Warhawk has had some steep competition in recent months. With brilliant online titles available such as the addictive Call of Duty 4 and the mod-friendly Unreal Tournament III, Warhawk took its time in the backseat for a while. Nevertheless, its first expansion, Operation: Omega Dawn, manages to perfectly complement our newfound case of insomnia… which it caused.
There are two major overlapping features in this expansion; the KT-424 Combat Dropship and the brand new Omega Factory map. We’ll begin with the most major change – the Dropship. Simply put, the thing is a beast. The KT-424 is a massive airborne Dropship which is capable of carrying a pilot, six additional infantry, and a ground-based vehicle. It’s fantastic for Zone or Capture the Flag games, often turning the tide of a battle with cooperation from teammates. Don’t assume that the Dropship is a defenseless transport vehicle either. Under that thick armor plating lays some serious weaponry. While in flight, six deadly swarm missile turrets can be utilized to blast your foes into oblivion. Conversely, in hover mode, the Dropship can deploy six auto-cannons to strategically hold off or destroy any type of ground-laden threat.
As Warhawk is a title built around meticulously balanced gameplay, it would be a shame if the Dropship came in and wrecked the equilibrium. Luckily, this isn’t the case, as the KT-424 manages to fill a fascinating niche without being an overpowered behemoth. Frankly, the Dropship might struggle to beat a tortoise in a relay race, and it would make a lot of noise in the process. The thing is deafeningly loud, so stealthy players need not apply. Anyways, while the tortoise analogy may be a tad of an exaggeration, compared to the agile Warhawks, the Dropship moves quite slothfully. This means you won’t be able to evade those flak cannons so easily, so watch for those no fly zones. Additionally, the Dropship spawns at a reduced rate, so each time you’ve lost one in battle, it’ll take some time before you can hop back into that same one.
The KT-424 Combat Dropship will be available across all available maps, not only the brand new Omega Factory. Speaking of Omega Factory, the map comes as a nice change of pace for Warhawk regulars. Sporting jazzy nighttime visuals, the entire feel of the map is completely different from everything we’ve seen from Warhawk thus far. From the massive industrial pylons to the giant glowing energy cores used in Zone matches (which are reminiscent of those seen in Resistance multiplayer), everything just feels right. It also doesn’t hurt that Omega Factory is possibly the largest of all the complete maps seen within Warhawk.
All in all, while Operation: Omega Dawn doesn’t exactly revolutionize Warhawk, it is certainly a natural evolution which nicely complements what’s already present. With full support for the 1.2 update, it’s easy to see what games are for ‘OD’ (Omega Dawn) players. Add in some new map layouts to the Dropship and Omega Factory, and you’ve got yourself a nice little package, available for a completely affordable $7.99. Don’t hesitate to give this expansion a try.