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Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X. (Xbox 360)

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Genre: Simulation - Flight & Transport / Video Game for Xbox 360 / Release Date: 2009-03-06 / Published by Ubisoft

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    13 Reviews
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      16.02.2011 15:42
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      Not a bad attempt at an unforgiving genre fan base

      To be honest with you, where Flight sims are concerned Ace combat reigns supreme, nothing, not Over G fighters, not Slipstream not even Top Gun (the game) came close. But I have to say that although, due to these dissapointements, I was initially pessimistic that this would contend after getting half way in I suppected that it could. The problem is that towards the end of the game the missions got really boring and so I lost respect for it. Released in 2009 by Ubisoft (the same develppers behind the assassins creed franchise)

      Synopsis: You play David Crenshaw a wing leader (3 planes) in the Air forces HAWX 'ace' squadron when you and your two wingmen all decide to retire from years of government flying (you do a little border jumper over to mexico to help a GHOST Recon team, after which you go to work in the private sector for a company called Artemis, one of the world sleading privatised military forces which can be bought for the right price. Upon joining you prove yourself in an African and Brazilian campaigns, flying over Rio. Apart from some differences of opion by your commander , things are going well and you are even given more responcibility and a bonus by Artemis` CEO Adrian Dewinter. However you fly a mission protecting a US carrier group, which when completed, the Artemis carrier group appear and start an attack on US group, having switched sides because a south american faction paid them more. Having none of these mercenary ways, crenshaws crew go all patriotic and refuse to fire upon the americans and instead protect them. So now your back on uncle sams buck fighting against the might of Artemis, who having acquired some nukes, threaten to let off some fireworks on US soil and threaten the country with total invasion. Gradually you take back the US and foloow Artemis back to their mountenous base where you wipe out the last remnants.

      Gameplay and Graphics:
      Generally the aircraft (of which there are 50 to choose from) are fairly easy to control and are very much similar to that of Ace combat in terms of thrust and air brakes, barrel roll etc. The primary and secondary weapons handling can take some getting used to, but I ofund once Id got it, I thouhgt the weapons inventory switching easier then ace combat. The graphics are great. Satallites were used to map the cities and the planes are rendered picture perfect. Only the characters look like mannequins !
      ERS:
      But the main differences are two fold , first there is the ERS system, once in range you can switch this on which gives you atriabngular path to the target or through SAM (missle) heavy sites, as long as you stay within the traingulation you will be fine. Obvoiusly the ERS gets hard to turn within and faster as you progress , the secret is not to panic if a couple of bullets stray past you. I think its a nice otuch though.
      Unstable Flight:
      The second thing is the 'Assistance off', by far my favouriate feature of ANY FLIGHT SIM ...being tom clancy he likes to go into technical detail, but it breaks down like this...most aircraft (generation 4 onwards) are built actually unstable in flight, an onboard avionics PCU keep them stable, the way you oculd theoretically perform outragous air combat moves, would be to switch it off. Russian pilots demonstrate this in the SU 37 ' Striking Cobra' flips - look it up on you tube and the Eurofighters fantatsic turning stats are down to partial assistance off and the use of canades at the front, so this game is reall realistic. The only trouble is that you can use it on older planes where unstable flight is not a reality...but hey who cares right ! it a game. With the assistance off, your pilot view will flip to a 3rd person, 70 degree view, slightly back and of to the side ! it allows you to see enemies within a tight truning cuircles and lock on, fire and destroy. It also allows you to flip over incoming missles that are right up your jacksy....a thoroughly satisfying feeling. But dont get too cocky, if you lose airspeed, you stall, and trust me trying to initiate a re-burn mid air when youve got bogeys all around you is no fun.
      The missle cam is a nice feature too. On Fire and forget missles, just hold the button down and watch the missel all the way to the target. You are still flying in this time though so keep an eye on where you going !

      Aircraft and weapons
      50 aircraft to choose from from the cold war MIG Fishbed, A-10 Thnuderbolt to the SU 37 Terminator and the new Joint Strike Fighter, all perfectly rendered. More weapons packages then you can shake a stick at from multi air to air missles, to rockets and bombs.

      Missions
      Unfortunely this is where the game falls down, they are monotonous, some of the escort (president mission) can be ruddy difficult, and the last mission are all air to ground attack. The last canyon mission is so boring I ate my own hand to keep myelf awake....they obviously stole this from Ace Combat and didnt copy it half as well as they should have !

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      20.10.2010 18:03
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      Tom Clancy let me down this time.

      Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X is a fighter pilot simulation video game which uses
      photographic images of the earth and combines them with graphical
      fighter jets which you manipulate through various missions and
      campaigns. Due to the exact realism of the photography, this game can
      be very realistic. However, the realism relies on the detailing of the jets
      themselves which in my opinion could have been better.
      This game from the Tom Clancy series (with H.A.W.X 2 recently released)
      still remains in a difficult marketplace, and that should be credited
      accordingly.

      -BASIC GAME-PLAY-
      The contrast between real imagery and graphics incorporated within
      the game is patchy in places, but the interface and the several views
      you can see each plane whilst flying is fantastic. The cockpit view varies
      with each fighter and all the various dials and controls are evident. The
      outside (rear) view of the plane offers maximum visibility, but also
      allows you to see the frankly dull detailing when the plane takes
      damage.
      The interface around the screen is very futuristic looking and works
      well with the game. Here your mission objectives, kills/deaths (in
      multiplayer) and ammunition can be seen in great detail.
      Planes can be modified at a very low level before flight, by simply
      changing what weapons they will adopt.

      -CAMPAIGN-
      The campaign is very repetitive and boring. You're given missions like
      'destroy these bases, these tanks and these enemy planes', and the
      only variation occurs when you have to escort a plane or defend a base
      from the air.
      There are some more interesting levels at the end however, which
      involve night flight and can get quite intense, but generally the
      campaign function on this game is very monotonous.

      -MULTIPLAYER-
      This section of the game (requiring Xbox Live) can be a lot more fun,
      but can also be just as uninteresting.
      Effectively multiplayer involves death-matches of free-for-all or team
      play. All it really leads to is shooting down other players, and though
      this can be very entertaining at times, as with the rest of the game,
      action and adventure is retained at a minimum, limiting fun.
      The online playability also includes levels which players can progress
      through, but there's just no drive to achieve in this game in comparison
      with the likes of Forza Motorsport 3 and F1 2010 I've just reviewed.

      -CONCLUSION-
      A game which should be avoided. I bought it because I fancied a
      fighter pilot style game (something I hadn't tried), but was
      unfortunately left disappointed... Maybe H.A.W.X 2 is better, But
      I definitely won't be buying that one!

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      05.08.2010 19:36
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      Top Gun for those who don't demand too much realism

      Flight sims are few and far between for games consoles so when they do arrive, expectations are usually high. Coming from the Tom Clancy stable should ensure a high standard of technical accuracy while Ubisoft handling development will ensure good gameplay. This was released in March 2009 with a PEGI rating of 12+ to average reviews.

      The story sets the action in the same timeframe as the Advanced Warfighter series. It is the near future and big corporation has taken over the running of defense of the United States. You are a pilot who was employed by one of these companies, but has returned to the US Air Force. Unfortunately, when the interests of the company conflict with national security, the company declares war against the US. You are thrust into the firing line when you have to defend the country of your birth against your former employers.

      Players can expect to take the controls of over 60 famous jets such as Tomcats, Eagles or even the new Raptor. But one thing you will notice from repeated play is that despite the variety, there isn't much difference in feel or in some cases the look of the aircraft. You cannot get the sensation that one plane is faster or more maneuverable. There is the main storline single player arc or multiplayer. Multiplayer can enable you to play the campaign in a co-operative mode or there is the old favourite deathmatch.

      One of the games key selling points was that it was developed in conjunction with GeoEye. This was to use that company's high res satelite mapping technology of the earth and therefore ensure a realistic environment in which to fight. However, one of the big reasons why the reception to this game was so muted was down to this point. Whilst at high altitude, the detail is good, the moment you start flying low level, the ground becomes very pixalated.

      So it doesn't hit the heights you would hope for with it's flaws. There is a sequel planned for release later this year which hopefully will take onboard the criticisms raised against this. However, when you consider you can now pick a copy of this up for under £10, which for an xBox 360 game is good. Despite the flaws you can still have a lot of fun. So just put your copy of the Top Gun soundtrack on your stereo and get ready to buzz the tower!!

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      24.04.2010 10:27
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      Great game for those looking to fly high

      Firstly I must say I have never been a fan of Tom Clancy's games so you may wonder why I would try this. As a young boy I was like many from my generation who were raised on Top Gun and simply idolised that life style of the pilots and dreamed of flying so when I spotted this game available for cheap price I picked this up to give it a try.

