updated 5/17/2012 1:55:51 PM ET 2012-05-17T17:55:51

Sony continues to churn out quality exclusive releases for its PlayStation 3 console. A semi-sequel to the company’s online-only "WarHawk" title, the new "Starhawk" is a thrilling action/adventure game where you can fight either on the ground or in the air — shooting soldiers on foot or using a mechanized gunship or robot unit to do even more damage.

The events in the game take place in the near future, where something called “rift energy” is a popular commodity. A number of human soldiers find themselves defending this energy from a group of enemies known as the Outcasts, who want to harvest it for themselves. Torn between the two sides is your playable character, Emmett. On the one side, his conflict with the Outcasts has become personal, as his brother fights alongside them. On the other, he’s actually a carrier of rift energy, and he can feel it changing inside him.

Choosing how you complete objectives is part of the creative joy of "Starhawk." Sometimes, you’ll be asking fly-by crews to drop off equipment, such as mining gear, an assault tower or automated turrets. The rest of the time, you’ll be fending off attacks from the Outcasts.

The game's five-hour single-player story is fairly good, with airborne and on-the-ground objectives. But it really sets the stage for the online component. Here, you can join up with friends for co-op missions or go all-out in multiplayer competition. The latter is far better, as you’ll run into unpredictable online battles that will really test your mettle. "Starhawk" is as good as online gaming gets on the PlayStation Network.

The game is quite easy to get into, whether you’re on the ground or in a droid unit. The single-player campaign really walks you through how everything works, though there’s still room for trial and error, depending how you choose to complete a mission. The story is backed by excellent comic-style sequences and voice acting.

"Starhawk" is enjoyable if you’re playing on your own. But if you have an online connection, the party really picks up.

RATING: 3.5 / 4

© 2012 TechNewsDaily


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