Ever dreamt of recreating Top Gun on your TV with you at the sticks? Well now you can with Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X., a dog-fighting sim in much the same vein as the popular Ace Combat series, although with Clancy's name plastered over everything and US jingoism seeping from every pore. Set in the same mirror universe as Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter series, it takes everything you know and love about Clancy games and adds a pair of wings and a shed-load of missiles.
If your fancy grabbing yourself a copy and scorching through the skies over Rio de Janeiro or taking down terrorists over Washington DC you can pick one up from Play.com for the bargain price of £9.99, which will save you a tasty £4 on the nearest in-stock competitor (Coolshop - £14.00).
H.A.W.X. stands for High Altitude Warfare eXperimental squadron, although the title of the game is somewhat of a misnomer as the squad gets disbanded at the start of the game and the protagonist - one David Crenshaw - signs up along with a bunch of his mates for a shifty Private Military Corps. The first part of the game sees you taking on a bunch of missions as an airborne mercenary before a classic patriotism vs. profit intervention turns everything on its head.
The combat is pretty fun, and there are some nice additions to your average combat flight sim: the ERS (or Enhanced Reality System), for example, is essentially a jumped up targeting computer that, when you're chasing a particularly fiendish pilot or striving to escape a missile, will illuminate a bunch of hoops for you to fly through to best fulfil your objective. Additionally, by turning the flight assistance OFF (the mode is capitalised), the camera zooms out into a third-person action perspective and you can pull off all manner of high-G turns and death defying loops and rolls.
Unfortunately, I just found myself really bored by this game. The story isn't as good as that in Ace Combat 6 and, for a game that came out a good year or two later, the graphics are pretty average. It could simply be that as I've played Ace Combat to death I'm just too maxed out on combat flight sims, but H.A.W.X. doesn't really do enough to grab my attention. That said, it's very good for a quick pick-up-and-play, and the arcade style of combat, along with all of its bells and whistles, is fun in small doses. For a tenner it might be worth a look if you're a fan of the genre, but Clancy fans be warned: this doesn't really stand up to the series standards set by GRAW and EndWar.
Thanks to whizzkid from HotUKDeals