One of the games announced today at the Sony Pre-E3 press conference is WarHawk, the much anticipated flight-sim/shooter from SCEA studios and Incognito. Touted as a potential launch title, the classic remake has benefited from much publicity as of late, showing off the initial potential of Sony's new hardware masterpiece. After seeing it in action the results speak for themselves.
While there was no storyline unveiled regarding the title, the gameplay, consisting of piloting a fighter jet and shooting enemies out of the sky, spoke for itself. It also helped that the game looked simply amazing and brilliantly showcased the arcade feel of the flying mechanics. The game borrows greatly from the previous WarHawk title as well as more recent games like Crimson Skies. The biggest incentive for playing the game however wasn't the graphics but the new control mechanics made possible by the PS3 controller. Sony's new "six degrees of freedom" controller allows for the sensation of roll, pitch, and yaw to be present, demonstration a level of gameplay innovation rarely seen on current consoles. WarHawk is currently the only game that displays the gameplay capability for the new PS3 controller and should make a big impact when it's released in November. The game, predicted to be a console-seller, will provide players a brand new sensation by allowing them to control the aircraft in a unique way.
The actual movement of your jet fighter is done completely by the movement of the PS3 controller; the analog sticks themselves having very little purpose in the demo of the game. You make the plane climb by pointing the PS3 controller face up, and descend by aiming the controller face down. The banking is also handled by tilting the controller to the left or right. You're free to use any of those moves simultaneously and yes, initially it can get tricky at times to make the aircraft move in the right direction. For some reason, your fingers keep going for the analog stick instead of making the controller face the way you wish to go. But it's a small learning curve before you become a master at flying in this way. While you may have a hard time targeting enemies effectively at first, the game does have a lock-on feature that allows you to keep track of enemies even during movements in multiple directions.
The types of enemies available in the demo were battleships and small fighters. While the fighters were somewhat easy to take down with a couple of shots, the battleships have multiple points of weakness and it requires all of them to be hit before the battleship can be destroyed. In the current build, the small fighters tend to move on predictable patterns and the enemies don't seem to come after you. This is not the final version and all of these details should be fixed by the release date.
The actual airplane has a machine gun as the primary fire, and various other weapons for the secondary fire. There were only three secondary fire weapons available at the show and these included two different missile firing modes and an energy weapon that requires the player to charge it in order to get maximum effectiveness. One good thing about the energy weapon is that if you hit a small fighter with it, the lightning will move on and damage the other fighters close to it. Holding the secondary fire button takes care of the charging, while the normal missile mode just allows for one missile to be shot at the enemy. The third mode for secondary fire is the multiple missiles and it works by letting you lock-on to various enemies on screen while holding the secondary fire button. Once the button is released, missiles are fired towards the targeted enemies. WarHawk also promises a stationary mode for precision shooting.
According to one of the creators displaying the game at a PS3 "tower", the final version of the game will also have a landing capability and players will be able to step out of the airplane. What this aspect of the gameplay will add to the experience is unclear for now, but what is clear is that the current product is quite an enjoyable flight.