      First off I have to say bravo to the team as they have developed a game with stunning visuals and sound effects that allow you to truly be drawn into the experience.
      The game sees the not too distant future where the world is being policed by private companies who police the skies, ground and sea alike to keep all safe and in this game you are a fighter pilot who has just joined the ranks and have to work with your team to ensure you protect all who need it and fight off your enemies.
      The basic of the game then is actually fairly strong which was one of the main concerns I had as I felt this game would have no story behind why you were a pilot or what fight you were in but thankfully this has proven to not be something to worry about.
      The game as previously said is stunning in its presentation and the control system is brilliantly well thought out but manages to maintain a simplicity that allows you to get in and play it quickly without having to sit and read pages of instructions. Your controlling of the plane will instead be down to how you develop your abilities.
      The game runs so smoothly and at a quick pace that it is amazing and really does draw you in and I would hope the price would draw you in further as the game is easy to pick up for cheap now so if you want something a bit different then strap in and hit that throttle hard to fly high with this little gem.

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      28.01.2010 17:25
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      nice game to play can get boring though

      The basics

      ok so here we are, another Tom clancy experience awaiting you, good thing or bad thing?
      answer: good ofcourse! take the voice commands from Tom Clancy's End war and place them into a combat flight simulation and you're ready to go!
      With this game you have the ability to rip through the skies in a variety of modern combat jets and take on your enemies with realistic aerodynamic movements and insanely accurate rockets and bombs used to send opponents to their doom in a ball of fire.
      graphics

      sounds good eh? well when i first played Tom Clancey's Hawx, i didnt think much of it to be honest but after an hour or so playing i began to appreciate the detail put into the surroundings. the buildings and 3D structures are so detailed that if you are skilled enough in the game you could even fly under a bridge or through the support wires on the topside of a bridge.
      the whole game is 3D, meaning there is non of that "google earth" style landscape. That would be obvious sinse it is xbox 360 not an old pc game i just thought i should mention it.
      one thing i found disapointing however was that when i accidently flew into the side of a building, all i saw was an explosion (now dont get me wrong the explosion looked great) but the only damage to the building was a little black mark on the side... now obviously i dont expect the building to explode and have a whole movie scenario of smoke and special effects but i personally feel that they could have done a bit more with building damage is all.
      but of course they wanted to focus on gameplay here so lets move on
      ill give the graphics a 7/10
      gameplay

      In my opinion i enjoy being able to fly anywere within the appointed area and i love the way i have a nice choice of enemies to persue concidering in most missions there is about 100 enemies present (clearly exaduration lol)
      Also another great trait this game has is the ability to control your wingmen (i.e tell them to defend of attack) okay so the commands are very limited but there is still a manner of control there.
      ill be honest and tell you i am not very familiar with the voice command system because i tried not to use it too much because i was normally in a party while playing. But ill give you a basic run down. providing you have your headset plugged in all you need to do is hold down the LB and RB buttons at the same time and speak your basic command. you can find a list of commands in the game manual and they do things such as change weapon and fire missiles (and more).
      when you hear the words piloting assistance it basically means the whole camera behind your plane business. so it helps you aim and fly in a controlled state. this however can be turned off by double tapping one of the trigger's on the controller. this will give you a more agile feel and will be able to perform better when avoiding enemy missiles and attacks. however unless you are EXTREMELY skilled in the "assistance off" mode it will more or less penalize your ability to aim and shoot accurately where as you will still be able to fire rockets accurately providing you are pointing in more or less the right direction and the auto aim cursor is RED. i know im sort of turning this into a guide now so i'll leave this section giving the gameplay a nice 8/10
      multiplayer

      ok ill keep this part short and sweet.
      the multiplayer feature in this game puts you into teams like you would expect and basically sends you off into a dogfight with the opposing team.
      i found the multiplayer extremely fun when i could actually get into a decent match. i found that a lot of the games i entered kicked me out as soon as i got a kill and im not sure if its just me or people dont play fair.
      anyways ill give multiplayer a 8/10
      overall

      great game overall in my opinion and i would recommend it to anyone if you dont mind a little practice before the game gets good.
      overall rating 8/10
      i hope my opinion helped in any way :)

      p.s i am the original writer of this review that i posted on ciao firsthand

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      20.12.2009 20:45
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      A fun game, but is let down by some prevelant flaws.

