|System: X360, PS3, PC, Wii||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Ubisoft Romania||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Ubisoft||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: March 3, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-16||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
If the interesting story isn't enough to keep you playing, then the leveling mechanic and unlockable planes and weapons load-outs might do the trick. I found post-mission ranking up of my pilot to be compelling, and getting in-mission XP bonuses for accomplishing certain feats to be very satisfying, indeed. What's more, rising in rank will not only help you in the single-player campaign, but it will improve your selection of fighter jets and armament whilst duking it out in the 8-person multiplayer competitive mode. Going head to head against other humans while piloting a jet is a neat spin on the standard competitive gameplay found in first-person shooters.
While sound effects in H.A.W.X. are what you would expect from an air combat title, the voice over work is painfully repetitive, especially when going over an objective multiple times because of previously failed attempts. This is to be expected, after all, if I passed the objective the first time, I wouldn't be hearing the same mission details over again. However, where it becomes painful is in the monotony of your wingmen's chatter and XO's comments. Yes - we get paid a lot better than we did in the USAF I know - the fast-movers are my priority target. It goes on and on throughout the game and will force you to shut off the chatter. Thankfully, the devs foresaw this being a problem and went so far as to allow you to mute the noise at your leisure in-game without having to hop out to a main menu. Needless to say, sounds can't compare to the shiny, polished visuals.
Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X. is a very fun game - one I would suggest to any air combat buff. However, enemy A.I. feels a little stupid even on the highest settings of difficulty, which really only limits the amount of armament your jet can carry and makes damage-taken more realistic. Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X. isn't the perfect jet fighter game we were hoping for, but it is a great start. Look for the H.A.W.X. series to mature and improve over the years, ultimately challenging the dominance of Ace Combat.
CCC Editor / News Director