reviews\ Sep 22, 2010 at 8:00 pm

Tom Clancy's HAWX 2 review


Ubisoft’s latest Tom Clancy title, HAWX 2, is a flight combat game that utilizes futuristic technology, aircraft, and weaponry. The experience is not limited to its exciting dogfights – there are also missions that involve UAV recon and obliterating insurgents with an AC-130.

Obvious effort and care went into the plot, but the storyline is difficult to follow unless you enjoy watching military officials drone on about orders, terrorists, or doomsday scenarios. I applaud Ubisoft’s effort in blending this story arc with titles such as Splinter Cell: Conviction and Ghost Recon: Future Warfighter. On the other hand, splitting the story between multiple factions makes the plot difficult to follow, and HAWX 2 is guilty of this.

Regardless, the cinematic scenes and in-game cut-scenes are presented with an excellent score that sets the mood throughout the game. I definitely found myself more engaged as I tore through the campaign. It helps that the visuals use a nifty “GeoEye” satellite-imaging technology, so all of the environments look fantastic. The weapon effects, aircraft designs, and visual filters (night-vision, infrared) are also impressive. It was marvelous shooting the water with the AC-130's machine guns, making patterns and shapes with the infrared filter turned on.

The intuitive flight controls and user interface make playing HAWX 2 a breeze. It is simple to understand the HUD, which helps you avoid missiles, locate enemies, and monitor your speed. Even the take-off/landing sequences are not a pain in the ass, as I expected – I enjoyed the prep talks before each mission, and celebrating success with a graceful landing was rewarding.

HAWX 2 extends its replay value with PEC Challenges and Ubisoft’s “Uplink” service, similar to Splinter Cell: Conviction. There are multiplayer modes for Xbox Live/PSN, split-screen, and co-op. The single-player campaign features 15 missions, so having this extra bit of content is a nice bonus. Although the online multiplayer modes are not the most exciting features in the game, HAWX 2 has a decent community of players ready for action, so you won’t feel lonely searching for a match.

I was decently surprised by how much I enjoyed playing HAWX 2. Compared to recent flight combat games like Top Gun and Ace Combat, Ubisoft’s latest is an ace, but it could still learn a few tricks before HAWX 3 takes off in the future. For example, the new refueling sequences were a great idea, but they are too difficult to perform consistently. Also, one mission requires you to protect your naval allies from ground and air targets. I constantly had trouble switching between the different missiles to destroy the countless SAM sites and enemy fighters that continued to sink my allies with ease.

Tom Clancy’s HAWX 2 proves that the series has what it takes to fly higher than most dogfighting games. I was satisfied far more often than I was frustrated, and though the plot could have been a little better, the intuitive HUD and smooth controls kept me playing without being overwhelmed. I always enjoyed Rogue Leader and Crimson Skies, but HAWX 2 is one of the genre’s best in recent years.


About The Author
Cliff Bakehorn My name is Cliff Bakehorn III. I write reviews and other game-related articles as a free-lancer for Game Zone. I live in Bloomington, Indiana - home of the Hoosiers. I have always enjoyed video games, and writing about them professionally has been my ambition for most of my life. My favorite video game franchises include Legend of Zelda, Pokemon, Final Fantasy, God of War, the early Tony Hawk video games (THPS-Underground), Grand Theft Auto, Metal Gear Solid, Madden, Tetris, Mario Kart, Banjo-Kazooie, Super Smash Brothers, Tekken, Metroid, and Halo.
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