The new installment in the Tom Clancy jet fighter series, HAWX 2 looks to take aerial combat to the next level.
The new game allows you to jump into the cockpit of high-powered flying machine, prepped and ready for warfare. United States, United Kingdom, Russia — you’ll play as them all, facing many different missions as you deal with a major threat and a missing Russian nuclear weapons.
HAWX 2 is one of those games you have to be into to enjoy. The game isn’t really about the story, but flying these military aircrafts and fighting your way out of some pretty intense aerial battles. It would be hard for someone not interested in things such as this to enjoy themselves, but if you were ever a kid playing with your toy planes and pretending to be a top fighter pilot, this is a game that you could find yourself having a lot of fun with.
Being one of these people, just flying around in Hawx 2 entertained me quite a bit. Once you get used to the controls, you’ll find yourself flying all over the place — firing up your thrusters, rocketing high up into the skies, and then swooping back down to earth to check out the scenery. And speaking of scenery, the topography is pretty impressive. We’re not quite at Google Earth here, but it’s a lot more realistic than any of the few flying games I’ve personally played, and this detail is an appreciated quality.
As for combat, it was a little hit and miss for me. Get a solid groove going, and a massive air gunfight can be quite exhilarating. You’ll run through a tutorial level to help you get the moves down, and this will train you to not only fly more efficiently, but to also cut your thrusters and make hairpin turns, pull major backwards loops, and throw off some aversive flares all to avoid the missiles on your tail or better your position when chasing down an enemy.
On the other side of the rainbow, said combat can be fatally frustrating…to you and this game all the same. At first all seemed to be well within my abilities, when suddenly I was very much out of my league. When this happened, it was mind-numbing how quickly things spiraled out of control and either I crashed or the mission failed. One thing that can always harm a game’s overall quality for this simple gamer, is the repetition of having to do the same thing over and over and over and over trying to get to the next section. That said, much can likely be pinpointed to my lack of skill. Someone with the right gamer thumbs should probably fare much better.
Another issue that I had was with checkpoints. Checkpoints come with each section you complete, and if you die, you’ll restart right at your last mission. When you shut down and pick the game up later, however, it seemed to jump a few sections back, forcing you to complete missions you’ve already completed all over again. This happened to me with one of the above-mentioned difficult sections; I finally got past something I was having worlds of trouble with and then stopped playing. When time came to play again, I found myself staring right back at the difficult task I had already already. Saving all looked to be automatic, and things would have been much easier if players were able to stop and start again more effectively.
Aside from the campaign, the game does have online multiplayer options. You and some friends can log on and have epic air battles to see who’s the best of the best, or you can join a room and have at it with total strangers. You won’t log big hours here, but sometimes you just want to jump in a plane and test your mettle.
HAWX 2, again, isn’t for everyone. It can be fun at times, but it can also wear thin on you pretty quickly. Lack of story and some issues with saving and control difficulty take significant chunks out of what could have been a really great game. Even so, this is a decent option for when you just want to play something for a short time and take to the skies, and not since Top Gun on Nintendo have I enjoyed doing just that.