Plunging into the world of elite aerial soldiers, experience how it feels to fly hundreds a few in the sky with the world’s most technologically advanced aircrafts in 'Tom Clancy’s H.A.W.X. 2.' Evolved from its initial run we will see if H.A.W.X. 2 has what it takes to dominate the skies.
'Tom Clancy' games are not only about a man named 'Sam Fisher,' or a team of 'Ghosts,' they now take to the high skies of modern warfare. In their second run, 'Ubisoft Romania' tries their hand at creating another high-impact aerial combat game. After a mediocre response to the original, H.A.W.X. 2 addresses several issues while trying to keep this dying genre alive.
What would a War Game be without a Middle Eastern conflict?
The story in H.A.W.X. 2 should be familiar territory for all 'Tom Clancy' fans. Welcome to another war revolving around a conflict in the Middle East that turns into a Russian involved conspiracy. Not surprising, and mildly interesting, the narrative serves its purpose to move the player along, just don’t expect to get too attached. Mysterious weapon disappearances, failed assassination attempts, here we go again.
To keep things fresh, H.A.W.X. 2 takes a page from the ‘Call of Duty’ gamut of gameplay by letting the player control multiple soldiers representing America, Britain and Russia. Each soldier has it slightly altered take on the event with its own distant team mates, supporting characters, and objectives. Having a few contrasting pilots isn't a ground-breaking addition, but it helps break up the monotony of only flying under one flag.
Dumbed Down is a Good Thing
The core gameplay in H.A.W.X. 2 sits between a dumbed down simulation experience and an arcade style shooter. Having the game dumbed down from sim isn’t a bad point, it’s quite the opposite. Compared to a real flight-sim, HAWX gets you up in running in seconds without a full keyboard of commands to remember. The points are all there to make you feel like you are flying the real deal, but its not uber detailed to alienate its audience. Making their point to make H.A.W.X. 2 feel more like a hybrid is the inclusion of taking off from a runway and landing, and if you have played a flying game in the past, these can make up some of the best moments in the game.
This dumbed down approach also makes H.A.W.X. 2 appealing to new gamers who want to try the aerial combat genre. In the initial stages of the games H.A.W.X. 2 goes easy on the player by balancing the story along with the tutorial. You might see some of the swerves coming. However, most the game will keep you interested and learning.
Buttons, you’re Covered
The trickiest part about H.A.W.X. 2 is mastering the controls. The console(s) controllers have enough buttons, but how you interact with them in comparison to most games will likely change. The four triggers on PS3, or triggers and LB/RB on the Xbox 360 will have to be gripped with a finger hovering over each button to the quickest results… something that is critical in a fast paced game like H.A.W.X. 2. The reason for this is because they control your side to side movement and the up and down movements of the thruster. The face buttons are for weapon related charges and the two analog sticks for tilting the plane and controlling the outside camera. Needless to say, H.A.W.X. 2 takes a good 15 minutes to settle in, and although you won’t feel super confident after the training you will be ready to take on each mission as they ramp up the challenge.
Adding more turmoil into the mix is a fairly adaptive A.I. with enemies who can give you a good run. Dogfights are usually the most intense moments of the game with several close calls and G-Force testing missile weaves. H.A.W.X. 2 definitely has some exciting moments, which helps dull out the time flying between objectives. Although it can be overwhelming in big skirmishes, H.A.W.X. 2 does it's best to train you to keep your sense focused. With this I should add a buyer beware, if you easily get sick from lots of in-game motion, H.A.W.X. 2 isn’t going to be for you.
Aside from the normal fighter missions, you will get to pilot UAVS comparable to the ‘Call of Duty: Modern Warfare’ series. The UAVS and their green tinted night vision are stealth styled missions that have you in some doing some long range covert recon. These missions don’t really stand out, since; we have been done this road before. Although some gamers might enjoy the change of pace because straight up dogfighting can become repetitious after a while.
Lastly, to extend your playtime within H.A.W.X. 2 you can take on some additional challenges, work for achievements/trophies, unlock over 30 new planes, explore the multiplayer components (co-op and 8 vs. 8 dogfights.) XP is also rewarded throughout the game, which is how you unlock the new planes or add on some nicely picked perks. H.A.W.X. 2 doesn’t go overboard with content, setting for a nicely packed together package with sufficient extras to keep you doing loops for sometime after you have finished the campaign.
'Tom Clancy’s H.A.W.X. 2' doesn’t challenge itself enough to put a spotlight around Ubisoft Romania’s efforts. Similar to the first H.A.W.X., we have a fairly conventional plot that helps push forward the narrative into even more standardized missions. To help break up this action we have a few different nationalities to fly under, however the core game remains untouched. When you add all the features up, H.A.W.X. 2 is an improvement over the original, but there is still room to grow. I have no doubt; H.A.W.X. 2 will become the number one arcade-sim aerial combat game for the consoles, its just not going to happen this time around. Catch you next time Maverick.
Gameplay:6.5, Graphics:6.5, Sound:6.0, Innovation:6.5, Mojo:7.0 Final: 6.5 / 10
Reviewed by Downtown Jimmy | 09.24.10
- Engaging dogfights
- Different nationalities are a nice diversion
- UAVS missions help break up the monotony
- Authentic modelled fighter planes
- Take off and landings
- Story isn’t too gripping
- A.I. takes some shortcuts
- Dogfighting can be nauseating
- Production values are below the Tom Clancy standard
Similar Games: Over G Fighters (6.0) | Blazing Angels (6.5) | TC: GRAW 2 (9.5)