After seventeen weeks of beta testing, Starhawk has been analyzed over and over again by its community through various forms of media- Facebook, Twitter, its own beta forums and other corners of the Internet has had discussions on which mechanics need to stay, and which need to be improved upon.
This is not the story for that.
Rather, I'd like to recall my first times having my go at the game. I had been able to attend PAX Prime 2011 (in which you will see the shirt I had received there in my profile pic.) I had been admitted to the Closed Beta phase on November 22nd of last year. My first time playing was actually quite abysmal to where my knowledge of the gameplay stands now, but then again, who couldn't blame me after drooling over the shiny new successor to one of the greatest multiplayer games of all time?
It was late August, and I had gotten off work on an early shift and was hastily making my way into downtown Seattle to not only get into PAX, but also meet with a few buddies and get to the PS Booth. Once those objectives were completed, I managed to find my way to the Starhawk section, where there were 10 stations set up for some Capture the Flag on the Space map.
It took about 15 minutes to get into a match (not too bad,) and from there, it was time to experiment! First thing on my list to do was to spawn in anywhere in the base- (Sweet, I don't have to spawn in backwards like in some situations in Killzone 3!) That lead to me experimenting with the Drop Pod, in which I remembered a discussion that game studio Lightbox Interactive's president, Dylan Jobe, mentioned that anything that falls off the platform will continue to fall and be pulled into the planet's gravity and thus dissolve into a death- my experimentation lead me to that death while still in the Drop Pod. I ran through other experiments, where I built a garage for a Razorback (I immediately loved it) and ran over a few enemies with it before getting blown up somehow; I later set up a Launch Pad to fly a few laps around before getting shot down (needless to say, Flight is incredibly different.) Before the demo ended, I ran over to the enemy's base and set up a Sniper Tower (now called the Watchtower,) and proceeded to destroy two machinegun turrets and kill a few enemies before time expired.
Afterwards, a buddy and I proceeded to have a 'filmed discussion' on our thoughts on Starhawk. He had no prior experience with Warhawk, but I did, so we had an interesting dynamic going on about how the game translates between those familiar with the series and those who don't. Unfortunately, all of which I had mentioned about Warhawk was cut out- we were given two appearances in the Starhawk Reaction Trailer at 0:30 and 2:20 on the video.
Fast forward to November- I had received my invite for the Closed Beta, and after a 1.3 gigabyte install, it was time to see how things played once again. After getting a full understanding of the size and routes on the Space map, attacking the opposition became much easier. I figured out soon enough that players need to gain rift as frequently as possible to not only build up the base, but also get the tools needed to get into the enemy's base, take their flag, then capture it. Hell, the first night, I discovered the Welding Torch and used it on an enemy base that had ~10 walls around the flag, plus various machinegun- and beam-turrets. My team was down by one flag with two minutes left in the match, and I managed to capture two flags in 90 seconds.
That night was so enjoyable, it felt like Christmas in November. Well, I know that most retailers want to make you believe it already is then, but I digress. I've participated in twelve betas, and the Starhawk is as memorable, if not moreso, than the Killzone 2 beta.