      Tom Clancy's HAWX is set in a troublesome world in which privatised military companies have begun to replace government-funded forces. One such company has begun to exercise its superior weaponry and training to attack the United States; largely because of the tendency for these malicious and powerful companies, comparable to mercenaries, to fight for whichever side is paying the most. The story follows the path of a former United States Air Force pilot David Crenshaw and his moral dilemma as the company which employs him decides to attack the country to which at heart he is loyal too. This sets a fairly predictable backdrop to the game, although the air combat does give the plotline some originality.

      Gameplay revolves largely around 3 central goals, protecting targets, escorting convoys or simply destroying enemy targets and vehicles. These goals can be achieved in 50 different fully licensed fighter jets which have varying degrees of speed, manoeuvrability and durability as well as different accompanying weapon packs. The gameplay can become repetitive (lock-on, fire, repeat) and thus it is a bonus that there is a degree of variation between missions and the jets in which the players can complete missions. Notably there is also an experience-reward system so that players can keep note of how far they have progressed and what they are yet to achieve in the game. The controls can be conducted in 1st person or 3rd person, as well as in "Assistance On" or "Assistance Off" modes. Essentially "Assistance Off" increases the ability of a jet to make sudden, evasive and extreme manoeuvres, but makes it much more difficult for an inexperienced player to control their plane, to keep it from stalling and also to maintain missile lock on enemy planes. Thankfully these control schemes can be alternated between rapidly during play as a means of getting the best of both worlds and allow the player to enjoy their experience as much as possible.

      One major letdown of the game (especially for an Xbox 360 game) is that the game lacks an addictive or even an enjoyable multiplayer experience. Cliched Deathmatch modes provide an arena for players to face off against each other, however this provides a repetitive and unimaginitive place for players to fight off against one another. Quite rightly many reviews in gaming magazines and sites alike have described it as "stale".

      Graphically the game tends to be pleasing, with a suitable degree of detail applied to surrounds and most importantly to the player's various different jets. Critics have maintained that there is not much difference between many of the different generation of fighter jets and that there are many inaccuracies portrayed when compared to the real-life equivalents of the planes. Other, perhaps more prevalent problems occur in the more intense combat sequences, as this puts a strain upon the games engine and lowers the frame rate significantly. Also, there tends to be significant pixilation as the player flies at very low altitude and skims across the surface of the group. It is very rare that the player will find themselves having to do this though, and therefore it is not a major issue. On the other hand one of the things which the game has been praised for aesthetically is its use of satellite imaging when creating the environments and battlegrounds. This adds a definite feel of realism to the game, which arguably some other aspects of the game (such as the tactics used by AI) deprives the game of.

      Overall, this is one of the best flight-simulator type games available on the Xbox 360 and if you are a big fan of the genre then it is definitely worth purchasing if you are a fan. Nevertheless if you have only a casual interest in this type of game then I would advise that you rent it before you spend more money upon the purchase, as this experience is definitely not for everybody.

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      15.11.2009 00:56
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      Blow stuff up here

      I have always had a strong obsession with flying games on the PC, and never had much of an opportunity to play on xbox 360, so when i saw this game on the shelf i thought, what the heck and got it. I usually play flight simulators so this was going to be a big change for me.

      To be honest I'm not sure if i like it or not, it is fun but mayby not realistic enough for me, that's probably to do with my addiction for realism. I like the graphics and the mission are well thought out, not so much the story but it is fun have a good old dog fight. I think what bugs me the most is the fact that you don't take off or land and you cant really mess up, flying is too easy.

      Graphics wise there is alot to be desired, the detail on the planes and all the effects like explosion's and jets etc are very good, but they used google earth images for the ground which is very obvious, and looks awfull. I do understand that for the sheer scale of the enviroment in this game it would be near impossible to draw out all the scenery, but they could of used a randomizing scenery generator or something similar it would of given the game a much better look. The they coudl of drawn just the buildings etc that were related to the missions.

      If your looking for a game that easy and fun and you get to blow lots of things up while pulling some cool moves then this game is for you, if you want something more realistic look else where.

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        27.10.2009 17:11
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        A really fun unique game

        I am a avid video gamer and when I first heard about this game I couldn't wait to play it. Being a gamer that loved the early Tom Clancy games like the first ghost recon or rainbow six I was loving the sound of the games going high altitude. I purchased this game for Xbox 360 as this is my favourite console at the moment. I bought it for £25 from Sainsbury which I thought was a great price for a game that hasn't been out a long time plus the game was brand new.

        In the game you are a elite pilot that has to take control of the skies, the year is 2014 and you have at your control cutting edge technology that helps you. The game boasts that you can choose to fly over 50 different planes all licensed.

