Last year Sony brought WarHawk to the PS3 and delivered hours of insane fast-paced action to gamers all across the globe. Being a multiplayer only affair, the game had pretty much no storyline and put the player straight into a hectic battlefield where up to 32 players went at each other with all manner of vehicles and weapons.
Because the original game only contained five maps, Sony released an add-on pack late last year titled Operation: Omega Dawn to compensate. However, due to the uninspired map design, it was received with little praise and therefore less rotation online. Now Incognito and Sony have released the second add-on pack called Broken Mirror, and it would appear that they have been listening to feedback from their online community.
Broken Mirror is set in a region known as Vaporfield Glacier, and as the name would imply, it's a desolate arctic environment. Visually, the game looks originally fresh after previously playing in dusty brown terrains, however the icy conditions are purely visual. Vehicles and ground troops don’t behave differently in the snowy conditions and the controls remain identical.
Vaporfield Glacier is divided into ten arenas and allows for the four different modes of play – Capture the Flag, Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch and Zones. For huge battles, Tundra Assault is a vast map that allows for the maximum 32 player count. Luckily, unlike Omega Dawn which also had massive maps, the action in Tundra Assault seems to be more frequent with an improved layout. Although there may be some commuting from place to place, it usually isn’t long before you get entangled in some serious combat with 32 other frozen maniacs all running around.
The other nine arenas (Battleline, Espionage, Spearhead, Olasvik Village to name a few) vary from smaller battles of around 24 players all the way down to intimate deathmatch maps. Every map is designed with a good deal of balance between aerial assault and ground units so every playing style is catered for, regardless of your preference. However, there is a new map called Dogfight that is purely intended for epic battles in your WarHawks. It features narrow archways of ice and should test even pilots who have mastered the controls of the tricky aircraft.
But it’s not just the new maps that are a draw-card. Broken Mirror also introduces an intriguing new ground vehicle known as the Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC). Although this doesn’t sound very inspired, this APC definitely isn’t your average people mover. It is available to both the Chernovan and Eucadian forces and can ferry up to seven soliders (including the driver) at any one time. Each passenger has the ability to shoot from small hatches at the side of the vehicle and can move surprisingly fast and is well armoured. The APC even includes a turbo booster feature that can be used to ram enemy vehicles with devastating effect.
But the main ability of the APC is that it can be used as a mobile spawn point as long as there is a driver inside. This feature is complimented by the APC’s ability to generate a dome-like shield around itself that prevents any enemy fire from penetrating it, but still allowing your units to shoot from within. The shield surrounds the APC by roughly a 5 meter diameter, allowing for a decent handful of troops to be covered from enemy fire when near it. The shield only prevents ballistics though and enemy soliders can simply walk through it if they are allowed close enough.
This APC opens up a whole new level of tactics to the battlefield as it can create a portable base anywhere on the map, including within an opponent’s line of defences. However in practice, this new vehicle may prove to change many of the dynamics of the game that people have grown to love.
Broken Mirror also updates the ten existing maps that we have previously seen to allow for APC units. But don’t worry about compatibility as the game includes settings to toggle the expansion pack extras to connect with players who don’t possess it.
Broken Mirror finally includes the latest patch, bringing the game to v1.3, and fixes most of the bugs discovered since release. The update also introduces some new elements to the gameplay such as the ability to give your soliders wrenches that allow them to repair vehicles on foot. These tweaks along with the additional maps are more than likely bound to keep the frag counts alive in the growing WarHawk online community.