The Playstation Network experience (PSN, PS3, Warhawk)

I have made my first purchase from the Playstation Store, the downloadable, full-size game Warhawk. It wasn’t too difficult, although it wasn’t nowhere near Xbox Live’s ease of use, either. At 30€ ($40 USD equivalent), I think the price is okay, considering that it’s closer to a retail title than what we’ve come to expect from a downloadable game. The lack of a demo baffles me. Based on my brief brush with the game proper, a taster would only whet appetites for more.

Because consider me whetted. While on paper it sounds a lot like Battlefield 2, in practice there are major differences. To begin with, it’s more videogamey. Battlefield 2 is videogame conventions draped in realistic military clothes, Warhawk throws realistic aspirations out of the window and replaces them with fun. The overall look is more cartoony, which is a great thing when it comes to the arenas, which are just more interesting, with huge height differences and dramatic lighting. Another major visual departure is that Warhawk is played entirely in third person, which serves to set it apart from the FPS ethos of the Battlefield series. It doesn’t take itself quite so seriously, which is fine by me but obviously a turn-off for some.

And speaking of looks, this is clearly next-gen stuff. Battlefield 2 on the 360 was… okay, but never pretty. Warhawk pushes the boundary much higher. It’s no jaw-dropper, but I’m impressed by the rock-solid framerate.

Based on three rounds, you need to be interested in dogfighting in order to enjoy the game. I haven’t see anyone on foot or in the land-based vehicles, and from the ground, the arenas aren’t too exciting. But it’s a beautiful furball of a fight to see sixteen (or up to 32, I think) jets at each other.

The online infrastructure feels solid, the servers are found fast and I noticed absolutely no lag. Functionally, it’s an even match for Xbox Live, but Live’s unified structure makes the whole online hassle effectively invisible to the user, which is a great thing. Looking forward to lots of flying hours!

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