Tom Clancy’s H.A.W.X. PC Review
Older gamers may remember the very first Tom Clancy game, Rainbow Six, and it’s near anal attentive attention to detail. Rainbow was one of the first games to add tactical realism to gaming. While this certainly made it more difficult to get into the games, it was also incredibly satisfying when you successfully planned and executed a mission with minimal casualties. Unfortunately, since that time, Tom Clancy games have started down a slippery slope towards pure action while removing many of the realistic elements that made them so addictive in the first place. The first victim was the Rainbow series, while Ghost Recon also suffered recently. While this doesn’t make the games any less fun, it does make us a little wistful for when they required knowledge of tactics and strategy to succeed. Now Ubisoft has released Tom Clancy’s H.A.W.X., what they describe as Ghost Recon in a jet.
H.A.W.X. takes place during the same time period as Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter 2, with you playing the role of Capt. David Crenshaw, a pilot in the U.S. Air Force. There are 2 cameos by other Tom Clancy created properties, including Cpt. Mitchell from GRAW and even Third Echelon. Your tenure with the Air Force ends relatively quickly, as you take up employment with Artemis Global Security, a private military contractor (PMC). As you begin to fly missions for Artemis, you earn access to new and more advanced aircraft. The game features many real world aircraft, from the F-4 Phantom to the F-22 Raptor. The storyline in H.A.W.X. is pretty generic for the most part, while the voice acting isn’t really worth listening to. Before each mission you receive a briefing from your handlers regarding the current state of the plot, but it’s so generic, you hardly find yourself caring. For the most part, you’ll probably end up skipping the briefings just to get to the game itself.
The biggest issue with the story is the idea that any government would allow a PMC to own sophisticated fighter technology, let alone use it for hire in a warzone. The threat of global destabilization from unaccountable sources is enough to make most governments cringe with fear. Also, you switch sides twice during the conflict, from military to PMC and back again, but it’s pointless, so you wonder why you bothered flying for the PMC’s in the first place. It seems PMC’s are the big plot line in current games, with other games featuring them in their stories, including Army of Two and Metal Gear Solid 4. However, Army of Two is so over the top you know it’s not serious, while MGS is a series more akin to Sci-Fi, so it’s easy to suspend your level of disbelief. It’s sad to see a Tom Clancy game go over the top, albeit unintentionally.