Tom Clancy’s HAWX
One Sentence Review:
“The true spiritual successor to Afterburner, U.N. Squadron, and Crimson Skies.”
9 out of 10
HAWX puts you in the role of being the flight leader for a squadron of an elite air combat unit that works for the US military and soon into a private military corporation in the near, plausible future. The game flies a LOT like Crimson Skies as far as gameplay goes and it has nearly as much action as Afterburner with the spirit of U.N. Squadron’s mercenary attitude and the fun weapon configuration of your squadron of fighters. The game has just about most jets that have been around since the 60s and up and even some hypothetical fighters that are yet to be released in the military for most countries.
This is one of the funnest airplane combat games I have ever played and I’ve played both old skool arcade air combat games like Afterburner and hardcore simulators like European Air War. Some of the battles get so epic with your airplane being surrounded by 5-10 enemy fighters that it gives one the feeling of being in an X-wing and fighting for your dear life. I played this game like a crack head even when I had other stuff to do. I give the Fun Factor a score of 10 out of 10.
The game overall is pretty easy, even at the max difficulty except for a few select (mainly the escort or time deadline) missions where it will have you screaming at the screen. Difficulty Versatility gets a 5 out of 10 because overall I found this game easy even on the max settings.
The game currently sells for about US$ 30 on Steam. I picked it up for about 15 or 20 when it was on sale this last Christmas. I would say at the price I got it, it’s worth getting. For 30 dollars I would still buy it considering how much fun the game was for the 9 hours it took me to destroy it. I give Value a score of 7 out of 10.
Some missions are a lot of fun but I already memorized what I had to do for all of them. I would say it might be more interesting to do them with a wingman for they might not be as good as the AI drone pilots that help you in some missions. =P I give Replayability a score of 6 out of 10.
Let’s just say that the sound of 4 consecutive Anti-Aircraft missiles taking out a swarm of enemy fighters with me setting my speakers nearly at max volume does put a big smile on my face. The sounds of the electronics and the engine blasting the afterburners are amazing! The beeps even for lock-ons and oncoming missiles are authentic and it makes you feel like a real jet fighter pilot. I give Sounds for this game a 10 out of 10.
The militant score gets you in the mood to blow shit up and keeps the adrenaline going, soldier. It does sound though like the typical music you find in a Tom Clancy game or a movie like Patriot Games or Spy Game. I give Music an 8 out of 10.
Even running under DX9, the game looks simply amazing. I give Graphics a score of 10 out of 10.
The game has never crashed although you would think it would fry the video card based on how pretty everything is. I give Stability/Reliability a score of 10 out of 10.
You are controlling a jet that goes like 1000-2000 KmPH using just the keyboard with total control. The game uses a mix of WASD (actually QWES) and the arrow keys and does it really well. It works enough that you can pull off surgical strikes with precision like a champ. One of the funnest things to do in the game and a VITAL option is to turn off all the safety features that keep you from making the plane make max G turns that would rip it apart or knock you out from the accelaration change. When this happens the camera switches from the back to a fixed angle view and it just looks amazing! Anyways, the controls are perfect. They get a well deserved score of 10 out of 10.
The game runs flawless on my 2 year old medium range gaming PC. Considering that you often have like 20-40 units moving at VERY FAST speeds, the game engine and coding they used for HAWX is extremely well written. Performance deserves a score of 10 out of 10 and it gets it. 😀
My history with this game:
On c64, Amiga, and the arcade I grew up playing Afterburner over and over. Later, I played U.N. Squadron and it’s one of the my favorite side scrolling shooter games of all time. I loved how you could pick a plane that fit your style and then outfitted it with the weapons that you needed for the mission and that fit your play style. Around the year 2000-2001, Microsoft/Zipper Interactive shocked me with how amazing Crimson Skies was. Dogfighting was back but many years passed by and I have by now played Crimson Skies about 8 times. With HAWX, I was excepting this game to be generic and just okay based on some reviews I saw that compare it to making it feel like a world war I dogfighting sim. I’m sorry but WWI aircombat was the epitome of air combat and it was the real age of air combat aces. When I started playing HAWX and saw that you could execute real air combat moves like the cobra maneuver introduced by the SU-27, I was shocked, I was hooked. I really, really hope that an expansion for this game comes out. I would recommend going out to get it if you have the blood of an ace in you.