Tom Clancy's latest title - H.A.W.X - is out and it takes place in the same world as GRAW and EndWar. The game is developed by Ubisoft Romania, the guys who gave us the brilliant aerial combat series, Blazing Angels.
H.A.W.X takes place in 2014, between the events that transpire in Ghost Recon Advance Warfighter 2 and EndWar. You are David Crenshaw, member of the elite H.A.W.X (High Altitude Warfare Experimental) squadron of the US Airforce and you begin with a support mission to help out the boys of the GRAW unit. Soon after, the government deactivates the H.A.W.X. unit due to budget constraints, and you're hired by a private company called Artemis Global Security. The company plots to take over the country, so you quit and join the US Airforce to help destroy what you built.
A controlled gameplan
The gameplay features a pretty lenient learning curve, with controls that are easy to master, provided you have a controller. Playing the game using a keyboard and mouse just doesn't give you enough control. So don't even think about playing the game on the PC.
The combat is pretty much up-close-and personal all the time, so whether you are bombing an airport hangar or taking down a F-117, you have to get real close. This means you'll have to manoeuvre like crazy to get behind your target, so there's more stress on handling and acceleration control. The game does both these things brilliantly, once again, provided you use a controller. The acceleration is handled using the throttle and air breaks. The controls are really responsive; within a few minutes of play, you'll fly like you were born with wings.
Help is a tap away
If you double tap your trigger, you go into Assistance Off mode, which takes you to a cinematic third person view. The Enhanced Reality System (ERS) is really helpful. When there's an enemy plane nearby, use ERS and a virtual tunnel will guide you to your enemy's tail. If an enemy plane is locked on you, the ERS will help out-manoeuvre it.
Every time you kill an enemy, you gain experience. The more levels you gain, the more unlocks you get, which range from new planes to powerful missiles and mounted guns. The problem is that all these planes fly similarly, making the level up system quite redundant.
The multiplayer really shines through in the 16-player multiplayer deathmatches, which are great fun. But you get your fill of the action soon, as the unlock system doesn't tie in here. The single-player campaign is only 19 missions or 10-12 hours long.
Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X. is a lot of fun, but has a short singleplayer campaign and limited multiplayer. If you're a fan of aerial combat games, you'll find it entertaining, but only for a while. The game's available for Rs 999.