The Made2Game Alternative Review: Starhawk
- Lightbox Interactive
The Made2Game Alternative Review: Starhawk
Developer: Lightbox Interactive / Sony Santa Monica
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Review by: Mick Fraser
Hey, stranger. Yeah, you. Come over here, I got somethin' for ya...
I seen you 'round here, askin' folk about Emmett Graves an' Syd Cutter, pokin' your nose into what happened at White Sands. Stirrin' up trouble, maybe. Or perhaps you wanna hear the story o' Graves an' Cutter an' their Starhawks? Hell, maybe you just wanna know if the story's worth hearin' in the first place.
First off, you gotta decide somethin' about yourself. If you wanna understand what Graves did, you gotta understand how Graves thinks – so you gotta figure what you are. You a team player? Or another goddamn lone wolf? Lone wolves don't do well ‘round these parts.
Fair enough. You go ahead an’ think on it.
So... Graves? Came out here with Cutter – you know about him, no? One-eyed Brit with a mule named Annabelle – yeah, and she is some mule... Anyhow, Graves an' Cutter come through here pickin' up gigs from Rifters, poor bastards out prospectin' for Rift Energy on the rim. Someone's gotta watch out for 'em, see – cuz the biggest problem Rifters face is Outcasts.
You don't know what an Outcast is? Christ. Where the hell you bin, boy? Ok, listen: Stand too close to raw Rift Energy, it gets in you, turns your blood blue, lights y’up like a stick o' dynamite. Turns you bad, too, head-bad. That's an Outcast. Far as I know, only one man ever walked away from somethin' like that: Emmett Graves. Oh, Cutter worked some magic on him, true enough, an’ he walks around now just like you an' me... O'course, he glows like a scab an' that scares folk, but he's a good guy.
Yeah, good with a gun, too; good in a Hawk. Moves 'round a battlefield like he was born on one. Rifles, pistols— hell, fella can make a rocket launcher sing like a hummin'bird. O'course there're some things you can't put down with just bullets. Like the Apex Warriors them Outcasts call on, them big blue bastards made outta raw Rift Energy…
Luckily, Cutter's mule Annabelle's got some tricks under her tail. One press of a button from Graves, an' old Annabelle up there in low orbit can drop anythin' he needs inside of ten seconds. Guns, sniper towers, walls an' turrets, even mechs an' rides. All he needs is enough Rift Energy to power Cutter's gadgets an' he can call down a goddamn army.
But anyway, anyway, I'm gettin' stirred up here... Where was I? Oh, yeah, sure... So, Graves an' Cutter come through White Sands lookin' to protect some miners staked a claim, only they got all caught up in a war. Yeah, didn't I tell you? White Sands is where Graves grew up. Where him an' his brother Logan had their own claim, until... Well. Boom. Anyway, the scabs were united in White Sands, see, under some crazy Rift-poisoned bastard called himself the Outlaw, an' they were tootin' stolen mechs an' all kinds o' hardware. An' old Graves, he went it alone to save the town –'cept for Cutter up in orbit. Rest o' the townsfolk, old man Jonah, Sheriff Tracy, they did what they could but they was just bit-parters. Graves was the man of the moment, if you get me, though why he never just walked away I can't say...
You never answered my question, y'know: You a lone-wolf? You don't look so lean to me. Plenty of work 'round here for a team player, though. People always lookin' for gun-arms, people always needin' protection. You could find yourself a team, work together, protect a few claims from waves of Outcast scabs. Good money in it, long as you work together. Heh, communication. That's the key. A good team out here, fellas who know how to dig in an' defend, they can make a fortune. Pitch up, drop some defences, protect the claim, an' you're in business.
Hell, you could go it alone if you want, get yourself caught up in a turf war over Rift. Get yourself an eye in the sky with a mule of his own – he could send you anything you ask for in seconds, just like Cutter does for Graves. But a word to the wise: battlefields 'round here can get real messy real fast, men an' scabs an' tanks an' Hawks, turrets blowin' holes in everythin', can get to be a real death-match, team or not. They can get a little crowded, too – one time I saw 32 Hawks goin' at each other, all at once. 32! Can you believe it? True as I'm sittin' here, it happened. Happens more than you'd think.
You get yourself a bird, you're good. Flyin' one ain't all that hard. Easy to pick up, tricky to master. But there's plenty of ammo around. See those crates up there? Aerial caches, they call 'em. The Hawks are pretty smart, too; fly close enough an' the bird'll do the rest.
So what d'ya think? Maybe you'll stick around, huh? Place is pretty as a picture most o' the time, an' on a clear day you can see for miles. Plenty to do, too; even if Graves' story turns out to be a little short an' sweet, you can make a grand livin' out there fightin' folk just for the sake o' fightin'. Hell, y'know, sometimes I swear it's all just a game to them mercs. Just a crazy game.
So, you gotta choice to make, stranger. You can leave if ya want, or you can carry on pokin' your nose in – might even get to the bottom of why Graves did what he did at White Sands. Or you can join the war out there with the mercs and the scabs, an’ try to make an honest livin' outta killin'...
It's up to you, friend. All the way.
Words by Mick Fraser (Twitter: @Jedi_Beats_Tank)
We hope you enjoyed our Alternative Review! To read a more traditional critique of Starhawk, follow this link.
A note on the Alternative Review format: The Made2Game Alternative Review is a brand new (and, we hasten to say, experimental) feature, wherein we’ll be playing around with the recognised format of videogame reviews to see what we can produce in the way of original, informative entertainment. Throughout we’ll include references to gameplay elements, story, graphics, single- and multiplayer modes, etc, without ever using our sexy “reviewer” tone. We’re a creative bunch here, so the possibilities are high, as is the sense of impending dread. Your opinion on these things matters, so please do tell us what you think.
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