HAWX Review (PC)
A short and lackluster story, some AI issues and lack of multiplayer drag down an otherwise fun game from reaching new heights
Posted by Alex V (SpectralShock) on Apr 23, 2009 - 5:30pm EST (Apr 23, 2009 17:30)
Tom Clancy’s HAWX (High Altitude Warfare eXperimental squadron) is an arcade flight game where you take on the role of a US Air marshal whose destiny it is to save the United States from total destruction at one point. Sound familiar? It should, because the basic premise doesn’t change a whole lot across Tom Clancy-based games. The game was developed and published by UbiSoft, the main company behind all of Clancy’s games. This means that a high production value is retained, but also that some series-related issues can be expected. Overall though, HAWX is a fun flight game, and for those looking for a game from the genre, or simply wanting something different from the mainstream game flow, it’s definitely worth checking out.
In HAWX, you are David Crenshaw, a US Air Force pilot who is the leader of the HAWX (total of three airplanes) as you loyally serve your country and engage in a variety of missions. Without giving too much of the story away, you are laid off from the Air Force at the beginning of the game so you join a private military corporation that does work all over the world. They send you on a variety of missions, until one of them tasks you with engaging US military. At that point you and your squad realize that you are patriots, so you switch sides back to the Air Force and fight the military company the rest of the game. It’s a fairly standard setup for a Tom Clancy game, with story twists you can see coming a mile away. Non the less, it serves its purpose of keeping the campaign flowing and action relevant. The only other downside is a very anti-climactic ending, which is not a good way to finish an already short (19 missions) campaign. A couple of missions task you with aiding the Ghost team as they advance on ground targets, which you may recall from the GRAW series. There are other nice pieces of info that tie HAWX to other Tom Clancy games, and fans will surely appreciate that.
At the start of the campaign, you are presented with just one or two planes, and as you progress, you earn experience points depending on what you completed during the mission. There are various extra objectives and achievements to be completed, which gives you access to more planes and weapon loadout. The plane selection is excellent, you are presented with at least 20 or so airplanes by the end of the campaign, each carefully designed to match realistic specifications. Each plane also comes with 4 various statistics areas such as armour, top speed, agility, and acceleration. Each of these statistics will definitely become noticeable during missions. Since the plane selection is big, the game offers a “recommended” plane for each mission – there is not a tool to compare airplanes other than manually scrolling through the list and memorizing the stats, which is somewhat a disappointment. Once you select the plane, you can also select a weapon loadout, and here HAWX becomes more of an arcade experience. During the campaign you are limited to one weapon loadout, as the rest are unlocked with experience points, so you would have to replay the mission to actually use non-default loadouts. You plane can carry upwards of 50 rockets of two types, as well as 30 air-to-ground bombs at a time, so ammunition is never really a problem. The two rocket types are air-to-air, air-to-ground, and advanced air-to-ground, which are able to lock on up to 4 targets at once. There are also quick lock-on rockets which require much less skill than regular rockets, but are also in much shorter supply. Towards the end of the game you’ll also get some variety of the missiles, but they all perform the same basic functions mentioned above.