Now it goes against every instinct in our kill-happy thumbs, but the key to a long life in Starhawk's roiling sea of plasma, space and death is building stuff. From simple defensive walls to supply bunkers stuffed with rocket launchers, cobbling together impenetrable bases to blunt enemy attacks is every bit as satisfying as zapping them with lasers.
It can be a slow burner though; we spent mucho time flicking through menus and deciding whether or not a sniper tower would ruin the feng shui of our base. The maps are huge and sparse, giving you time to plan. Running around spunking out bullets just doesn't happen - you'll need to strategise and co-ordinate with your mates.
Thankfully when it comes to the action, you've got a mouth-watering sci-fi toy box to play with. The same points you spend on buildings can also be splurged on mini-gun enabled buggies, jet-pack dispensers or best of all, Hawk jets. The latter are clomping robots that are slow, clumsy and easy missile fodder... until you transform them into laser-spitting death planes.
The most fun we had with Starhawk was piloting one of these babies. Naturally you can reach strategically advantageous positions and rain-down merry hell on opponents, support ground units with covering fire, or simply swoosh through asteroids looking really bloody cool. Dogfights between two expert Hawk pilots can be breathlessly exciting, the brief flurry of a mano-a-mano encounter adding spice to an otherwise team-centric experience.
We'd like to call Starhawk Battlefield in space; it's every bit as strategic, but at present the core shooting lacks punch and the game is visually flaky. Lightbox have two months to add polish and iron out any issues however.