Starhawk

Common Sense Media says

Uneven shooter blends tower defense tactics and fast action.

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

Learning(i)

What parents need to know

Positive messages

This game sensationalizes violence, though of a sort clearly not of this world and impossible to emulate. Its story about two brothers on opposite ends of a war lightly explores the potential conflict between moral duty and family loyalty.

Positive role models

The game's hero is a good man, but uses violence to solve most of his problems. He's black, which is worth noting only because non-customizable, non-Caucasian protagonists remain a rarity in mainstream games.   

Ease of play

Controls should prove simple and intuitive, especially for people familiar with third-person shooters and tower defense games. The campaign isn’t particularly challenging, and multiple difficulty modes ensure that players of all skill levels are accommodated. However, online play may prove frustrating for rookies, who will likely find themselves up against veteran players who have mastered the skills necessary to expertly pilot the game's more powerful vehicles.

Violence

Players fire a variety of weapons -- pistols, rifles, rocket launchers -- at both human and semi-human enemies. Some attacks, such as quick knife slashes, briefly show a small amount of blood, and characters frequently call out in pain. Players can also board and control vehicles and emplace weapons capable of causing damage.

Sex
Not applicable
Language

Light profanity, including the words "s--t" and "bitch" are heard in voiced dialogue throughout the game.

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable
Privacy & safety

Serious privacy and safety concerns. Online modes allow players to engage in open voice communication, which raises the possibility that kids could be exposed to inappropriate language and topics of conversation and that they might share personal information.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Starhawk is an action game that combines elements of shooters and tower defense strategy games. Players will spend much of their time in third-person combat and helming powerful vehicles, killing humanoid enemies by the dozen amid shouts and moderate blood effects, as well as devising defensive tactics. The game's hero is a good man, but he uses violence as a cure-all and isn't a particularly positive role model. Parents should also be aware that this game supports voice chat-enabled multiplayer.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Hobbies

  • building

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • decision-making
  • strategy

Collaboration

  • cooperation
  • meeting challenges together
  • teamwork

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

Learning Approach

Support

What kids can learn

Subjects

Hobbies

  • building

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • decision-making
  • strategy

Collaboration

  • cooperation
  • meeting challenges together
  • teamwork

Starhawk wasn't created with educational intent, and we don't recommend it for learning.

This Learning Rating review was written by Chad Sapieha

Parents say

Kids say

What's it about?

The PlayStation 3-exclusive STARHAWK is a sci-fi themed shooter with a Western bent. Players take the role of a man who protects interplanetary frontiersmen harvesting valuable \"rift\" energy from the Outcast -- human miners exposed to excessive amounts of the stuff. Problem is, the Outcast's leader is his brother, which complicates things. Action isn’t limited simply to shooting bad guys with guns. Players must also strategically place a variety of defensive structures -- walls, turrets, bunkers -- which are instantly dropped from orbit. This gives the game a bit of a tower defense twist that may appeal to fans of strategy games. Then there are the Starhawk mechs, powerful robots that players can use to march over land and zoom through the sky. The quick campaign serves mostly to acquaint players with all of the options and strategies at their disposal. Most players are apt to spend the majority of their time online, going up against up to 32 other players in epic frays set on massive maps.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

There are plenty of good ideas tucked away in Starhawk, but they tend to get in each other’s way. The interesting story, focused on a conflict between brothers, shows promise, but its telling is relegated to lackluster drawings that pop up between missions. Plus, campaign levels are uninspired and consist mostly of players being ordered around a map to defend and attack various locations and targets.  

The game fares better online, but still fails to soar. Building and defending bases is a lot of fun, and the game's vehicles are a blast to pilot. However, success depends on two things: coordinated team efforts (which are tricky in public matches with up to 32 players) and whether you have any decent pilots on your side. Matches often feel frustratingly lopsided, especially if one side has a couple of skilled pilots and the other has none. Starhawk is likely to work up a small, rabid following of dedicated players, but most casual shooter fans are likely to leave in frustration.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about violence in media. How can you be sure that your kids have a healthy perspective on the violence that appears in the media they consume? Ask them to describe how they feel after playing a violent game.

  • Families can also discuss online safety. What would you do if you encountered an online predator or bully?

Game details

Platforms:PlayStation 3
Price:$59.99
Available online?Not available online
Developer:Sony Computer Entertainment
Release date:May 8, 2012
Genre:Third-person shooter
Topics:Space and aliens
ESRB rating:T for Blood, Language, Violence (PlayStation 3)

This review of Starhawk was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

Find out more

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Teen, 17 years old Written bySAM_626_95 May 29, 2012
AGE
13
QUALITY
 
LEARNING

CSM star rating way off!

I agree with everything common sense says except star rating. This is the best multi player exclusive ps3 has to offer. Its not just about aimless shooting its vehicular base building conflict. IGN 9.0/10
What other families should know
Too much violence
Safety and privacy concerns
Teen, 14 years old Written byBlendercat May 11, 2012
AGE
14
QUALITY
 
LEARNING

Confusing, but great

This is a very good game. The game, at least online, teaches you about basic strategy and... well, that's it. The campaign is little more than a teacher for the real deal, the online. Beware, as here there are ruthless people playing only to win. The majority however, is gamers looking for a good time. You can create your own servers, which allows you to change available structures in 'loadouts.' For example, the 'Ground Pounder' loadout is geared towards vehicular combat, with repair stations, supply bunkers, and no aerial vehicles. You can also turn off voice chat, I believe, and set the time and player limit. This allows you to start with smaller matches before going to 16-on-16. You can also filter results in the server list. Overall, this game seems challenging, but with practice, it becomes a great experience. CONTENT: Some knife kills can get a bit graphic, such as slitting a target's throat or jumping onto their back and stabbing them. Blood spurts from a successful knife strike, and it splatters the screen when hit. Language is minimal, but there is quite a bit of violence.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Teen, 16 years old Written bythguywhoknowsit July 4, 2012
AGE
11
QUALITY
 

ok for pre-teens

i played starhawk alot and think it would be ok for kids at the age of 11 or 12 being 15 i am a gamer and i think putting it T was a good choice and its not anything like call of duty with insane violence. the game does have guns and killing in it but the games mostley based on strategey rather than killing the smoking and landuge comes for the single player(which is not that good) the star of the game is multiplayer and has none of that .but some pepole of the headsets may swear but u can mute them.so thats what i think
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking

Poll

Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Poll

What are the different ways that you access Common Sense Media ratings and information? (Check all that apply)

Essential Apps Guide