Tom Clancy’s HAWX

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Tom Clancy’s HAWX

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Hawx is an arcade style fighter game taking place in the first or third person. The story follows a US pilot as he is recruited by a private military contractor. At first working for the good guys before becoming a bit more interesting. For this review we tested the game on the Playstation 3 (PS3) format.  Missions normally involve protecting an allied unit, maintaining a defensive perimeter or destroying key military targets. There are a large number of selectable aircraft available for any mission with a recommended plane presented as the primary option for your consideration.  One thing not lacking in Hawx is action. There is naval combat or co-ordinated attacks against large air forces involving massive dogfights. It’s extremely novice friendly with onscreen guidance showing how to eliminate targets and interception routes for fighter combat. Weapons available include manually aimed cannons plus the usual missile loadouts. Flares are included for missile evasions as one would expect. Advanced aerial manoeuvres can be performed with a high risk of stalling the aircraft. These provide most of the enjoyment with a far side-on camera angle covering the action.  The graphics are suitably impressive where the planes are concerned. The ground looks good with several well known real world locations shown. However it’s best not to look too closely. If you do tress and small areas appear highly pixelated and it’s possible the fly through trees as they are completely non-interactive elements. While it may be excusable given how many trees are rendered on the world they are all identical in every respect with no physics elements taking a role. The sound is made-up mostly of engine noise and the occasional bit of radio traffic providing objective information.  The key annoyance in Hawx is built into its core. As a combat title using fighters of the digital age target lock displays are unavoidable. The problem is, after a while the enjoyment factor begins to fade when it feels like your only destroying yellow target boxes. Plus the boxes are so large and intrusive unless the enemy is uncomfortably close it’s impossible to see the enemy plane for the giant box covering it. While not a gameplay issue it’s an aesthetic annoyance certainly. Another is the lack of physical damage graphics on your fighter once hit.  Overall Hawx is a fine title and the best of its kind. The multiplayer component adds replay value so it’s recommended for fighter action fans.

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