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Written by Dan Ferguson   
Monday, 27 December 2010
Table of Contents: Page Index
Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X 2 PC Video Game
HAWX 2 Storyline
HAWX 2 Gameplay
H.A.W.X. 2 Extras
DirectX Comparison Tessellation
DirectX Comparison TakeOff
DirectX Comparison In-Flight
Final Thoughts and Conclusion

H.A.W.X. 2 Extras

While single player campaigns can be fun (often the selling point for a game) the extras that are included can add to the replay value of a game. So you understand my bias in this review there are two things to know about me; I own many flight simulators of the impossible variety, and I am a completionist. In other words, I like to be challenged, and I like to keep trying till I get it right (whatever it is).

By the time you finish the campaign you have accomplished several "achievements" and gained access to a handful of custom modes. You can refly the campaign missions by the book or using custom settings. You can also fly the missions in an arcade mode. It took me some time to figure out the exact differences between these various play styles, mostly because they all seemed redundant. For example, the custom mode allows you to replay the campaign missions with you pick of plane and weapons (if you have unlocked them). The arcade mode also lets you refly the campaign missions with alternative scenarios (e.g. radar guided missiles only).

Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X. 2 Video Game

Well, by this time I had only unlocked two planes. It again took me some time to figure out that I had accumulated XP points that could be spent in an upgrade tree with 5 different branches. This allowed me to unlock additional planes, weapons, passive abilities, etc. It took me some time to figure out alot of how things worked in the game. I still haven't figured out exactly what is wrong with the game, but I do know that the leveling/points/XP/upgrade system is not intuitive. Neither are the menus. Basically you need to gain experience by doing anything. You can refly the campaign, custom, arcade, etc to gain experience points. Once you have enough points you gain a level and an XP point to spend on your upgrade tree.

Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X. 2 Video Game

To gain experience faster you can complete challenges during your games. This was again very much like the acheivements in Modern Warfare, but in a plane. I really like achievements and often feel compelled to complete them all; especially the hardest ones. In HAWX 2 the challenges are suited for aerial combat and general flight. Some of them you have to purposely try to obtain like recovering from a stall 10 meters above the ground or flying in assistance off mode for 30 seconds while staying under 20 meters. During the many single player modes these challenges help to break up the monotonay of enemy planes circling incessantly.

When you unlock a plane it comes with some bare essentials. By spending time and gaining experience in a plane you can unlock additional abilities, weapons, skins, armor and speed. Of course the most desired planes aren't unlocked until the end of the technology tree, so by the time you get there you might have already mastered a few others.

Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X. 2 Video Game

Experience can also gained during multiplayer combat; indeed some of the challenges can only be completed through multiplayer matches. As with everything else, it took some poking around to try and figure out how the multiplayer works and what the different modes mean (like the difference between a gun battle and a deathmatch). There is also the option to play the campaign missions (default, custom and arcade) in co-op. Online game browser is fairly scant on information. It would be nice to see detailed explanations of the game types and the match settings for matches that other players have setup.

The PC version of HAWX 2 hasn't yet mustered a large following. The leaderboards contain the names of a few hundred pilots, the vast majority of which appear to have only flown in one or two online games. There seems to be maybe a hundred regularly active players. During the evenings in the U.S. I occasionally see an online match, but most often there aren't any games.

Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X. 2 Video Game

The last extra is the survival mode. Survival pits you against waves of aggressively harder enemies where your sole objective is to survive. If you thoroughly enjoyed the dogfighting from the campaign then this will give you much more to enjoy. Early enemies are easy to pick off by missile or cannon, but the later enemies have an uncanny ability to get and stay on your tail, unlimited flares and unlimited missiles. If you need a little help just get a friend and play survival mode in co-op.