        Single player mode is fun and gets you into the game and shows you all the controls. The game is excellent fun and is completely different to anything I have ever played before. The game has brilliant graphics that look sharp on my hd tele. You fly over cities during the game where you take part in high altitude warfare.The cities look amazing as they are created with satellite data.

        The game allows you to execute offensive and defensive top gun manoeuvres which are a great add to the game as they add a new dimension by allowing you to feel more a part of the game.

        My favourite part of the game is online, online dog fighting is one of the best parts of the game. Playing against players all over the world is great and fighting in high altitude is nothing like I have done before. The only downside I have with the game is that there are limited multiplayer modes. The modes you do get are really good but more variety would be nice.

        Overall

        A really fun unique game. I really enjoyed the game both online and not.

        Rating

        9 out of 10

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        08.08.2009 15:06
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        A great flight sim.

        Tom Clancy's HAWX, a new addition to the Tom Clancy library, is a flight simulator for the Xbox 360 console.

        The story of the game follows the HAWX squadron, the story is a little barebones (did Tom Clancy pen a novel on this one?!) it follows your squad as you defend the US from the evil Artemis group, its not the most fantastic tale but it gives you decent motivation to proceed to the next mission.

        Unlike the other Tom Clancy games which feature realism and tactical action HAWX goes for the more accessible arcade style of a flight sim. The controls are easy to use and the large variety of real planes you will control all control pretty nicely.

        This is further helped by the ERS system which will really help new players out through some of the various scenarios of the game making the plane handling even more accessible and giving you on screen prompts of what you should do. You can turn it off if it is annoying you and once you are used to the controls you will be able to perform more precise moves without ERS.

        The gameplay can be really tense and exciting, evading enemy missiles while going on bombing runs, taking, locking on to enemy targets and blasting them out of the sky. You are usually teamed up with some AI team mates and like in Ace combat you can order them to attack or stay with you.

        The graphics in the game are really good, from the air the terrain looks brilliant and you will see recognisable landmarks from the air. If you do for some reason decide to inspect it closely it doesn't hold up as well but it is right up there with the likes of Ace Combat.

        The game is alot of fun, a brilliant new game in Tom Clancy's line up. If you are a fan of the flight sim you will love HAWX.

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          12.06.2009 12:43
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          Good game, quite enjoyable

          I had alot of exitement when i heard that tom clancys H.A.W.X was due for release. It promised dramatic dog fighting and a realism that xbox hasnt tried before. Did it live up to expectations?

          Well at first i tried the demo. The demo offered a small chunk of the game (like any other) which i couldnt stop playing the same 2 levels over and over again, which made my anticipation grow further.

          When it finally did come out i started to play the campaign:

          Firstly they have for the feel of the plane as close as i can get to the real thing when all you got is a xbox controller in front of you. Each and every plane you fly feels different and needs to be handled in a different way to maximise its effectiveness. However they are always resposive and simple to control.

          The actual campaign has a good storyline to say thing it is a flight simulator/ arcade game however not as good as it could be. Often the attems to be dramatic are unsucessful.

          The very unique feature of the game is the maps themselves. You fly over real places in which the pictures have been taken by real satalites and buildings added to make it 3D. This gives a sence of satisfaction as you know that every building you see, even every tree, is there and it you went to the spot in the real world it will be there. Tom Clancy is normally racking up the firsts for modern gameplay, i think this is a new 1.

          The aircraft themselves are superbly well detailed especiallt in HD. Normally you have to sacrifice detail for variety however there are alot of them with some secret ones as well, which are all unique in a way. Also each plane has weapons to suit it. You weapons comes in 'packs' and there are 3 packs to choose from per aircraft, however alot need to be unlocked by gaining experience in single player or online game modes.

          There are only about 10 different weapons in the game however there are mixed and matched in there packs, which adds variety to the limited weapon selection.

          The online play has high and lows (excuse the pun) for me. It was intense for the first few rounds i played online however it did begin to feel quite old because at the time there was only really a deathmatch to do and people with the long distance 1 hit kill weapons often won. This could be countered though by having a cirtain type of weapon only game. Overall though it was nothing special and i did get bored quite quickly by it of just doing the same thing over and over, with what felt like no real goal.

          There also a few systems you can you to help you be more effective against the enemy. This system called 'ers' guides you best path towards the enemy, making it easier in hard situations.

