Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X.


By: Tristan Clark    On: PlayStation 3
Published: Monday 16 Mar 2009 10:00 AM
 
 
 
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Tom Clancy sure does get around, doesn’t he? Not content with thwarting terrorists, thwarting other terrorists, and sneaking around, he’s now taken to the skies. Tom Clancy’s H.A.W.X (don’t ask me what that stands for) is an arcade flight game that combines high production values and accessible gameplay, but won’t necessarily hold your attention for too long.

H.A.W.X is set a few years into the future, and basically shares a similar ethos to the Ghost Recon series – namely, near-future technology being deployed to fight the bad guys. In fact, the two games share the same world – some of the missions will have you providing air assistance to the Ghost Recon guys, which is a nice touch.

Beyond that, the main campaign is fairly standard. You’re tasked with a range of missions that will have you bombing ground targets, fighting with other planes, or – gasp – a mixture of both. Protect, escort, and chase missions add a bit of variety, but couldn’t really hold my interest through the entire campaign. The story is also fairly stock standard – again, just think of a flying Ghost Recon.

The controls, I believe, are possibly the best part of the game. They’re accessible and solid – and also heavily arcade-like. This really isn’t a flight sim, folks – you’ll be soaring around taking down targets with ease soon after picking up the controller. Planes are particularly maneuverable and are stocked with a pretty absurd number of missiles.

Also, do you remember all those arcade flight games back in the day that made you fly through a huge number of annoying loops in tutorials? I seem to remember Star Fox (hah, and Superman 64…) being a pretty bad case. Well, they’re kind of back – but this time, they’re nicely integrated into the gameplay. When you’re targeting someone, or have been locked onto, you can hit a button to activate a bunch of triangles onscreen. These are dynamically made to show you where to fly to track down your foe or avoid getting blown up. It’s a good idea, and while it might make things a fair bit easier, it also cuts down on the frustration.

The easy-going gameplay, however, belies a lack of depth. While the main campaign will take you a little while to get through, and gaining levels/unlocking planes adds to the value, it all starts feeling repetitive. As always, multiplayer is meant to come to the rescue here, and definitely helps in H.A.W.X. Flying co-op through campaign missions is much more fun than going at it by yourself – I definitely recommend hopping online to find a wingman if you can. The versus modes are more limited – there’s not much variety to blowing people apart in the sky, and it lacks the immediacy of, say, a first person shooter. It doesn’t help that for the most part, you’ll be effectively doing battle with triangles and squares – you often engage at a range that makes it impossible to see much of the enemy. Having said that, if you’re into your aerial dogfights, you’ll find something to like here.

The presentation of the game is nicely polished for the most part. From a distance, everything looks really good in-game. Up close, however, H.A.W.X kind of suffers from what most flight games do – bad terrain! Seriously, those 2D pixilated trees look like they were ripped from Daggerfall. Still, I feel bad complaining about that – while you’re frantically chasing enemies, the graphics are more than adequate. The audio is more consistently polished – the voice acting is of a high quality, the music is suitably rousing, and the gunfire/explosion noises pack a punch.

It’s hard to really recommend this game simply because a lot of people might not play it for all that long. Sure, there’s enough here to warrant the price tag – but you might find it hard going staying interested in the campaign. The multiplayer likewise suffers a bit from a lack of variety. Having said that, if you’re a Tom Clancy fan, you might get a kick out of the setting – and if you’re in the mood for an arcade flying game that’s easy to pick up, you can do a lot worse than H.A.W.X.


The Score

Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X.
"Fun for a while, but doesn't really hold up."
7.2
Good
Rating: PG   Difficulty: Easy   Learning Curve: 15 Min

 

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Comments (11)

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Grunt of God
On Monday 16 Mar 2009 4:20 PM Posted by Grunt of God
It blatently stands for....Hippos Attack With....X-32's...
 
 
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guitar hero
On Monday 16 Mar 2009 5:44 PM Posted by guitar hero
16 March 2009, 04:20 PM Reply to Grunt of God
It blatently stands for....Hippos Attack With....X-32's...
Ohhh I always wondered what it meant
 
 
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alienhominid
On Monday 16 Mar 2009 7:27 PM Posted by alienhominid
stands for High Altitude Warfare. the X is just extra.
 
 
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Mr.Deflok
On Monday 16 Mar 2009 8:34 PM Posted by Mr.Deflok
The X makes it extreme.
 
 
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alienhominid
On Monday 16 Mar 2009 8:46 PM Posted by alienhominid
16 March 2009, 08:34 PM Reply to Mr.Deflok
The X makes it extreme.
exactly!
 
 
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Sammael
On Tuesday 17 Mar 2009 1:18 PM Posted by Sammael
16 March 2009, 07:27 PM Reply to alienhominid
stands for High Altitude Warfare. the X is just extra.
Because HAW just sounds redneck?
 
 
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Grunt of God
On Tuesday 17 Mar 2009 4:41 PM Posted by Grunt of God
What about.... Helicopters Are Waxing Xenophobes....You know it makes sense!
 
 
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djkicks NZGamer.com VIP VIP Gold
On Tuesday 17 Mar 2009 11:05 PM Posted by djkicks
It stands for "High Altitude Warfare eXperimental Squadron". Don't know why they missed out the s for squadron.
 
 
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HaloMaster
On Sunday 22 Mar 2009 2:35 PM Posted by HaloMaster
Cool game, hope controls aren't that weird compared to Ace Combat 6.
 
 
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swordoflight
On Thursday 9 Apr 2009 12:51 AM Posted by swordoflight
Could be the game for against the boys tonight!
 
 
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shigeru_yoshida
On Sunday 17 Jul 2011 12:51 PM Posted by shigeru_yoshida
great game, too bad it got a bad review. Really fun arcade style fighting
 
 
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