I like to unlock abilities and enjoyed the variety of planes available. Without the extras included with the game I don't think it would be worth buying. I didn't get to spend much time in the multiplayer due to the small community, but from what I saw things seemed just as redundant as the single player modes. While there were a couple new game types there wasn't anything new or novel. Multiplayer could be improved by having some really novel game modes, or at least more game modes. I think something as routine as capture the flag could be made fun when flying mach one through some tight canyons! However, unless Ubisoft can garner a larger community of flyers then no amount of novel gameplay can keep things alive.



# DRM?Bob 2010-12-28 22:24
I didn't see a single mention of the DRM in the article. (but, I did go through it quickly)

Always on internet connection required. Period.

I was really looking forward to this game, but after finding out how Ubisoft treats all customers as if they were theaves, I won't buy any more games from them.

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# RE: DRM?Doug 2010-12-28 22:35
What's funny about DRM is that I haven't purchased a single game since DRM started requiring "always on internet." So, like I want to play an RTS game while I fly from California to Europe, and but uh ho, no internet at 40,000 feet. Sorry, can't play your game.

Sorry--can't buy games anymore.

This has forced me to download pirated copies. I'd really like to support the authors of software games too, but making it impossible for me to play w/o an internet connection makes it impossible for me to play.

Thanks for posting too. It saved me the time reading something I will never use. I think restrictive DRM lke this will be the demise of computer games in favor of console games. Of course if you play MMO's, like I do, you have to be online anyway, so that's a non starter, but then there is no DRM for those games because you pay a monthly fee.
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# I'm curious about this game.Olle P 2010-12-30 05:03
Unfortunately the review adds more questions than it answers...

First we have the dogfights mentioned. Isn't modern day air combat all about avoiding dogfights?
Have your AWACS feed target data to your missiles and guide you towards the enemy. Once you're within 20 miles or so (still beyond visible range) you fire the missiles and head back home. One to two minutes later the missiles are supposed to hit their intended targets.

Next I'd like to know what type of aircraft there are in the game.

And finally I think page two should carry a spoiler warning. In my opinion it reveals quite a bit more of the story than required.
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# RE: Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X 2 PC Video Gameantoine leivaditakis 2010-12-30 07:30
I suggest that you would try to test a gtx 460 and above dx11 card of Nvidia , then you will see a much better quality of image and much better tessalation than you see on ATI cards, unfortunately.
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# RE: Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X 2 PC Video GamePearce 2011-02-28 09:52
After H.A.W.X. 2, I have no intention of ever buying a game from Ubisoft again, and I've been buying their games for many, many years.
Too much bull # these days.
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# ColJohn D 2011-07-08 18:41
What is a DRM? Guessing I am bit behind the curve. And On-line DL is a snare for the Unwary. be advised that IF you DL software there may NOT be any refund if it snags or is found to be P-Poor, like Dungeon Siege 3. As for dogfights being passe', that is what some of the idiots in pentagon thought, resulting in billions of wasted USD. Dogfights will happen and if you bring a knife to a gunfight, you will lose.IMHO, a combo unit w/ missle and guns would resolve the isse, but hey, I am retired and too old toknow what the kids like. Perhaps, that is why I am still alive while most of my conteporary(s) are dead. On a better note, the TC books and games are very challanging and good training. Even MS FSim is better than this offering, and you dont need ISP to run it.
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# RE: Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X 2 PC Video GameJohn D 2011-07-08 18:46
ADDED; I agree w/ the suggestion of lower prices to build community. Albiet, the repeditive senarios will get old. The computers can think much faster than most of us, so as Sun Tsu says, "when faced with overwhelming force, you will lose".
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# RE: Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X 2 PC Video GameDavid Ramsey 2011-07-08 18:55
DRM = Digital Rights Management, i.e. copy protection.
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# No replayAbe 2012-09-03 11:24
I usually would like to watch a replay of the mission I just accomplished and Hawx 2 on ps3 does not have that, plus the head swivel control is very limited, if you're a fighter pilot you should be able to turn your head till you can see the tail of the plane, in Hawx 2 the head barely swivels, I play ace combat 6 fires of liberation on Xbox and it does many things better then Hawx 2 , but it doesn't feel as real as Hawx 2
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