Tom Clancy's HAWX 2 review

  • Accessible arcade flying
  • New in-flight refueling and takeoff/landing sequences
  • Some well designed missions
  • Lame story
  • Boring graphics
  • Too-simplistic combat

This is a flight simulator for people who can’t be bothered with the technicalities of flying a plane. The dials, switches and gauges on your dashboard are for show only – it’s an arcade game designed to get you into the action with as little fuss as possible. The story is classic Tom Clancy nonsense. Set in an indeterminate future, you control three pilots – a Russian, a Brit and an American – and have to defend a variety of accurately mapped cities and terrain from non-specific ‘insurgents’ of an indeterminate cause. It’s weirdly vague about who exactly you’re blowing up.

The first mission takes place in the skies above the Middle East. You’re performing a routine patrol of the area, when insurgents suddenly attack your base. It’s an exciting intro. Both sticks are used to roll, pitch and yaw your plane. The shoulder buttons are used to accelerate and fine-tune your direction, and your missiles and cannons are mapped to the face buttons. That’s really all there is to it; most of your aiming is handled by an automatic lock-on.

The challenge is keeping up with enemies, who are deceptively nimble. You have to regulate your speed to get behind them and attack. When enemies get a lock-on with their missiles (indicated by a flashing red light on the HUD), you can either perform tight turns to outrun their heat-seekers, or drop diverting flares by clicking in the right stick. Flares are limited. You also have to learn how to land and even fuel your plane in mid-air, which is incredibly tense and, somehow, more exciting than the actual combat. The maps look decent, especially the Russian Caucasus Mountains, but generally it’s muddy and unremarkable looking. And the slow-paced tutorial above foggy Aberdeenshire will have you reaching for the power switch.

HAWX 2 is a perfectly solid arcade shooter, but the low production values, laughable storyline and simplicity of the combat make it a somewhat disappointing bore.

Sep 21, 2010

More Info

Release date: Nov 09 2010 - Wii
Sep 07 2010 - Xbox 360, PS3 (US)
Nov 09 2010 - Wii
Sep 03 2010 - Xbox 360, PS3 (UK)
Available Platforms: Wii, Xbox 360, PS3, PC
Genre: Flight
Published by: Ubisoft
Developed by: Ubisoft Bucharest , Ubisoft Romania
ESRB Rating:
Teen: Language, Violence
PEGI Rating:


  • Plan10FromOuterSpace - July 13, 2011 12:26 p.m.

    I spent most of this game trying desperately to skip the cut-scenes so as not to take in any of the story-line at all, I dont think Tom Clancey appreciates the difference between writing a tense action novel and writing the story-line of a video game.
  • WoodyWoodrowAndThePanfluteOfDestiny - September 22, 2010 10:30 p.m.

    I wish these "realistic" modern warfare games used actual groups and references to world leaders. Fighting Chechnyan terrorists who where involved in a bombing in Moscow would be much more engaging than fighting "insurgents". Hell why doesn't Ubisoft make a Red Storm Rising game? That would be epic and really taking advantage of the Clancy license. I could right a better story than these dolts.
  • TheVoid - September 22, 2010 6:12 p.m.

    I just read the comments, including Brett's "let me help things along a bit here" assist. Andy - read Brett's reviews. Learn how he writes. Realize that his two paragraphs in the comments were worth more than your three paragraph full review. There's a reason he's one of GR's Top Guns (Score! "Second Pun" acheivement unlocked!) I also just realized I referred to the reviewer as "Matt Kelly" rather than Andy. Sorry I didn't double-check that before blasting you to absolute pieces! And don't think it lets you off the hook as you wait for some poor Matt fellow to take the fall!
  • TheVoid - September 22, 2010 6:01 p.m.

