E3 06: Warhawk Impressions

One of the launch titles for the original PlayStation is back on the PlayStation 3. Cluster missiles and Immelman turns abound in this new version of Warhawk.

LOS ANGELES--Warhawk is back! The first Warhawk game was a launch title for the original PlayStation, and now it's being used as a technological benchmark for the PlayStation 3.

Although the demo we were shown was very short, it was impressive. The newly announced motor controls of the PlayStation 3 controller were used to tilt the ship in the game left and right as the controller was moved around, with extreme tilts of the controller resulting in barrel rolls, which any player of the original Warhawk will remember as being one of the primary defensive maneuvers, along with Immelman turns, which are themselves present and accounted for.

The ship itself looks more like an F-15 or another modern fighter jet than the boxy ship featured in the original Warhawk, but some design similarities still exist. One completely new feature is the ability to engage in vertical landings, thanks to your ship's ability to shift its exhausts straight down to engage in a cushioned landing. No telling whether or not this will be used for take-offs as well, but it makes sense that it would.

In terms of combat, we weren't treated to any particularly great footage, but what was on display still looked quite nice. The classic red diamonds are still used to designate your lock-on targets, while cluster missiles appeared to make a brief appearance in the show as well. It appears as though one of the larger enemy ships in the demo was denoted with a bright red triangle, while the actual targets that were being painted for guided missile firing were lit with diamonds that were nearly imperceptible on the screen but did have an audio ping to denote that you've locked on. Overall, the combat looks pretty sharp, with high-powered machine gun strafing runs, and presumably the usual array of dumb-fire and guided missiles at your disposal.

Of course, the graphical aspects of the game look fairly stunning at this point. The ships themselves look beautiful, and although the playing area was fairly small, the water and the ground both appeared to be well detailed. The clouds are particularly worth calling out, as they appear to be constructed of a well-made fog effect. While they don't break around your ship as you pass through them, they still manage to hide your ship from view for a second or two as you travel through. Whether or not this will be used for any gameplay effects in the shipping game is unknown; it'd be interesting to use cloud cover to evade enemy fighters or missile locks, or something similar.

Noticeably absent from this trailer was any hint of the ground troops that were featured in last year's E3 trailer, so we're not sure if the game will have any kind of ground-oriented squad combat. We'll do our best to find out more on that and other aspects of Warhawk as they become available, so stay tuned to GameSpot.

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