Tom Clancy’s H.A.W.X. 2

Tom Clancy’s Unstoppable Game Machine rolls into town and this time it’s towing a variety of flying machines in its wake. The sequel to last year’s hit-and-miss aerial combat game is seeking permission from the tower and preparing to take-off. Put your tray-tables in the upright position and fasten your seatbelts because Tom Clancy’s H.A.W.X. 2 is about to depart.

H.AW.X 2 puts you into the cockpit of 35 real world and prototype aircraft throughout the course of the single and multiplayer modes. Each has their own inherent strengths and weaknesses, but they all have one thing in common – and whether it’s a strength or a weakness is up to you. Flight games are not designed to be played with a joypad. They’re not. Your enjoyment of H.A.W.X 2 will live and die by how well you get to grips with the controls – bumper buttons for fine adjustments, thumbsticks to bank more sharply, triggers to accelerate and brake… it’s all a little bit fiddly. You start out in the Eurofighter, the most advanced plane in the world – a plane that wouldn’t be able to fly without a sophisticated on-board computer making minute adjustments all the time. If the real Eurofighter was flown with a joypad even the sophisticated computer would stop, get out and demand a higher rate of pay. Maybe I’m exaggerating slightly but you’ll find yourselves in situations throughout the course of the game where you’re trying to lock onto enemy planes, while dodging missiles at the same time, and you’ll be all over the shop. The thumbsticks don’t give you the right feeling of control. It’s a shame because when it works, H.A.W.X. 2 shows signs of promise.

There’s a story in there somewhere that interlinks with that to be found in Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Future Soldier. I’m not sure what that story is, I’ll be honest. I remember things happening but I can’t for the life of me remember what they happened for. The reason I can’t remember is because the missions have the opportunity to drag on for ages. You’ll be tasked with destroying a series of aircraft and if you can’t get to grips with the controls and manage to shoot them out of the sky you can be at it for quite some time – I’ve spent upwards of half an hour in missions because I can’t manage to get lined up on my enemy to take him out. Once you throw in the tedium of having to carry out a mid-air refuelling (which also, curiously, reloads your ammo count) on some missions you can quite easily start to lose interest.

But every now and again a sequence pops up that is genuinely great fun. One sequence I particularly enjoyed was manning the gun of a support plane as a team of Ghosts staged a rescue mission for a captive soldier. Played out in the red/blue/yellow thermal camera we’ve grown to know and love you’re tasked with blowing up anything that glows yellow-green on the screen (ranging from enemy trucks to roadblocks, helicopters and even destroyers). It’s one of my favourite sequences in the game and it only lasts a few minutes but it’s one of the signs of promise – I just wish more of the game was like that.

Visually, H.A.W.X. 2 is quite inviting eye-candy. The satellite-mapped landscapes you fly over are well depicted. Aberdeenshire in the sunshine was one I particularly enjoyed, before being flung off to snow-capped mountains and sandy desert terrains. It’s fun to take your plane down low and buzz the treetops, but in doing so you lose some of the magic of seeing these landscapes from higher altitudes (and, occasionally, plough into the ground as well). The planes themselves are well modelled and this helps add to the realism.

Soundwise, some of the voice-acting is terrible. Your first commander is, I think, from Yorskhire. It’s the worst Yorkshire accent I’ve ever heard. Ever. He may as well have said “get down t’runway and get in t’plane” before coming down a hill in a bath and asking you to hold his whippet. It made a change from the equally cringeworthy “tally ho” type voice-overs you get in the likes of Blazing Angels but I found it hard to overlook this regional racism. The voices do improve somewhat – I found the russian to be more convincing. But maybe that’s because I don’t live in Russia so have bought into the voice-over style of Russian already. Maybe the Russians love the Yorkshire accent – I’ll have to have a look on the Russian version of our site… ready-up.nyet.

There is multiplayer to be had as well. It’s a strange kind of multiplayer because as well as the worldwide real people there are also AI bots in the room. It’s also a massively confusing multiplayer and it didn’t really gel for me. The games I played I had little or no idea who I was supposed to be shooting at so I spent most of my time shooting out radar stations which, I think, did something but I have little or no idea what. For me, the multiplayer experience should be an easy one to enjoy – you shouldn’t spend the 15 minutes of game time trying to figure out what the hell is going on. It’s almost as if someone has asked for multiplayer to be added into the game but not really bothered to provide any direction after that, which is a shame.


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2 responses to “Tom Clancy’s H.A.W.X. 2”

  1. Paul avatar
    Paul

    I would agree with the comments. I really enjoyed H.A.W.X, but H.A.W.X didn’t grab me in the same way, it was far too similar to the previous game.
    I understand there’s only so much you can do with a game like this. But it disappointed me.
    I bought it within a day or so of release and traded it in within 2 weeks. I have games in my collection that I still go back to that I’ve had for ages…

    Good game visually, but not enough depth & replay value. Would be a 2.5 out of 5 for me.

  2. ninja avatar
    ninja

    waht is the best joysick for this game as im into this game but would like more controll over the planes

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