Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X. 2 Review for PS3

On: PS3Xbox 360PCWii
Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X. 2 screenshot
Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X. 2 screenshot

When terrorism was invented nine years ago, few would have been able to grasp the effect it was going to have on our video games. You only need take a peek at Tom Clancy's wide net of venerable franchises for proof, with our boy Tom happy to party with terrorism in Vegas, attack it from the shadows and even defeat it with the power of voice commands. With H.A.W.X. 2, however, terrorism returns to where it started: the skies. Again.

But H.A.W.X. 2's main failing, which will sound like déjà vu for anyone familiar with the maligned original, is that there's just not a whole lot you can do once you're actually up in the air. The potentially liberating feeling of flight is quickly eroded when you realise that you're just whooshing around a 360 degree box complete with nice sky and ground textures. Aerial bogeys can be shot down, and ground targets can be bombed, but that's about it.

Furthering the annoyance, the game has a peculiar habit of repeating the same mission structure over and over. The life of each H.A.W.X. is mostly spent protecting clumps of tanks as they march toward an enemy encampment, perpetually alternating between attacking a wave of aeroplanes and then a pack of ground units - in that order. Rinse and repeat. From the lofty view of 1500 feet, they look like ants. You will treat them as such, too. No wonder pilots are jerks.

Still, Ubisoft Romania has to tread a fine line between adhering to staple routines of the flight sim genre and attempting to further their formula. Intermission sequences have you piloting a UAV or AC-130, switching the view to birds-eye and allowing you to track high value targets before shelling them to oblivion. You occasionally get to take off, land and refuel in mid-air, but these feel a bit like tacked-on mini-games - the latter, especially, has you wildly jangling around two pipes to the point you'll gain a newfound respect for the fallopian tube.

The campaign takes you across 20 missions of espionage, betrayal and the patriotic waving of American flags. Certain landmarks, such as the Kamchatka peninsula, Nevskaya dam and Caucasus peaks, are undeniably gorgeous – especially when viewed from high altitudes. The illusion is somewhat shattered when drifting too close to the ground, though Ubisoft Romania has done its best to make the ground seem a little less flat than in the original.

In terms of plot, the villain is now Russia (Mexico having retired after being evil in every other Clancy game lately) and the virtuous American H.A.W.X. squadron is doing their brilliant best to stop a cartload of nukes going off and destroying everybody. With H.A.W.X. 1's original protagonist stuck in a comedic sling, you're stopping the Bad Thing as Major Alex 'Liberty' Freedom for the majority of the game. Occasionally, though, the perspective will shift to Lt. Colin Geezer of the British Royal Navy, or Dmitri Russia of Russia – but these sequences are few and far between.

You also get to play through the same campaign affecting Tom Clancy's Future Soldier, but I'm only aware of this because it's written on the back of the box. Which says it all, really.

New stuff to check out

14 Comments

To add your comment, please login or register

Highest Rated Comment

Neon-Soldier32's Avatar

Neon-Soldier32

Quote:
When terrorism was invented nine years ago

...Wtf
Posted 14:25 on 06 September 2010

User Comments

extravagantnonsense's Avatar

extravagantnonsense@ loosethoughts

are you american, stupid, or both?
Posted 09:19 on 08 September 2010
dazzadavie's Avatar

dazzadavie@ squidman

Dude did you really get an e-mail from someone? While I said poor start I wasn't offended by it. What was said on the e-mail?
Posted 08:52 on 07 September 2010
altaranga's Avatar

altaranga@ squidman

Don't give up just yet. ;)
Posted 23:42 on 06 September 2010
squidman's Avatar

squidman@ altaranga

Funny you say that! Stay tuned.

Looks like I'll definitely be getting September's podcast punishment, then.
Posted 23:25 on 06 September 2010
clangod's Avatar

clangod

I'm more upset with the game itself as opposed to any tounge in cheek comment. I wasn't really too impressed with H.A.W.X after playing it for a few hours. H.A.W.X 2 is just far too samey as far as I can tell. The demo was terrible and I do not see myself ever bothering with this. I just hope Ace Combat turns out to be far different from this. Very disappointing.
Posted 22:42 on 06 September 2010
altaranga's Avatar

altaranga

Whilst I can appreciate a satirical edge to journalism I think this review has misjudged its audience (going by the like/dislike ratio so far).

Personally I think the review was ok, although the humour felt a little forced in places. This was never going to be buyer for me anyway, so the reading made little difference in that respect.

Can't wait for your MOH review. ;)
Posted 22:25 on 06 September 2010
loosethoughts's Avatar

loosethoughts

i don't see a problem with him saying that. The word terrorist was "invented/popularized" at about that time, although "terrorists" have been around for far longer... Stop acting like little girls...
Posted 22:07 on 06 September 2010
dazzadavie's Avatar

dazzadavie

A bad start to what was a good review.
Posted 21:01 on 06 September 2010
atheistium's Avatar

atheistium

I lolled.
Posted 20:42 on 06 September 2010
Bloodstorm's Avatar

Bloodstorm

I hope this isn't going to be a recurring theme in your reviews. I know you're new and that here but come on, show some taste.
Posted 19:34 on 06 September 2010
El-Dev's Avatar

El-Dev

Yeah, found that to be in pretty bad taste earlier myself.

Poor show old boy, poor show.
Posted 19:20 on 06 September 2010
Bloodstorm's Avatar

Bloodstorm

What on earth possessed you to write that first line?
Posted 19:16 on 06 September 2010
extravagantnonsense's Avatar

extravagantnonsense

"When terrorism was invented nine years ago...." - that is one of the most ridiculous things I have ever read. You should be ashamed.
Posted 17:14 on 06 September 2010
Neon-Soldier32's Avatar

Neon-Soldier32

Quote:
When terrorism was invented nine years ago

...Wtf
Posted 14:25 on 06 September 2010

Game Stats

Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X. 2
7
Out of 10
Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X. 2
  • Solid engine
  • Decent dogfighting
  • Fails to excite
  • Poor variety
Agree? Disagree? Get Involved!
Release Date: 03/09/2010
Platforms: PS3 , Xbox 360 , PC , Wii
Developer: Ubisoft
Publisher: Ubisoft
Genre: Arcade flight sim
Rating: PEGI 12+
Site Rank: 4,896 669
View Full Site