Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X. 2 Review

I have one huge gripe with H.A.W.X. 2 that may not be a big deal to some. In fact, it’s likely that some will not even notice this glaring flaw. If you invert your Y-axis control view, you must invert your X-axis control view as well. That is ridiculous, and there is no excuse for such shenanigans. It genuinely hurt my ability to play the game, as I was constantly looking in the wrong direction. It may be different if you have a flight stick, but let’s be totally honest. If you have a flight stick, you are not reading this review, you are at home playing H.A.W.X. 2. You don’t need my confirmation to play H.A.W.X. 2, and I don’t expect you to take it into consideration.

Which brings up a good point about H.A.W.X. 2. If you are into flight sims, even the more arcade-centric ones like H.A.W.X., you will enjoy this game. It doesn’t do anything radically different from the first H.A.W.X. game, or pilot games in general, but it does have something interesting to offer.


H.A.W.X. 2 tears a page right out of the Call of Duty book by placing you in the shoes of different soldiers who are all fighting the same war. You begin the game as David Crenshaw, protagonist of the first game, then move on to the Russian military, and then back to take care of some business that unfolded with Crenshaw. I’m being intentionally ambiguous, so as not to spoil the story, which is moderately interesting. There is enough motivation behind your actions to want to see what is coming up next, but it is not the main selling point of the game. There is a bad guy of questionable morals, and you have to take him out with your airplane, or your mounted gun, or by eavesdropping on him.

The last sentence should be an indication that the gameplay is actually pretty varied. Most of your time will be spent in the seat of a jet, but there are times where you are doing reconnaissance by controlling a remote-control UAV, or shooting down night-vision targets from the safety of a gunship. You have done it before in Modern Warfare 2, and even though that game did do it better, H.A.W.X.  does just fine in providing something a little bit different to keep you from getting tired of flying at speeds and altitudes in the thousands. It’s a welcome distraction.

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When in flight, the game looks great, and the ground looks pretty good too. The closer you get, the muddier the world looks, but at higher heights (the space you are usually occupying) you get a good feeling of distance from the earth. The animation of the actual humans in cutscenes can be a bit sloppy, but that is forgivable, considering the real focus of the game is the planes — and they look just fine.

The music is appropriately epic, except for one recurring track that is really good at being a terrible rock song. This is also forgivable, as the soundtrack has much more good than bad.

The multiplayer options are limited, but functional and welcome. There are only three different types of versus matches available, but any type of aerial combat multiplayer is going to offer something different than the competitive multiplayer we have grown accustomed to. There is also up to four-player online co-op available for all of the missions in the game, but this mode was difficult to find. You have to enter the available versus matches list and hit RB to select your missions. I only mention this because I had to resort to google to figure out how to access the mode. The mode is still fun to play, but it needs to be a little easier to find, Ubisoft. One of the more fun elements of the game should not be hidden away.

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Along with the single-player story, online multiplayer and co-op, there are also a number of unlockable arcade challenges. It’s a worthy follow up to the original, but not something I would suggest for anyone not interested in aerial flight combat. The missions may be varied, but the core gameplay really comes down to a series of superimposed arrow chases. There is a marker on screen pointing to the enemy you currently need to attack, and you need to make sure to keep that marker in the middle of your screen. Obviously, many games could be broken down this way, but in the case of H.A.W.X., you are absolutely reliant on these on-screen direction markers. The game simply could not be played without them, so it doesn’t take long before you loose the feeling of flying, and just aim for the yellow box.

3 out of 5


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Author: Kyle Hilliard View all posts by

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