    What is this, a Fisher-Price "My First Console Flight Sim Review"? Jeez, talk about an article that covers the mere basics and then jets off the scene (yes, pun thoroughly intended). Regarding about 95% of this review - yeah, thanks, we got it. The control scheme hasn't changed much since the first Ace Combat for PS-fucking-1. Glad to see one (of a whopping three) whole paragraphs dedicated to that noble cause. Not that every review needs to be a Super Review. If the game doesn't require much to discuss, then fine. But to squander a fair chunk of this much-shorter-than-most review with details that any self-respecting console flight-sim fan already knows, well that is pretty much a slap to the face. Especially when that audience is likely to be the only group of individuals who would be interested in this review in the first place. It's not by any means an accurate flight sim. Gee, thanks. Enemies are deceptively nimble. Gosh, really? To avoid missles you either manuever or drop flares, which are limited. Wait - let me write that down! Uh huh, I see. Yup, just what I thought. Nothing new here. And if "nothing new here" is the best blanket statement for this review, so be it, and good to know. But I have the sneaking suspicion that you (Matt Kelly) were perhaps not the best person for this review. Either this was your first foray into this game genre and as such you couldn't differentiate what might separate this entry from the rest of it's ilk (for example, there was a HAWX 1 - maybe let's start there and spend just a little bit of time sizing up how it relates/differs) or you simply couldn't care less, as evidenced by your "I'll just rehash the control scheme and then drop in some points from the ten-thousand-foot perspective" review approach. Perhaps a better opener for this review would have been "This is a review by someone who can’t be bothered with the technicalities of writing a proper review." It sure beats the borderline-insulting opener you decided to run with. Oh yeah, and before I forget: "Classic Tom Clancy Nonsense". Have you ever even read a Tom Clancy book? Sure, Tom Clancy's name has been tied to quite a bit of gaming nonsense but if you are going to reference "Classic Clancy", I can only surmise that you are also referring to that which made him, well, classic to begin with: his books, which just happen to be pretty far removed from nonsense. Seriously, the man probably shit more talent this morning than you've been able to spread across this entire review. For shame!
  • Genericpenisjoketista - September 22, 2010 9:53 a.m.

    I really enjoyed the first game...
  • Zepaw - September 22, 2010 9:11 a.m.

    This game has been advertised a bunch for weeks and I have 0 interest.
  • CH3BURASHKA - September 22, 2010 2:07 a.m.

    @Brelston: You're right, Razgriz > Russians.
  • batmanboy11 - September 22, 2010 1:46 a.m.

    I did not know about this game until a few weeks ago. I'm not suprised it got a 6, I couldn't even play more than the demo of the first game.
  • TruckThunders - September 22, 2010 1:23 a.m.

    I enjoyed the first game, but I didn't find it to be much of a challenge, even on the hardest difficulty. The hud and plane graphics were too simple and I didn't see much improvement in the HAWX 2 demo. Thanks for the quick review, a 6 doesn't surprise me at all. I would like to hear more of Brent's thoughts about the game on TalkRadar. Enjoyed the Ace Combat review, so I'd like to hear you discuss this game too.
  • Helios - September 22, 2010 12:50 a.m.

    Wow. This is a great review. I now know enough about the game to decide whether or not I want it. Okay, okay, sarcasm aside, I still want this game. A 6 is good enough for me.
  • GamesRadarBrettElston - September 22, 2010 12:30 a.m.

    There are a few cool mission ideas, but there's too much bouncing from flying jets to weird "listen to enemy broadcasts" offshoot stuff. I also felt the jet controls were all too twitchy and the enemy AI just circled around you instead of actually engaging in a dogfight. They just circle circle circle, as if only trying to avoid you instead of take you on. And god the story. Who cares. Even Ace Combat's melodramatic worst is better than this yawn-worthy espionage nonsense. Russians? Insurgents? Stolen nukes? Betrayal??? Add in some microfilm and a laser pen and you've got every '60s spy story ever written. Oh and a lot of the menus and graphics seem really sparse, like almost placeholder. /rant
  • Jacko415 - September 22, 2010 12:26 a.m.

    Lets hope the new Ace Combat makes up for this disappointment.
  • tomthespesh - September 22, 2010 12:01 a.m.

    Only really have this because I love flying games. Neither this or HAWX 1 came close to Ace Combat 6 for graphics missions and game play. Also I don't understand why in both HAWX games you have to lock on with the unguided bombs otherwise targets in the blast radius are unaffected. The story well that's no better than Ace Combat both are poor but Still Ace Combat is better in every way aside from the range of planes (however half of the planes in HAWX you won't use as they are just useless).
  • Hoody - September 21, 2010 11:58 p.m.

    didnt even warrant a page from you... dissapointing.
  • blynd_cyte - September 21, 2010 11:49 p.m.

    I liked the first game. Liked, not loved. I can't find anything that set HAWX apart from Ace Combat, which, itself, is a franchise lacking story. Unfortunately, flight games have always lacked a good story. The introduction video to the first HAWX was neat in that it tied in the Ghost Recon units, but that's about as far as it went and I was left wanting more. If they could put together a game that really made an effort to weave the air combat into the conflict at hand instead of having you aimlessly blow stuff up, we might get a viable flight combat game. Until then, us aviation nuts will have to be satisfied with not being satisfied.
  • CH3BURASHKA - September 21, 2010 11:46 p.m.

    Sparse review for a sparse game. I wasn't expecting much of the game, anyways.
  • Forrest22x - September 21, 2010 11:46 p.m.

    Wait, this came out?

Showing 1-17 of 17 comments

Join the Discussion
Add a comment (HTML tags are not allowed.)
Characters remaining: 5000


Connect with Facebook

Log in using Facebook to share comments, games, status update and other activity easily with your Facebook feed.