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The Military Games

H.A.W.X. Brings New Perspective To Tom Clancy Series 27

This week saw the addition of aerial combat game H.A.W.X. to the Tom Clancy franchise by Ubisoft. Shane Bierwith, brand manager of the project, sat down with Student Life to discuss the game and some of their developmental decisions. "... we have four-person jump-in/jump-out co-op, which is a first for the air combat category. As far as competitive multiplayer is concerned, we have eight-person Team Deathmatch. It's a really fresh take on multiplayer in-air combat. As you level up and get kills in succession, you'll have access to support units, which range from electromagnetic pulses (EMPs) — you'll shock the other planes out of the sky — to altitude limits." Eurogamer's evaluation of the game calls it fun, but also "a victim of the high standards set by the other titles in the Clancy franchise." IGN says it's "very close to being a great game," but criticizes the combat and the mission design.
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H.A.W.X. Brings New Perspective To Tom Clancy Series

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 07, 2009 @04:43AM (#27103093)

    I tried the demo on my PS3, and I have to say, this game has as much to do with flying as Out Run has to do with driving.

    Ie, it doesn't feel like flying at all. Pure arcade.

    I am of course not saying this in itself is a bad thing. But for me, the game was a disappointment.

    Disclaimer: I did not RTFA.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by OutLawSuit ( 1107987 )

      It's just an Ace Combat clone. Nothing more, nothing less.

      • Apparently you haven't played the demo. HAWX has two modes: "Assist On", which is very much like Ace Combat and other arcadey flight combat games. The other mode, "Assist Off" is 3rd person view point flying, which is more reminiscent of RC Flying is some other sims. It also allows planes to drift in the air (not sure when the game turned into Need for Speed).

        Personally, I'm still not sure what I think of it. I may pick the game later when the price is down or when I can get it off of Goozex for le

    • I didn't even get to the demo. I read this in the review:

      It's important to note that HAWX (High-Altitude Warfare Experimental Squadron) is not a flight-sim. There's no fuel gauge to worry about, no real ammunition controls

      And closed the tab with the game's home page on it. I guess I just remember Rogue Spear and Raven Shield a bit too fondly; and anytime I see the Tom Clancy moniker I expect a game which has at least a nod to realism (I'm still trying to forget that Lockdown existed). I realized tha
  • by Anonymous Coward

    I played both Falcon and Strike Commander ages ago and yesterday downloaded the HAWK demo on my PS3, its boring and not PS3 worthy.
    IS it so difficult to make a great plane-combat sim or are there to little people interested and thus no money to develop??

    • by wjh31 ( 1372867 )
      I think the biggest problem is probably getting the arcade-realism balance right, some like one way, others the other, getting the balance right is hard enough, and to try and do both at once with a toggle button between them is asking for it
  • The big issue (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 07, 2009 @04:45AM (#27103105)

    The game only allows you to fly properly (that is, without the assist cutting in and screwing things up, and with full maneuverability) in a horrible third-person view that can not move, does not sit behind your aircraft, and never seems to be aimed to show the enemy you're interested in. If they just fixed this, it would be a perfectly acceptable arcade flight game, even with the ridiculous air drifting and stuff.

    • Re:The big issue (Score:5, Insightful)

      by !coward ( 168942 ) on Saturday March 07, 2009 @07:04AM (#27103517)

      Mod parent up!

      You've hit the nail in the head, as far as I'm concerned.. The "Assistance OFF" mode (that's what they call it) was a seriously bone-headed move on their part. The only thing you could say for it is that it can sometimes give you nice visuals of your acrobatic moves, but it doesn't even begin to mitigate the crap it is to actually fly that way.

      It's a stupid gimmick (done mostly for the visuals) and a really moronic way to implement an Expert mode, akin to just making your bullets do less damage and the enemies' more when you raise the difficulty level on a FPS.

      It makes even simple manouvering exceedingly difficult because half the time you're trying to determine what exactly is the plane's heading, its roll, pitch (and forget about height -- damn near impossible to determine that) so that you can then translate your stick moves to the action you want to perform. The whole thing feels so detached that it defeats the purpose of a mode where you're supposed to have full control of the aircraft.

      Granted, this game was never supposed to be a real simulator.. The market is just not there (Flight Sim is really good, but how many people do you know have it?), so this game was always going to be more arcade than anything else. And let's face it, the same reviewers who ranted about the lack of "realism" (or the fact that it's not a real sim), would bitch if the game forced you to take off from some airstrip, spend most of the mission either heading for your targets or patrolling the empty skies, then take a long, lonely flight path back to land on some other airstrip -- all the while worrying about the likes of fuel and realistic ammo reserves (which reminds me of a really old video game -- Strike Eagle? -- that was exactly like that and yet really kicked ass).

