Review: Tom Clancy’s HAWX 2
Dog fights! Doesn't that just bring all the WW II nostalgia flooding back? Not really but it's more legal and exciting than pitting two terriers against each other.
- Worth The Time?Yes, mid-air dog fights never get old
- Things LovedOnce you get used to the flight and combat system, it becomes hours of endless fun shooting down enemy planes. The locations are vividly depicted as well, and often add their own elements to the dog fights.
- Things HatedThe arbitrary missions where you have to use the UAV and AC130. They don’t really engage you at all. Collision detection system is slightly “off”.
- RecommendationIt has co-op multiplayer for the missions, some challenging missions in the singleplayer and PVP capabilities in multiplayer as well. Although not all the missions are exciting, the aerial combat makes up for it.
- Name: Tom Clancy's HAWX 2
- Genre: Flight Sim
- Players: 1-4
- Multiplayer: Co-op, online
- Platforms: PC, PS3, Xbox 360
- Developer: Ubisoft
- Publisher: Ubisoft
- Price: R350 (PC), R600 (PS3, Xbox 360)
- Reviewed On: PC
When I first heard about this game, I was actually fairly excited about it. I had briefly played and seen the original HAWX in a LAN in Durban. It was fun, fairly easy to get the hang of and quite interesting to watch people try and fly.
So I decided to try and tackle HAWX 2. I do not claim to be an Xbox professional, in fact, far from that. After dusting off my controllers and getting my HDMI cable back, I was finally ready to go.
Before I even started the game I had some thought about what it will be like. Being developed and published by Ubisoft, I already knew there would be 1 or 2 aspects that seemed to lack detail. Almost all Ubisoft games do, besides the rare gem. I’ve always labelled them with companies like Activision, who tend to pump out games as fast as they can, instead of trying to develop their games a bit more and coming out with gems every time (e.g. Blizzard [not including WoW]).
However, that being said, I was also expecting the aerial combat to be well thought out and pretty fast paced. I’m a big fan of dog fights, and have always been a bit of a plane/helicopter junky in the Battlefield franchise. I also expected the terms “National Security”, “terrorist attacks” and that kind of mumbo-jumbo to come out a lot as well. Just like the 2nd Transformers movie, most combat games these days carry a fair amount of unavoidable American propaganda. I wasn’t disappointed either.
At the start of the single player missions, you play as Colonel David Crenshaw, but he soon fades into the cesspool of pilots from all over the world that you get to play, places like US, UK and Russia. The plot is not the strongest I’ve ever experienced, but predictably enough, the US and middle east seem to be in conflict, they throw the word “Nuclear threat” and “terrorist” at you, and then you get fly around. Many of the scenes before each of the missions could mostly be skipped, as they tend to “re-brief” you as soon as you are in game, and the rigidity in the graphics can be slightly mind-numbing.
The game itself starts off slowly, and I was grateful for that, as it gives you plenty of time to get to grips with the flight system, which by the end of the game you will need to have down to almost perfection to complete the final level. There are 32 different choices of plane, and you get to fly almost all the big names in the military world. There are obviously differences in speed and maneuverability, but all the planes seem to handle pretty well at the end of the day.
But you should be in fear. Those first few missions, you fly against AI that couldn’t open a jar of jam, but I’m afraid that soon changes. If there was a difficulty graph for this game, it would rise very suddenly. Towards the end of the game it becomes ridiculously challenging; something a true gamer will strive for. What I found annoying is the more missions you play, the more flares your opponents seemed to have (you use flares in game to divert homing missiles). I chased after 1 opponent for 10 minutes trying to get him down, but little did I know he was actually a mobile flare factory.
You may think that as an exciting prospect, but in “timed” missions, where you only have a certain amount of time to accomplish quite a lot, chasing after 1 plane for 10 minutes does not bode well for you completing the mission. Luckily they have a pretty cool Checkpoint System, so that you don’t have to do entire missions over again if you fail. If you load a checkpoint, you also get restored to full ammo and supplies, which is a bug that can actually help you in the longer missions.
The collision detection seems a bit aged for my taste. It looks like, as you skirt along a mountain chasing an enemy, that you have plenty of room, when suddenly you explode on the side of the mountain, left with nothing but a confused expression on your face. In this kind of game you expect almost pin point collision detection, as that will allow players to do and try more advanced combat manoeuvres. Sadly, this is not the case, and the collision detection system can sometimes leave you a bit disappointed. I just tended to stay away from mountains, which is easier said than done in some of the missions, but if you are not flying up against a well, there is no chance of you crashing into it.
Of course flying isn’t the only thing you get to do in this game. You get to take off and land as well, and for those of us who aren’t fully trained pilots, there is the “ERS” system (Enhanced Reality System) which guides you neatly into a landing. There are a few missions where you are a UAV, and have to spy on certain spots and vehicles to intercept information, and even a few missions as the gunner on an AC130 to provide cover for your Ghost forces (rather neat little inclusion of another Clancy franchise).
I think the most fun to be had in this game is from the Multiplayer. Although I was not able to actually play any Multiplayer, I have played the original HAWX against real people, and its hours of fun. Up to 8 players in a dog fight is highly satisfactory, especially when you homing missile lands directly on your friend’s cockpit.
So now to the big question, should you buy the game? I definitely think so. Flying combat planes does not get old at all, and many of the missions have the ability to be played over and over again without getting tedious. Factor that into 8 different multiplayer modes and you will be thoroughly satisfied. Just stick to flying planes and you won’t be disappointed.