          The assistance off mode is 1 of the best things about this game. This turns the plane's safety devices off and allows you to pull some pritty good manouvers. Although there are only so many to do, they never seem to get boring. They look great as well, if your a show off then you can show them off however you'll soon realise that everyone else can do them. Its just when, where and how precise you do them that counts in the skies.

          Overall a good game however can get old, quickly but also can be very addictive depending on what type of person you are. But i guarantee you'll have fun playing for 2 weeks or 2 months

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          23.05.2009 21:24
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          Debatably better than Ace Combat, must have for any fans of the genre.

          I've always liked flying games, since playing basic ones like Red Baron to Flight Simulator. This would be the second real flight game released on the Xbox 360, Ace Combat 6 being the first. I loved that game... But it didn't have the longetivity I expected. When HAWX was accounced I was excited, it promised more depth, more planes, real world locations and "assistance mode".

          For the single player mode, there's a well thought out story mode with multiple different objectives to fulfill and a good leveling scheme which allows you to unlock more planes and payloads. However, all the planes seem similar due to the arcade-like feel the game has. The main gripe I have is the speed, although making the game nearly unplayable, I would love to actually feel like I'm flying at Mac 2.

          The assistance off mode was what drew me to buying this game after playing the demo, it added something new for once, the idea of this mode is that you can really push your jet to limit, allowing you to pull high-g turns ignoring both the player and the plane's limits. This is great fun, watching a missile come at you, pulling a turn and then turning the tables. The other option is to keep assistance on and using the ERS, which basically maps out the route in which will allow you to intercept, but I honestly don't think that's half as fun.

          The multiplayer mode is simple, few modes and few options, but fighting in planes always seems more fun the basic shooters. However, unless you have live it's useless, there's no offline multiplayer which I think would've been a great addition, especially in co-op.

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          05.05.2009 14:06
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          Not quite up to the quality level of Clancy's games like Ghost Recon.

          HAWX-Should you take Warfare to a higher level?

          With the big book writer going from tactical combat, to stealth, to real time strategy last year and now, just in time to completely miss the Christmas season, Tom Clancy and Ubisoft gives us HAWX., a flight combat game which lets you choose from over 50 licensed places, blow up a lot of ground and air units, level up with an single player/multiplayer experience system and much more. While Clancy's foray into stealth and tactical shooters have been wildly sucessful, with several entries in the Ghost Recon, Splinter Cell and Rainbow Six series' being huge hits, their recent attempt at Real-time strategy, with it's unique yet shallow voice control didn't quite spark the positive attention of the aformentioned franchises. Does HAWX follow suit of Ghost Recon and Splinter Cell, or does it just crash and burn?

          HAWX takes place around 2014 and follows Major David Crenshaw, leader of the HAWX squadron. After helping the Ghosts team, the group is disbanded, and the members of the squad quit the Air Force. They then join a Private Military Contractor group called Artemis, and all seems good as they get paid loads of money for doing the same job in the army. However things go sour when Artemis attacks US forces, which causes the HAWX squadron to unite with the army. Now they must take out the Contractors before they destroy the US. Like other Clancy games, the story is told with briefings before the missions, in-game cutscenes during missions and dialouge mid-mission. However, the story doesn't take center stage here, though the interaction with other Clancy material, like the mission where you must protect Scott Mitchell's Ghosts squad from GRAW is cool. And there are a couple of dramatic scenes which are good, like Artemis' betrayal.

          HAWX is an arcade-style flight combat simulation which is split up into two modes-campaign and versus. The campaign takes place over 19 missions which vary from fifteen minutes long to an hour long, which can sometimes be a pain as if you quit mid-mission, you have to start that mission from the begining. There are plentiful checkpoints during missions meaning you won't play for too long, die, then have to do it again. The objectives usually require you to defend an object, like a refinery under attack or a shuttle launching spare satellites, though sometimes it's simply to shoot everything that gets in your way. The objectives could be a bit more varied however-why not have some objectives which require you to defend team mates while they perfom a certain objective? A couple of missions, however, are quite inspired, like one where to destroy satellites which help high-tech SAMs target you, you must fly through what is litterally a war zone and stick on a specific path unless you want to be blown to pieces. It's intense, puts you on the edge of your seat and is clever.

