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Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X. 2
PC, XBox 360, Playstation 3, Nintendo Wii

Reviewed on: XBox 360

Publisher: Ubisoft
Rated: "T" for Teen

CHEATfactor Game Review
by Joe Sinicki

Audio/Visual: 6
Gameplay: 5
Lasting Appeal: 5
Overall: 6
CHEATfactor: 6
view user comments (0)
User Rating: 6

From yard work to jury duty and everything in between, there's a good portion of life that's pretty friggin' boring. You know what shouldn't be boring? Flying an awesome fighter plane over foreign countries while taking out enemies in dog-fights. Yet, somehow Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X. 2 manages to be a complete bore that you're likely going to forget long before you even finish it.

Plot wise, Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X. 2 is just what you'd expect from a Tom Clancy game. Here, original protagonist Colonel David Crenshaw does indeed return, but in a far reduced role. Instead, the game focuses on three younger pilots; each new to the H.A.W.X. squad as they're deployed to the Middle East in an effort to quench a bit of international unrest that seems to be brewing. There's something about a bunch of Weapons of Mass Destruction going missing in Russia, and of course a conspiracy or two to unravel. There's nothing all that shocking going on here, but it's enough to keep players going until the game's end. One cool little touch though is how the game makes references to other characters in the seemingly large Tom Clancy universe. It's nothing major, but it is a cool nod to those who have played a good number of games in the series.

"...the enemy AI is laughably bad."


From a technical aspect, H.A.W.X. 2 is a pretty decent flight sim. It's best to think of the game's arcade style control scheme as the complete opposite of the depth and complexity found in Microsoft's perennial Flight Simulator series. Sure, there's a bit of challenge to a few of the maneuvers, but even those are presented in a pretty easy to follow tutorial that should get even the most novice players up to speed rather quickly. It also doesn't hurt (or should that be help?) that especially in the game's early missions, the enemy AI is laughably bad. Now, I've never flown a fighter plane; hell, I've never even seen all of Top Gun, but I'm pretty sure flying in a straight line, close to the other planes in your squad so you can become an easy target for your enemies probably isn't the greatest strategy ever.

That all changes around the middle of the game's second act though as the game's difficulty level takes a groan inducing spike towards the wrong direction. Suddenly, enemies can perform physics defying maneuvers and seem to have an infinite number of ammo at their disposal. It's incredibly frustrating when you're chasing an enemy down for five minutes or more and then suddenly they get behind you and blast you to pieces with missiles they shouldn't have.

H.A.W.X. 2 does a pretty good job of avoiding many of the pitfalls that similar air combat games fall in to. Thanks to an impressive radar system, you're unlikely to ever lose your enemies and get lost in the sky (that is, until they perform the previously mentioned maneuvers) and each of the game's 32 planes feels remarkably different, so you'll want to fly as many of them as you can. The game does have a major issue with collision detection though, and it'll slow down your progress with the game dramatically. Things are the worst when flying in third person mode, as you'll often crash into objects like mountains or even the ground when it looks like you've got plenty of room to work with. This could be excusable if H.A.W.X. 2 didn't task players with flying their fighters through plenty of tight spaces. Yep, prepare to be frustrated.

"...incredibly anti-climactic and proves to be a letdown."


The biggest problem with H.A.W.X. 2 though? It's just way too boring. Sure, there's a few moments sprinkled throughout the game that are pretty cool, but the majority of the game is incredibly anti-climactic and proves to be a letdown. Picture yourself in a hectic dog fight, surrounded by enemy planes. Just how do you escape death and save the day? Well, if you're a pilot in H.A.W.X. 2, you're going your plane. Let me repeat that; to finish a climactic fight, you're going to land your plane - really. I want to save the day - not be the wuss who gives up and heads back to base when things get rough.

Even worse are the missions where H.A.W.X. 2 keeps players out of the cockpit. In one mission, you control unmanned air drones as you do surveillance and attempt to gather information on your enemies. There's also a mission where you man a turret and defend against incoming enemies and their planes. Even though it's not everything it should be, H.A.W.X. 2 is at its best when it sticks to what it knows, and doesn't try too hard to be a genre bending game.

H.A.W.X. 2's multiplayer suite is pretty much what you remember from the last game. There's 4-player co-op support, which features full drop-in, drop-out support and the ability to play the entire campaign, single levels or a unique set of arcade levels. Of course, there's also the competitive multiplayer modes that, despite the fact that there's nothing unique to them, they are genuinely a blast to play.

If you played and enjoyed the first H.A.W.X. game, you're obviously going to love the sequel, but if not, you're likely to see the game's faults a bit more clearly. The AI is unforgiving and uneven and perhaps the game's worst crime is that it makes flying a fighter plane into an incredibly boring and mundane task. If you're desperately in need of a new flight sim, you could find some enjoyment here, but there are far better titles to try, like Crimson Skies



CHEATS USED: Start Boost, Trophies List

When I'm playing an air combat game, my wishlist for cheats are pretty straight forward - unlimited ammo (hey, if the computer can do it - then why not me?), and the ability to pick any plane I want in any mission. H.A.W.X. 2  has none of these, in fact, there's very little in the ways of cheats.

There are your trophy/achievement lists that you'd expect from a PS3/Xbox 360 game, but that's it. There are a few passwords making the rounds around the internet, but we weren't able to get them to work. Stick with for any cheats as they become available.



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