I was really excited when news of this game originally hit the internet. The miniatures where just astounding in design and quality. When it finality came out I was a bit disappointed. It was a bit more expensive than I would have liked. I had just bought into Dust, and 6th edition was on the horizon. So I gave it a pass.
Fast forward 8 months. Dust is cool, but I have no regular opponents to play against. I've played 6th edition like 3 times in the past 6 months. Oh, and GW has been especially more GWish of late. My defenses where down when Jerry was selling the starters at 20% off at the Indy Open. I picked up the PHR starter and a rule book.
The models are every bit as quality as I expected. A few resin related issues with them. Small bubbles and slightly gritty detail in places. But these where the exception. The APCs where my only big gripe. They are split into two pieces right down the center, and leave a pretty nasty gap to fill when you stick them together. Superglue also works pretty well on the models, unlike some other companies' resin figures. My set also was missing two parts, but I emailed Hawk Wargames and replacements are already in the mail. Hawk Wargames should really do a Kickstarter to get these done as injection molded plastic.
The rule book has some layout issues, but overall it's well organized and the rules are clear. The writing on some of the the fluff sections is pretty bad, but thankfully there's only a few pages of it.
The game is terrain intensive. They've baked in urban combat into the system, and the game does it really well. You need infantry to enter buildings and secure objectives, but infantry are slow and squishy. That's where the tanks come in. Unfortunately the tanks aren't that much faster. That's where the drop-ships come in. Flyers are another feature that are baked right into the game. They work and are an essential part of game play. While most ground vehicles can only move 2-4 inches in a turn, a drop ship can move upwards of 12. This makes them essential for mobility and taking objectives. The game also has fast-mover strike aircraft that can do high speed runs across the battlefield. The flyers are just squishy enough, and AA is just plentiful enough that you have to be smart about how you use them.
Another neat thing the game does is it has two separate ranges for weapons. The longer range is for attacking units without active countermeasures. The shorter range is against targets that do. Most vehicles are equipped with AC, so you end up having effective ranges of 12-24. But buildings and infantry are fair game, and if you can see them, you can typically hit them from across the table. You can also remodel the battlefield by destroying buildings.
One downside to the rules I see is that infantry have little use outside of securing buildings. They usually don't carry heavy enough weapons to be a threat against armored units, and most everything carries a machine gun or two that is more than capable of tearing up an infantry unit. Though, currently each faction only has a basic and close quarters specialist infantry unit. It looks like some other types are on the horizon that are more specialized to stand-up fights.
I'm probably going to round out a 1500-2000 point PHR army. I really think this should be the Sci-Fi war game we should all be playing. It's scaled to produce the big battles 40K tries to give us, while providing enough room for maneuver and tactics. It handles all the dynamic battle stuff that other games tend to fail at like flyers. While the models are on the expensive side they have very good quality and design. The game ends up being in the FoW price range. You should be able to build a decent 2000 pt list for 200-250 dollars.