Republished on Wednesday 21 September 2022: It’s Warhawk’s 15th anniversary, so we thought we’d bring this soapbox back from the archives to celebrate the classic PS3 shooter.
The year 2007 was a particularly good vintage for online multiplayer. Most notably, it was the year Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare launched, and its impact cannot be overstated: it changed the landscape of multiplayer shooters for good. While I absolutely loved my time playing Infinity Ward’s seminal FPS, another PS3 shooter released a few months earlier had already won me over. Its name was Warhawk.
Obviously, this third-person shooter was a smaller-scale offering than the mighty Call of Duty. There was no offline play, and no single-player campaign; It was online only, a relatively foreign concept in console gaming at the time. It had a limited number of maps, weapons and game modes. You can command a variety of vehicles, including the titular fighter jets. While you could level up to unlock various customization options, Warhawk wasn’t really operating on the same level as Modern Warfare. The thing is, though, that didn’t happen need to be It was a simple game, but everything in it was amazing.
Despite initial problems with the server disconnecting, I couldn’t stop playing it. Engaging in a round of Team Deathmatch, piloting a fighter jet/helicopter hybrid Warhawk to places where I can find weapon pickups, and engaging in tense firefights with enemy players—it’s straightforward but It was endless fun. There was nothing particularly unique about this game, except for the aforementioned transforming ships, but I was forced to stick with it for hours and hours regardless.
I really appreciated how vulnerable it was. All of the weapons, most of which were standard archetypes like assault rifles and rocket launchers, were useful in one way or another. Likewise, all vehicles had an aim, and even the anti-air gun, in which you were a sitting duck, could prove too handy. I distinctly remember the sound design being a real strength, with impressive gunfire and explosions, and the whooshes of warhawks flying overhead all the time. Sound also aided gameplay; Shooting things in this game was really nice. Kill times were generous, as you could recover from potentially sticky situations, and every elimination felt satisfying.
You can also pull off some crazy stuff. I remember the delicious overkill of using binoculars to airstrike a hapless soldier, or blowing a Warhawk out of the sky with a well-placed shot from a tank. If you were good enough, you could use a sniper rifle to one-shot the Warhawk’s pilot, and it would not only kill the player, but it would blow up the plane. I could list many more things like this, but needless to say, it was really, really fun to be with very few elements.
Because the ships were so important to the experience, each map had a lot of verticality, and there were lots of cool waypoints and secret spots to explore. While I mostly played team deathmatch, other modes like capture the flag and zones were equally fun. Even with the new map and other bits and pieces released after launch, the content was on the thin side, but I didn’t mind — it was an unpredictable, moreish multiplayer game that I’d still be happy to play today.
Unfortunately, the odds are stacked against a revival. The online servers were shut down, and the studio behind the game, Incognito Entertainment, no longer exists. However, I think Warhawk could thrive on the PS5. The ideal scenario would be a remake that keeps the gameplay feeling the same while refreshing the visuals for a modern audience. Perhaps the answer would be to make it free-to-play, and continue with cosmetic-based microtransactions and new maps every once in a while. Heck, it’s even perfect for battle royale mode.
Sony’s apparent interest in the multiplayer space gives me the tiniest glimmer of hope that this might happen. We also know that the platform holder is producing several live service games, and this shooter will slot perfectly into that framework. I know it’s realistic to expect Warhawk to return, so I’m not holding my breath, but I think about it on PS5 with 3D audio, DualSense features, and better visuals and performance, and I’m suddenly something else. don’t want to drive .
Do you agree with Stephen? Should Warhawk return to our lives on PS5? Give your opinion in the comment section below.
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