RETRO – Soar the skies and shot down “bandits” once again in the next episode of Tom Clancy’s action flight simulators. In HAWX 2 you can do even more: bomb tanks, military buildings or even use a satellite view to spy on the enemy and lead a super agent. And the best thing is that you have the latest technology of the American Army at your disposal. So fasten your seatbelt and get your trigger finger ready!
Like the first episode, H.A.W.X. 2 focuses on the fast and furious action aspect of the aerial combat. You don’t have to memorize zillions of buttons, and it doesn’t take half an hour before we can taking off with our plane. Just push the throttle to the maximum and usually, you are in the heat of the action almost immediately.
Fortunately, the fast action doesn’t mean that our enemies are sitting ducks to shot off the sky. The artificial intelligence is pretty good with the enemy trying to use every trick at his sleeve to avoid our missiles and put an end to our flying career. Of course, we’ll have to do the same, if we want to survive the brutal war which rages in this modern world soon.
The game sometimes can be pretty hard even on Medium difficulty. For example, if we are not fast enough, our ground army can be overwhelmed, or our plane can be shot from the sky. Avoiding enemy missiles can be a pain in the butt, not because it’s too hard, but it takes a lot of time, and the clock is always ticking.
Of course, we can use flares to fool the missile, but we have only a few of those. Those sudden difficulty spikes can be pretty annoying and breaks the flow of the otherwise pretty good game. On the plus side, the missions are rather varied.
Missions not impossible
Of course, you have your basic combat missions like taking out enemy planes or bomb from the above their buildings, but you’ll have to fulfill some special missions, or some specific tasks characteristic to flying as well. For example, in one instance you are out of fuel, and since the enemy is just bombing your airfield, you have to refuel with the specialized aircraft. There are sudden dangerous situations as well: in one of them, for example, one member of our squad was suddenly attacked from every enemy plane and before we could continue with the mission, we had to save his ass fast.
Also added for realism sake is that you have to take off and land manually, and there’s no option to skip it, which is pretty surprising for an action simulator. Fortunately for the trigger happy people, there’s still a possibility to use the assisted flight, which highlights the flying pattern to use for each approach.
What a wonderful bombed world
So we need sharp reflexes for this game, but what about the sharpness of the graphics? Well, all in all, HAWX 2 looks pretty good, especially the outside world of the game. Every object: the buildings, the trees, the enemy vehicles, are real 3D objects, not just some pixels painted over the map. If you pump up the graphics on your PC, the visual appearance is even better, but H, A.W.X 2 looks pretty good consoles as well.
The only aspect of the graphics which isn’t quite as good as in other modern games is the face of some NPCs, but that’s a small issue compared to what you can see while soaring the sky. The models of the aircraft are pretty spot on, with lots of extra details, and a perfect simulation model.
The only thing I missed is some interesting storyline. H.A.W.X. 2’s story isn’t incredibly bad but isn’t extremely good either. You’ll have to your country some mysterious “insurgent group”, which wreak havoc all the time with increased arsenal, and lots of pilots, who you can lead.
To be honest, after a while, I lost interest in the pretty clichéd story about some global conflict fast and rather concentrated on shooting down enemy aircraft. Besides the single player campaign you have the possibility to play co-op with two to four persons and with system link, you can play up to 8 players. Multiplayer is overall pretty fun, with and it adds a lot of value to the game.
Fly high and shoot everyone
All in all H.A.W.X 2 is a pretty good action flight simulator, with lots of varied missions and aircraft to fly, big explosions, cool graphical effects and a backstory, which is tied to the upcoming Ghost Recon: Future Soldier. Those who dig extremely complicated simulators, or deeps stories won’t find their need fulfilled here, but everyone else who likes his flying action fast and furious will be happy with this latest Tom Clancy title.
+ Enjoyable flight action
+ Pretty good graphics
– “Story” is lame
– “Pro sim” it isn’t
– NPCs look ugly
Developer: Ubisoft Romania
Genres: Flight action
Publication: January 2010