          This relates to the innovative new system in HAWX-the Enhanced Reality System. Basically, when you need to catch up to a challenging enemy, dogde incoming missles, or as mentioned above perfom mission-specific tasks, you can press X when the onscreen icon comes up and a trail of triangle gates will come up. Flying through them successfully will take you to the enemy you're tracking, dodge the missle or whatever you're using it for. It's a great, reliable system which works well yet isn't something you can use all the time. It's also completely optional, something you can just ignore all the time (except on mission specific uses) and it can sort of be disabled. If you tap one of the triggers twice, you will enter assisstance off mode, which pushes out to a wider view of the missions and means you have to brake hard to dodge missles though brake too hard and you'll stall your plane, which could mean crashing. It makes it easier to target enemies, but harder to control your plane and the camera can be disorientating.

          The problem with HAWX's campaign is that it's too easy in my opinion. Running out of ammo isn't an issue, as on the lowest difficulty you could be rewarded with around 100 missiles, and even on Elite, which reduces ammo, you'll still have enough to complete the mission. Enemies rarely hit you, as missles can usually be dodged and you're rarely hit by enemy gun fire, though it's a good idea to ratchet the difficulty up to Elite as sometimes, one rocket will destroy your plane. The only real challenging parts come from escort missions, where somtimes defending the escorted targets is harder said than done thanks to quick and agile enemies which are hard to kill. Even on Elite, you can't help but ask for a bit more challenge, and it sometimes makes missions boring. For example, the first mission is so easy because all you have to do is kill lots of enemies, meaning you just lock onto enemies all the time with missles and fire. It does get much better though.

          There are over 50 different planes in HAWX including the F-22 raptor, F-117 Nighthawk and more planes from makers like MiG, Saab and Eurofighter. Each plane comes with different weapons, including standard missiles, less ranged but more agile missions, missles which lock onto multiple targets, crude free-fall bombs, bombs which lock onto several targets and lots more. Each weapon comes with their own disadvantages-missles are great for fast air targets, but suck on multiple ground units whereas bombs can't even be used on air targets but are incredibly effective on closed in ground units, and decent on seperated ones too. Certain missions require certain weapons, which limit which plane you can use, but on some missions you can choose any plane you want, which adds great amounts of freedom. Of course, choosing a plane which is excellent at bombing when the mission is going to have lots of air targets is a bit stupid, but most of the time you can get through missions with most planes on the roster.

          There's also a competitive multiplayer mode on HAWX, but for now anyways, it's a bit average. It's not that actually playing is bad-dogfighting with people around the world is very intense and fun, and there aren't any connection issues or stuff like that-but there is only one mode of play and that is the bog standard Team deathmatch. There are no other modes like capture the flag, or even just a free-for all mode where everyone can kill each other. There are some interesting touches like the fact that you can use the same wingman mode in campaign where you can order fellow team mates to help you/kill a target though it's up to whoever is on your team to perform the order, but overall the lack of modes hurts the lasting value of the multiplayer because the mode is going to get old eventually. Hopefully Ubisoft will add more modes to keep it's longevity up; because they're king of multiplayer with Splinter Cell, GRAW and RSV all being multiplayer champs.
          The graphics are a bit average. The lack of detail in the environment hurts the game most-the levels are quite barren at times, particularly in the opening levels, and the objects in the level suffer from a lack of polygons and rough edges. That said, there are some good qualities-levels taking place in real-life countries like Rio have famous landmarks-like the giant statue that's famous in Rio, and the 18th mission looks excellent as the neon glow of the LA night looks beautiful and can be a bit distracting especially when you're trying to concentrate on Elite. The plane models, however, look great as they have some nice details and some of them can have custom camoflauges. Unfortunately, the frame rate can take really big hits at times as while it tries to run at 60 frames per second, it struggles to keep that frame rate in huge battles and it looks sluggish. It's a shame HAWX wasn't prettier in some places, as the explosion effects are great.

          The sound, on the other hand, is great. The planes sound excellent as the powerful engines when you rev up the afterburners really stand out. Guns, missiles and explosions all sound great and the music is raw and intense, shame there's no Top Gun theme though :P however the acting before, during and after missions can come off as really cheesy and lame. The way the Ghost lead is always shouting, even after combat, is grating. The HAWX squadron, at first, come off as greedy as they don't shut up about getting lots of money from Artemis, and it feels a tad over the top. However, the leader of Artemis comes off as cool and slick, and doesn't go for the OTT factor. In the end though, the sound is so much better than the graphics.