      There was always going to be some dumbing down to make the game more "fun", more action-packed and therefore more appealing to the masses, but they could have pulled it off without sacrificing the game mechanics is such a terribly broken way.

      • Agreed. I used the assist mode - to try and help shoot down the "Ace pilots" at the end of the demo level. I've done nothing but crash into the ground, lost sense of orientation and can't find the bad guy. Everytime I think I'm using the assist more in the right way to control the plane well, I'm not. They seriously need to fix this. The throttle is equally annoying.

        I was hoping there would be some take-offs and landings. I like the idea of having carrier landings and take offs - In an arcade style mode. I

    • by p0tat03 ( 985078 )

      I'm a huge fan of the Ace Combat series (despite the boneheaded stories they have) - how does HAWX compare to, say, AC6?

      I've been desperately wanting a good arcade flight sim for a long time now, and may pick this up if the non-expert mode is fun to play. How does the regular flying mechanic stand up to the normal fly mode in hawx?

    • What if companies began taking the 'Guitar Hero' model of flight sims and began produce full-featured desktop cockpits ^_^
  • Name Rec. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anenome ( 1250374 ) on Saturday March 07, 2009 @04:55AM (#27103141)
    Step 1: Sign celebrity endorsement (Clancy) Step 2: Produce random game Step 3: Go to press, use big name lots! Step 4: ??? Step 5: Pray you profit. What's next, "George Foreman Cooking Papa" for Nintendo Wii?
    • Re:Name Rec. (Score:5, Informative)

      by rsmith-mac ( 639075 ) on Saturday March 07, 2009 @08:29AM (#27103781)

      Step 1: Sign celebrity endorsement (Clancy)

      It's not even an endorsement any more. Ubisoft bought his name [] for $30 million USD. They now own the name "Tom Clancy" and can slap it on anything and everything they want to, including things that aren't video games. There's no longer even a token endorsement going on, it's just a brand name now.

      Presumably he gets to keep his name for use in any future books, but anyone else wanting to make something "Tom Clancy" has to license it from Ubisoft.

  • by wjh31 ( 1372867 ) on Saturday March 07, 2009 @07:34AM (#27103607) Homepage
  • This is literally the same formula as Ace Combat 6. ubisoft have added the Clancy brand and co-op.

    But it's the same game with the same gameplay. And for some reason in the demo I played on 360, the assist-off mode locks you to a single camera view which has no bearing on the action. It's like watching the action from an observer plane a mile away, except you're expected to fly that way like an RC plane.

    I bought it for PC before I played the demo. if I had known, I might not have.

  • I really miss the old school flight sims, esp. WWI - II era - without HUDs, lock on missiles and with proper flight physics of course. Perhaps not teethgrindingly realistic but realistic enough that your options are limited by the physics. If you get bounced from high your only safe option is to get the heck out of dodge, if you're in a faster but less maneuverable plane stick to slash and run, pulling a high yoyo if trying to turn with a plane going much slower than you, etc.

    If anyone remembers the Falcon Gold package and air combat maneuvering videos that were with that, those manuevers and the 'textbook' things they taught you were pure gold. You could literally take apart people who were just doing the 'point the nose at in the direction of the enemy' school i.e. how all these ace combat clones play. Of course all of that is complete puff now with these realism free, physics free 'flight' games that seem to revolve around how fast you can launch your unlimited or ridiculously large missile supply onto locked on targets. ANd oh yeah, avoiding missiles = hit chaff and spin the control as fast as you can, you don't even have to look at the incoming angle and try to cut across it .

    NOt even 30 and getting misty eyed about the old school, that's slashdot for ya

    None of the modern missile lock on frenzy games have anywhere near the depth of the old school sims, just can't get into them.

    And yes the 'assist lockon' mode is really silly, the above RC plane comment is spot on.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by jalefkowit ( 101585 )

      None of the modern missile lock on frenzy games have anywhere near the depth of the old school sims, just can't get into them.

      Go get yourself a copy of IL-2 Sturmovik [] and you will be in Nirvana. It's probably the best serious combat flight sim ever made, and you can set it for anything from moderate realism to full-out, hard-core "I want to adjust the engine mixture myself, thank you very much" realism. Based on your comments I predict you will love it - and as a bonus, you should be able to find it price

      • Il-2 is good, but so is Lock-On: Modern Air Combat, It is a missile lock on game, just deeper then your avg console air combat game.

Pascal is not a high-level language. -- Steven Feiner