HAWX 2 is the sequel to the promising HAWX, released back in 2009. Tom Clancy’s H.A.W.X 2 is an arcade-style flight action game published by Ubisoft and developed by the team at Ubisoft Romania. HAWX 2 as you may expect does not really innovates on its predecessor but Ubisoft have made some pretty neat changes that makes the game enjoyable and frustrating, but I am not sure whether I will be popping the disc again in to my console. To begin, let’s talk about a bit about the plot. As you would expect from Tom Clancy games, the typical mumbo jumbo story telling about war and terrorism once again forms the base of the story in HAWX 2. The action now takes place in the Middle East, where the HAWX team is being sent to investigate a sudden disappearance of nuclear weapons that belong to Russia. The players will get chance to control three HAWX pilots from American, Russian and British origins. Over all I think the plot is just there, occupying it’s space to add more drama and tension to the game.
Now let’s jump in to the game play. It’s hard not to compare the highly successful Ace Combat series with HAWX 2. The similarities are pretty obvious and as an Ace Combat veteran it was easy for me to get in to the game since I am already aware on how the game will play out. Ubisoft have done a few changes in the sequel by introducing take-offs, landing sequences, four-player co-operative play and mid-air refuelling. And I must say starting your engines and then zooming across the runaway might be shallow but trust me they were surprisingly enjoyable. The mid-air fuelling sections are bit on the difficult side since it requires absolute precision since you have to align your plane with fuel pipe attached to other plane, but the inclusion of an assist option made my life much easier. Assist mode is nothing but a way point for the player to follow so that the plane can be guided safely while landing or re-fuelling with optimum speed and height.
HAWX 2 can get extremely frustrating and demanding at times. The inclusion of 4 player co-op actually made me think that whether this game was actually designed for the single player experience or not. There are several missions where you will be tailed by enemy planes trying to nail you with frequent bombarding of missiles. In one particular mission I was flying and thrusting up and down for an hour just to save my ass when my flares were out. Frustrating sequences like this made me think that I was no longer enjoying the game and I was just pushing it too hard. This frustration was only broken when the UAV sections takes place. Even though it might feel shallow, dropping missiles and keeping pointers with the UAV are undoubtedly the best parts of the game. It kind of amazes me that the best part of HAWX 2 actually resides in this UAV mechanics rather than piloting the fighter jets.
HAWX 2 truly shines in its other modes and multiplayer gaming. Missions can be replayed again and again with the player having the freedom of selecting plane and weapons of choice. Using this you can unlock more ammo and difficulty in the arcade mode.
The presentation of HAWX 2 is a bit of a hit and a miss. The UI is pretty slick but the menu is big pain to navigate through. The visuals are definitely the defining factor in the game with realistic looking plane models and highly detailed environments although the explosions especially on the ground look dated. The cut scenes do a decent job of moving the story forward but the character models are laughable. The voice overs and the background score are the most attractive mechanics of HAWX 2 and puts some life in to the Mr. Captain Obvious type story.
Overall I think HAWX 2 does a decent job when compared to its predecessor. But it really needs to go along way before it can stand in front of franchises like Ace Combat. For wanna be pilots who are starving for some action and explosions, HAWX 2 is a good deal since there are not too many flight based games around anyways.
This game was reviewed on the Xbox 360.
Planes look really good, Environments are very detailed, Very good voice overs, Inclusion of point and shoot sections are pretty interesting.
It’s all been done before and hence HAWX 2 does not really bring anything new to the table, AI is a bit rough, some missions can be downright frustrating.
HAWX 2 improves on its predecessor but it’s similarity with Ace Combat might keep wannabe pilots away from the game.