|Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X|
Gameloft (iPhone OS)
|Version||1.02 (May 6, 2009)|
|Release date(s)||PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
NA March 3, 2009
NA March 17, 2009
|Genre(s)||Arcade, air combat|
|Media||Blu-ray Disc, DVD-DL, Digital Download - Steam|
|System requirements||See Development|
Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X is an arcade-style flight simulator video game developed by Ubisoft Romania and published by Ubisoft for Microsoft Windows, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and iPhone OS. It was released in United States on March 6, 2009. A Wii version has been announced.
The story of the game takes place during the time of Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter. H.A.W.X is set in the near future where private military companies have essentially replaced government-run military in many countries. The player is placed in the shoes of David Crenshaw — an ex-military elite pilot who was recruited by one of these corporations to work for them as one of their pilots, fighting whoever and whenever he is told to. Crenshaw later returns to the US Air Force together with his team, trying to prevent a full scale terrorist attack on the United States which was initiated by this military company.
The fundamental gameplay mechanics are similar to those of other console-based flight series, including Ace Combat.
Players take on enemies with over 50 aircraft available. Each mission is at real world locations in environments created with commercial satellite data. A cockpit, first person, and third person view are selectable. The third person view gives the player an external view of both their plane and the target,.
The game features an Enhanced Reality System (ERS), which is used as a set of training wheels for players. The ERS includes radars, incoming missile detection, an anti-crash system, damage control system, tactical map, information relay, aircraft interception trajectories and weapons trajectory control. ERS also allows players to issue orders to their squadron and other units. When fully activated, ERS provides a great deal of assistance to the player. The ERS features can be turned off selectively to make the game more difficult and give the player more maneuverability.
Players are able to complete campaign missions in co-op mode. There is a deathmatch mode where players can challenge each other. Winning players are rewarded with experience points to unlock more weapons. The planes that are available in multiplayer mode are determined by the level the player is currently on.
Set above the skies of a near-future world, increasingly dependent on private military companies with elite mercenaries who have a relaxed view on the law. As these non-governmental organizations gain power, global conflict erupts with one powerful PMC attacking the United States.
The game is set in the same universe as Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter; as Captain Scott Mitchell, the Ghost leader, is featured in two of the missions. Plot elements are carried over from other Tom Clancy games such as the missile defense system found in Tom Clancy's EndWar. G4's interview with H.A.W.X's lead designer Thomas Simon reveals that the game takes place in between Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2 and Tom Clancy's EndWar.
The player begins the game in 2014 as the player assumes the role of former U.S. Air Force pilot, David Crenshaw, who is part of an elite unit called H.A.W.X ("High Altitude Warfare eXperimental squadron"), provides fire-support missions for the Ghost team carrying out covert operations in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico. However, shortly after the mission, the Air Force decides to deactivate the H.A.W.X squadron and its pilots, including Crenshaw, are recruited into the PMC Artemis Global Security.
Over the next six years, Crenshaw and his squadron perform various missions for Artemis and its clients, including defending valuable facilities and attacking insurgent bases. In 2021, Artemis signs a lucrative defense contract with Brazil, making it one of the most powerful PMCs in the world. However, shortly after the contract is signed, Las Trinidad, an alliance of anti-US South American states, launches an invasion on Rio de Janeiro.
With the help of Crenshaw and his squadron, Artemis and the Brazilian military are able to push back the assault. The United States then sends in forces to intervene in the conflict, thereby subverting Artemis' role in the conflict and pushing the company towards financial difficulties as its stocks drop. In response, Artemis terminates its contract and attempts to drive out "interfering" U.S. forces in the Magellan Strait, as Las Trinidad had offered them a better deal. Then, its naval forces attack a U.S. carrier battle group. Unwilling to turn on their own country, Crenshaw and his squadron side with the United States and help them destroy the Artemis forces in the area.
After the United States orders Artemis to disarm, the PMC knocks out U.S. communication and radar systems (despite previously having their Caribbean HQ bombed by U.S. B-52s in a retaliatory strike), rendering the entire nation nearly defenseless, and launches a massive preemptive attack on United States soil. Though H.A.W.X manages to prevent them from taking Washington, DC and assassinating the President of the United States, Artemis manages to attack and capture numerous American cities and military facilities, severely damaging U.S. military capability (and the White House). Crenshaw and his squadron then assists the American counterattack against Artemis as the U.S. military attempts to regain their footing. However, as the United States begins gaining the upper hand with the help of Japan and NATO, Adrian DeWinter, the CEO of Artemis, announces that he has stolen some of the United States' nuclear weapons and gives the President an ultimatum, surrender in 24 hours or watch the United States be destroyed.
