H.A.W.X. User Review
There is a lack of detail in all aspects. The planes do not have the precision modeling that I expected. Certain planes weapons bays do not open when firing missiles. Other aircaft has canards that do not function. The cockpits, while detailed to a degree, do not represent the aircraft they belong to in certain instances. An additional disappointment was while in cockpit mode, the HUD does not work accurately. It is missing some details that would have went along way. Ubisoft took the less expensive route and used the same model for different planes. The levels themselves look outstanding from higher altitudes, but look low-res and lightly textured at lower elevations. The hangar (where your airplanes are stored) is another area I was disappointed in. It was dark, and unfriendly to the user. This is important because I like to take a look at airplanes from all angles, similar to how I look at the cars in Gran Turismo.
The one thing to keep in mind is that HAWX is not a simulator, in any manner. At all. Of course, this is fine by me for I do not want to fly an F-22 and micro manage the plane as a real pilot. Arcade air combat is the way to go. As is the case with all games in the genre, the game lacks a sense of speed. Mach speeds are very fast, and when flying through the city scapes at low level, it sometimes looks as if you are moving way to slow. The one thing HAWX does do however, is pioneer super-maneuverablity to the console with the Assistance-Off feature. Awesome, for the idea of performing air show demonstrations is an exciting one for types like me. However, when you go into Assistance Off mode, you are introduced with a blimp cam and your plane becomes a small object on screen as you begin stall maneuvering. I could not get past this due to how it took my immersion away. Please give me an option to use a different camera in HAWX 2. I understand BFM (Basic fighter maneveuvering), and would have loved the chance to stall in cockpit. My knowledge of flight and combat should be rewarded.
The english voice overs were bland, and at times, B movie worthy. The explosions, weapon sounds, and jet noise were nicely done. Again, nothing 100 percent accurate, but not representing any significant flaws. The music was pure Tom Clancy universe and fit the game well. What I would have liked to see was more realistic radio chatter. It would have went along way.
This game dropped the ball big time. I couldn't use my PC flight sticks. The PS3 allows the dev to access accessories, yet Ubisoft felt the need not to include it. I was forced to use the cheap one they sold with the game. Outside of that, the game did control well with a DS3. You can choose between the HUD, chase, and cockpit camera's. The ERS (Enhanced Reality System) is there for the nuggets of the world and provides some accessibility if you are new to game type. As I mentioned earlier, the Assistance off feature is a forced camera, and it will usually mean a take it or leave it attitude. What this game was also missing was take-off/landing and mid air refueling. Again, for aircraft enthusiasts such as myself, this small detail would have gone a long way, and only enhanced the experience.
The game has close to 20 missions that are fun in some cases, and downright rediculous in other instances. The saving grace of the singleplayer is that all the levels can be played in 4 player co-op over the PSN. I actually did both, and the co-op made the game pretty fun. Where this game shined in my book was the multiplayer. The devs must of read my wish in the forums and actually included realistic setting in the deathmatch. No matter what plane you choose, you only have a limited ammount of weapons, which coupled with arcade flying made the game a blast to play online to me. There are several other customizable online game modes to play in as well. Online could have been perfect for it not for the lag I experienced when playing anyone outside of the USA. One outstanding feature HAWX does is the ability to save replays to your PS3's HDD and export them to YouTube. I have many a online victim on my HDD. I also used it to practice BFM's and re-watch them for improving my game.
Despite some of HAWX's annoyances, it still does alot right. So much in fact, that HAWX is close to becoming a worthy challenger to the throne that Ace Combat has on the Playstation. It is also the opionion of this author that HAWX is a better title then then the 360's exclusive Ace Combat 6. All that HAWX 2 needs to do is address the flaws I have pointed out in the sequel, and the air combat genre could have a new ace.
Thanks for reading!
This user review does not reflect the views of the PSX Extreme Staff.