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Five reasons why Starhawk has the potential to be the Halo of PS3

The PlayStation 3 has been screaming out for an exclusive game with a multiplayer system that’s as robust and exciting as the Halo franchise on Xbox 360. Bungie brought together fans of the shooter genre like no game before with an online component that has it all. Starhawk now has the potential to achieve something similar by bringing the PlayStation community together for some seriously competitive multiplayer action complete with an impressive array of weapons, power-ups, maps and vehicles.

Though Starhawk does feature a single player mode, Sony’s upcoming third-person shooter is all about the multiplayer experience and we’ve got high hopes that its players are set to be part of one the most active, passionate and competitive gaming communities online.

Here are five reasons why we believe Starhawk’s online component has the potential to engage the PlayStation community like no other shooter before it…

1. A robust and addictive multiplayer set-up designed for competitive play
Every effort has been put into Starhawk to ensure that we can enjoy battles with up to 32 players online and it will feature the best of both online worlds, with a matchmaking system and the ability to browse through servers list and enter unofficial games.

We already know they’ll be familiar multiplayer game modes, such as Capture The Flag, Team DeathMatch and Zones, but that’s just the start of it. Developer Lightbox Interactive has plenty more game modes in store, including co-op Horde and a party system. It’s designed with competitive play in mind, with a clan and tournament system and character and vehicle customisation that allows players to personalise the experience.

Skill points and rift energy will reward players for their input in each battle by giving them the power to purchase vehicles and structures to aid their team in the battle. All the best multiplayer games have an addictive reward system and Starhawk is no different.

2. Build and battle system
The build and battle system is something totally unique to online gaming on PS3. This blends real-time strategy gameplay with third-person shooter action. In Starhawk, players can build structures and place them on the battlefield to turn the tide of a match, perhaps to crush an enemy or set up a defensive base. This means that the maps dynamically change and players have to adapt their tactics accordingly. This should mean that no multiplayer battle is ever the same.

The best multiplayer games make you feel like you’re experiencing something different each time you play. With the Build and Battle system, Starhawk should do just that because the amount of tactical variety available is huge.

3. Vehicle combat and rewards
Variety is a key feature to Starhawk’s multiplayer and longevity in the online arena. The game will feature the likes of jet-packs, jet-bikes, tanks and combat jeeps. Though Starhawk is set in outer space, and features many flying vehicles, skirmishes can also take place on terra-firma.

Gameplay will rely on getting rift energy, achieved, in part, by killing enemies and executing objectives. All players will be on the same page. They need to work together toward a common goal and think carefully about how they utilise the vehicles. Those who perform the best in the game will get more rift energy and therefore get these extra perks. Starhawk’s variety of weapons and vehicles, plus the reward system, is probably what will make it so addictive.

4. Team play wins the day
Starhawk will rely heavily on team-play and players working together to achieve objectives and use vehicles and structures cleverly to take advantage of their opponents. Teams will have to work together to win and the community will spend time in and out of the game’s lobbies bringing together the best strategies.

The better teams will soon learn the maps inside out, respond to the ever-changing battlefield and learn to equip themselves with the right weapons for the current objective. There’s nothing better in team-based multiplayer gaming then feeling like you’re part of a squad and winning the battle. Starhawk should be more about helping your team-mates out than going it solo. Clans have already formed in anticipation of launch, and we have no reason not to believe that Starhawk could be one of the most enjoyable, competitive team-based games on PS3.

5. Map variety is the spice of the multiplayer shooter
We’ve already mentioned that the battlefield in Starhawk will change dynamically when structures are built, and that we’ll be able to fight in the air and on the ground. However, we can also expect a variety of different maps that cater for a range of play-styles, with cramped spaces providing frantic action and open environments encouraging a more layered approach

All the best multiplayer shooters need to have a range of great maps, and Lightbox promises plenty that we’ll see that, with locations ranging from huge spacestations to aerial battles in outer space.

We’ve received a copy of Starhawk prior to launch and we’ll be jumping online for some multiplayer skirmishes over the next few days. Keep an eye on PSU on Monday when all will be revealed in our Starhawk review!

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