          There is quite a good amount of value for money here. The campaign will take about 10 hours, depending on your familiarity with air combat simulations though it will take you double really because you should play through it on normal to get familiar with the game and then jump to elite. The multiplayer mode is quite entertaining for a while, and there's also an engaging Experience system which rewards you for completing missions, getting kills online and offline and completing challenges like flying in assistance off mode for an hour. These also translate to achievements, which makes them a bit of a grind. Killing X number of enemies with a certain weapon online isn't fun, and far too many achievements require Xbox Live to even try and achieve them, let alone attain them after dozens of games. The game barely rewards you for completing the campaign, even on elite.

          Is HAWX good, bad or ugly?

          HAWX is a solid flight combat sim that falls a bit short due to some problems. Its campaign has some exciting missions which are thrilling and put you on the edge of your seat, but due to a lack of challenge in some spots, some missions are boring. There is a wide choice of real-life planes to choose from, though certain missions require planes with certain weapons. The campaign is solid, but the lack of multiplayer modes means that the longevity is questionable, though the ranking system and lengthy campaign is enough and more modes may become available through DLC. The graphics are lackluster, ruining the game's impact, but the impressive sound sort of makes up for it. If you're into Clancy's books, flight combat sims or just a fun experience, give HAWX a go though most people may be turned off by the fact that this genre is rarely explored.

          Controls: 9
          Gameplay: 8
          Graphics: 6
          Sound: 8
          Value: 8
          Overall: 7.8

          HAWX was released on March 6th, 2009 on Xbox 360, Playstation 3 and PC. It is rated 12+ for language and can be bought for around £40. There may be a Wii version soon.

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          • More +
            19.04.2009 17:02
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            Fantastic buy that will keep you coming back

            Another in the long line of Tom Clancy titles fired out by Ubi. But this one isn't half bad. A bit farfetched, but a solid enjoyable game, bringing together the entire TC universe.

            The story is centred around the HAWX, your character and his team of ace fliers in the US airforce. It follows them through missions suporting other TC mainstays such as the GHOSTS in africa, to being hired by a private military corporation. Eventualy the corporation switches sides, and being mercinaries end up supporting a country opposed to the united states. The rest of the story focusses on the US struggle to fight of the PMC with your newly enlisted help, and drive them out of business, and off american soil. Fighting over the oceans and in notable US cities, your characters come up against unbeatable odds but maintain strong, held togethert with elbow grease, sweat and patriotism.

            Whilst the story moves very fast, it is well structured, and gives you a real sence of desparation, for example you could win a battle against a huge navy in the Japanese naval port, only to be told that the US mainland is now under the control of the enemy, leaving you feeling helpless. This drives the story on well, if slightly too fast at points, with tides turning at the drop of a had and without any realism.

            The gameplay is realy standout. Its a great arcade flyer wirth a range of view to choose from, alowing you to control direction, speed and weapons. Unfortunately you wont be finding yourself taking off or monitoring fuel gauges if you want that kind of realism, being able to cary 100+ missiles is also a bit of a stretch. In your standard mode, you have an enhanced reality system, ems for short, than tells you where to move and when to hit targets etc. This also stops you from stalling oir pushing the plane to the edges of danger, which you might sometimes thank, and sometimes curse. Luckilly you can turn it all off and you get a camera view that is very offset from the jet, letting you look at it from the side and from a large distance. Im this no-holds-barred mode you can stall, spin and abuse you jet all you like, all whilst being able to see it from a great view. Unfortunately locking on to targets in this mode is difficult, due to the camera centering on the nearest badguy.

            There is a reasonable array of maps and mission, from sneaky fast flying stealth missions, to all out air superiority battle royales. These vary in size and colour. Some are above land whilst some are about controlling the seas. Either way there is something for everybody, and enough to keep you amused. Despite that some of the more non-descript maps and escort missions are a bugger, and don't let the game stand out.

            With over 50 licensed planes to unlock (which takes a while mind you) its great for plane enthusiasts of the military type outthere as they are failthfully recreated on the whole. There are pleanty of things to unlock for the planes such a different weapon packs that keep you replaying the game.

            The graphics on the game are just jaw dropping fantastic, with great models, real life satalite scans of the ground, thick volumetric smoke plumes, meaty explosions and stunning bloom and lighting effects. Its a real great game for just picking every aircrapt then looking at how great it looks flying against the sea, sun shining of the wings.

            The only real complaints I have about the game is that some of the effects look disjointed, such as the HUD of the ERS that make the whole game look much less realistic. Another is the fact that not all the planes are accurately described. The programers havent realy allowed the game to show you how manouverable the typhoon is, compared to the F-35. Its all based on set sliders behind the scenes that make some planes feel under valued and far too similar to one another.

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