When you hear the name Tom Clancy, you think of his books first and then a very close second, the games that bear his name. The majority of his games, like the Rainbow Six collection are all about teamwork, stealth and tactics. The game I have for review today veers a bit off from the norm of his games, it’s called H.A.W.X. and it’s a flying game, not a flight simulator, more of an arcade style combat flight game. H.A.W.X. is set in the near future where corporations have basically replaced government run military in many countries, they’re mercenaries essentially.
H.A.W.X. places you in the shoes of an ex-military elite pilot who was recruited by one of these corporations to work for them as one of their pilots, fighting whoever, whenever you’re told to.
I don’t have any boxshots or anything for you, HAWX came bundled with the Thrustmaster T.1600M Joystick that I recently reviewed here, so it’s just a disc, and of course I played the game with the T.1600M as well.
Playing with the joystick is much more fun than using the mouse/keyboard combination, I think most any type of flying game is better with a joystick really though.
In the menu there are the standard settings for audio and you’ve got several settings for video including DX10 specific ones.
Under the Extras menu you can learn about the GeoEye satellite that’s used in the game, and see some sample pictures taken with it in real life.
ENHANCED REALITY SYSTEM (E.R.S.)
E.R.S. is in-game technology that helps turn novice aviators into elite pilots of the future. The Enhanced Reality System is the core of the HAWX flight experience: aircraft interception trajectories, incoming missile detection, anti-crash system, damage assessment, tactical map, and weapons trajectory control. E.R.S. also allows players to issue orders to their squadron and other units, making this system as iconic to HAWX as the Cross- Com system is to Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter!
Players can ease into their flight missions and gain a level of comfort with the use of the assistance mode. Once employed, players can take full advantage of their technological support through the E.R.S and gain maximum piloting security. If the situation calls for the player to unleash the full potential of the aircraft, the assistance mode can be switched off and all safety features will be deactivated. This comes with increased risks, but allows the player advanced dogfighting maneuvers and stunning third-person views.
For the first time ever in the air-combat genre, players will be able to experience the entire solo campaign with seamless JUMP IN/JUMP OUT functionality. In PVP mode, players can challenge each other in intense dog-fighting sessions and find out who’s the top gun. Winning players are rewarded with experience points and money to unlock more weapons.
REALISM AND TECHNOLOGY
Players have the opportunity to take the throttle of over 50 famous aircrafts, and take them over real world locations & cities in photo-realistic environments created with the best commercial satellite data on the civilian market.
In the beginning of each mission you’ll get a briefing as to what you’re objective is, you can also pick difficulty level as well, and in co-op play each player can select their own level.
After the briefing you get to select your plane and select the ordinance for it depending on what type of mission it is. When you start the game there aren’t many planes to choose from, but as you progress more will be unlocked. While you’re selecting your plane you can even zoom in and get a nice close up of it as well, some I thought was a nice added touch.
Since HAWX is not a flight sim, there’s no take off or landing, when the mission starts you’re thrown right in the cockpit at 10,000 feet and flying. You can change views like in the cockpit, out of the cockpit or chase plane view, personally I prefer the chase plane.
HAWX is about fighter combat, but most of it is hitting target on the ground or in the water, there’s really not much aerial dogfighting involved as you might expect there to be.
HAWX also features a unique flying system that can be switched on or off called assistance. Assisted flying allows the computer to help control your plane, it won’t stall if you slow the engines to much basically, but it also won’t allow you to do more difficult and dangerous maneuvers, and sometimes doing them or not doing them can mean the difference between life or death. When you switch to assistance off mode the view changes to like a spectator view, or a view from a plane a bit farther off. In this mode you’re free to fly pretty much anyway you want to , and that includes quickly dying if you don’t have the hang of it. In this view though it almost looks real, like something you might see in a movie, almost, but not quite, though it is still a lot of fun to fly this way. One thing about the whole assistance off mode is that it’s really not needed at all, you can play the whole game, besides the training, without ever needing to use it. It would have been nice if the developers had incorporated it into the game a bit more, maybe missions where you have to fly with assistance off.
In this next movie you can see the cockpit views and then flying with assistance off, one interesting thing is that you can basically reverse your plane by stalling it and flipping over, great tactic for when you’ve got bandits chasing you.
There’s another video HERE that mixes both modes.
If you don’t want to play a mission you can just pick Free Flight mode, this is also a great way to get the feel for a plane that you’ve never flown in combat and it’s a great way to practice flying. You can pick from many different places around the world to fly as well.
There’s a second part to the video located HERE.
While playing HAWX you’ll get to follow the story line, and when the game is finished you can go back and select the individual missions to play again if you wish. One complaint I could have is the game is rather short in single player, it would be nice if UBI came out with more mission packs for it along with more planes as well.
Online play is fun, but it’s a bit buggy, and last I checked they haven’t fixed the cheating that’s going on yet. It’s fun, but I would recommenced playing with people you know.
The storyline is rather bland, it’s military so expect monotony, you’ll be protecting something or escorting something more than once. I would have liked to have seen more missions where you were specifically where you were dogfighting, like maybe intercepting intruders or some such theme. It’s a flight combat game, aerial combat is to be expected, but it doesn’t really deliver on it.
The graphics for the landscape are ok, though I expected much better graphics from a new game and also considering it’s utilizing DX10. The graphics for the planes though are nicely done, you can tell that the production team put a lot into this part of the game. Little things like the heat from the thrusters causing a blurry view, and especially the inclusion of the Prandtl-Glauert Singularity or vapor cones or shock collars when your plane brakes the sound barrier are nice added touches. While in free flight I went and did it just to see it happen, nice little touch of realism.
One thing else that bugs me about HAWX is the patches, it hasn’t been out that long and a few patches were already released, I’m really tired of this trend where companies are making the end-users be their beta-testers. If you hop over to the HAWX forums you’ll see that there are even still more issues that need to be fixed with yet another or more patches, why do companies release games that are essentially not finished.
Playing HAWX is a lot of fun really, sure it’s not a flight simulator and it’s far from any of the other games bearing Tom Clancy’s name but for what it is it’s a lot of fun, a bit short in the single player mode but fun nonetheless.
If you’re looking for a flight simulator game or a dogfighting game then HAWX isn’t what you want really, at least in single player mode. You can go play online and dogfight all day long, but that’s not without it’s drawbacks either. It is worth it if you just want to have some fun flying planes in an arcade style.
-Fun game really
-Lots of planes to pick from
-Assistance off mode adds enjoyment
-Graphics are bland
-Storyline is bland as well
-Missions can get annoying and monotonous at times
-Online play needs some work