landscape, Warhawk offers hectic and chaotic war with pint-sized soldiers, adorable jets and Metal Slug-esque tankoids.

Incognito’s Playstation 3 exclusive owes more than a little to the Battlefield series of games, presenting large scale online battles with vehicular combat, massive warzones and a faint whisper of team work and coordination. While battles will be won, and tides turned with ruthless synchronisation, there’s always satisfaction and reward for playing lone-wolf.

Players navigate the muddled terrain on foot, in jeeps and tanks, or via the titular Warhawks; surprisingly effortless fighter jets that can fire rockets, drop missiles and evade fire with gracious loops-de-loops and fan-favourites; barrel rolls.

While the title shipped with four standard multiplayer modes, including Team Deathmatch, Zones and Capture the Flag, later updates have invited Collection and King, calling attention to large-scale teamwork, and single-handed assassination, respectively. King mode, randomly selecting two players as elimination targets for each team, grants the lucky selected with a full arsenal of weapons, increased health and exponentially amplified fire power. Taking out a convoy of advancing tanks with single rockets is a rewarding experience unlike any other.

Warhawk feels accessible and instantly gratifying as seemingly insignificant moves can grant victory for the team. Manning anti-air turrets can blast the opposing team’s best Warhawks out the sky, well-placed sniper fire can remove nuisance campers and pedal-to-the-metal driving skills are more important than rifle range training in capture the flag.

That’s not to say that Warhawk doesn’t require skill. One-on-one dog fights, microcosmic battles held a mile above the real war, require well placed fire and quick evasion manoeuvres. Successful flag captures call for every tool in your inventory, from mines to healthpacks and from sniper rifles to rocket launchers, as enemy teams huddle around their base in great numbers.

It’s when all of Warhawk’s disparate parts come together in perfect harmony, organising the inherent chaos, that the game stands tall in the cluttered online space. Your jeep, manned by an eagle-eyed gunner and a flag-stealing bandit in the passenger seat, speeds down a dusty desert road. Tanks dare impede your progress, foot soldiers lay mischievous land mines, and Warhawks duke it out in your immediate airspace. A successful retreat to the base will no doubt fill the chat channel with cheers, whoops and hollers.

Getting to that point however, where you’re the one taking the flag, killing the king, soaring high on the leaderboard and unlocking medals, patches and trophies, requires patience and investment. The newly added tutorials are a must-play, and are far friendlier than the blocks of text that appeared during gameplay pre-patch.







One response to “Warhawk”

  1. Tony avatar

    I love this game. I’ve always felt it was one of the best PS3 exclusives out there, but it just seems to have slipped underneath almost everybody’s radar.

    The graphics are superb, the distance you can see across the map is amazing.

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