H.A.W.X, along with the Ghost Recon team and the US military, manage to restore the SLAMS missile defense shield — found in Tom Clancy's EndWar and retake the stolen nukes, but Artemis still has a trump card. Artemis forces managed to smuggle one nuclear warhead into Los Angeles and threatens to detonate it. With the warhead eventually located by AWACS Citadel and destroyed by Crenshaw with seconds to spare, the Artemis threat was destroyed once and for all.
In the epilogue which takes place several weeks later, it is revealed that Artemis has been completely destroyed, however DeWinter and other Artemis executives have managed to escape and are now international fugitives. The conflict between the United States and Artemis, despite lasting only less than 72 hours, had caused over 40,000 civilian and military deaths all across the United States, prompting the United Nations to begin a crackdown on all PMCs. PMCs are now either forced to take on small scale support and logistical roles, as they had at the turn of the century, or they will be dismantled. Meanwhile, Crenshaw alone is sent on a black operation to assassinate DeWinter and his subordinates. Thanks to intelligence provided by Third Echelon, Crenshaw destroys Dewinter's hideout located above a series of canyons.
|Official system requirements|
|Operating System||Windows XP Service Pack 3 or Windows Vista Service Pack 1|
|CPU||Intel Pentium 4 2 GHz or AMD Athlon 2000+ processor||Intel Core Duo 6320 or AMD Athlon X2 4000+|
|Memory||1 GB (2 GB for Vista)||2 GB|
|Hard Drive Space||7 GB of free space|
|Graphics Hardware||DirectX 9.0c compliant card with 128 MB RAM||DirectX 9.0c compliant card with 512 MB RAM|
|Sound Hardware||DirectX 9.0 compatible card||DirectX 9.0 or 10|
|Network||Internet connection required for activation|
H.A.W.X was officially announced on July 15, 2008 at the annual E3 2008 developers conference. Prior to this, Ubisoft issued a press release about the game under its working title Tom Clancy's Air Combat. Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X uses a new high resolution image program. H.A.W.X uses GeoEye's commercial Earth-imaging IKONOS satellite system. The H.A.W.X development team worked closely with GeoEye so that satellite images could be used in the game's nineteen-level environment. "High-resolution satellite imaging is moving from the black world of intelligence to the white world of commerce, and Tom Clancy's HAWX will bring that reality to gamers," said GeoEye VP, Mark Brender. However, flying your craft in-game at low altitudes makes you visually aware that the GeoEye imagery is not perfect, with ground textures becoming very pixelated: what would appear to be buildings being nothing more than flat squares on the floor, and what would sometimes appear to be water being nothing more than a blue-colored texture.
|IGN||6.7/10 (Xbox 360)
|Official Xbox Magazine||8.5/10|
H.A.W.X has received average reviews and has been both praised and criticized. While the satellite mapping has been largely praised as it increases authenticity, it has also been criticized as pixelation becomes very obvious during low-level flying. On Xbox 360, the frame rate dramatically falls during intense battles scenes. A common problem stated in many reviews was the lack of involving online play. Many reviewers criticized it as "stale". IGN said in their review, "The co-op is fun, but the lacking multiplayer is a bummer." and X-Play stated "Versus multiplayer is confusingly shallow".
In the PC and 360 versions of the game, visual differences in many aircraft models with multiple variants like the F-14, F-15, F-16, Su-35 & Su-37 are poorly detailed. For example the visual differences between the F-15C and the F-15E are not modeled, as both aircraft in the game have the same 3-D model with a different weapon loadout. However, in reality the F-15C is a single seat air superiority fighter/interceptor while the F-15E is a two seat multi-role strike fighter with extra hardpoints and Conformal Fuel Tanks. Another example is with the Flanker series; the Su-35 and Su-37 look identical to the Su-27, when in reality the Su-35/37 have canard foreplanes and twin-wheeled nose landing gear. The same drawback is seen in most if not all aircraft with multiple variants in these versions of the game.
A gameplay element new to flight games called Assistance OFF met mixed reception with the gaming community. While some gamers felt it made for thrilling gameplay, others were unhappy with the fact that Assistance OFF mode forces an external 'dogfight camera' view while active, but is the only way to access many of the game's more advanced flight maneuvers. This makes it impossible to execute those maneuvers from within the cockpit, and thus reduces the immersion factor for some gamers. In response to community concern shortly after the release of the game's demo, the development team issued a statement explaining the benefits of the external camera, and stating that "the dogfight camera is and will remain the only camera available when playing in "Assistance OFF" mode" . Game Informer praised it for its "big thrills".
Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw of Zero Punctuation, known for his overly critical and often cruel review style gave it a rare positive review, criticising the story but complimenting the gameplay. He concluded with the comment that it may have sold him on the entire flight simulator genre though he did mention earlier in the review that he had little experience with flight sims to compare it too.