By Chad Sapieha,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Uneven shooter blends tower defense tactics and fast action.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Starhawk wasn't created with educational intent, and we don't recommend it for learning.
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 & Scariness
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.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Light profanity, including the words "s--t" and "bitch" are heard in voiced dialogue throughout the game.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
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.
Where to Play
Videos and Photos
There aren't any parent reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.
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?
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.
Talk to Your Kids 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?
- Platform: PlayStation 3
- Subjects: Hobbies: building
- Skills: Collaboration: cooperation, meeting challenges together, teamwork, Thinking & Reasoning: decision-making, strategy
- Available online?: Not available online
- Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
- Release date: May 8, 2012
- Genre: Third-Person Shooter
- Topics: Space and Aliens
- ESRB rating: T for Blood, Language, Violence
- Last updated: August 29, 2016
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
Suggest an Update
Where to Play
Our Editors Recommend
Best Action Games for Kids
Car Racing Games
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.See how we rate