Perhaps the least appreciated Tom Clancy’s series, Tom Clancy’s H.A.W.X. 2 wouldn’t have been top of the list of titles you would have expected Ubisoft to bring to market. Yet, in 2010 – a year after the original – the publisher launched a title only fairly good form. It may not have set the world on fire, but Tom Clancy’s H.A.W.X. 2 was a contender in an underrepresented genre.

Of course, Tom Clancy’s H.A.W.X. 2 was a well-placed investment for Ubisoft. Aside from Namco Bandai’s Ace Combat series and a few lower budget efforts, Tom Clancy’s H.A.W.X. has plenty of room to become the leading flight combat game on consoles. The sequel certainly seemed to convey that intention, featuring a number of additions to a formula that was largely commended first time around.

Tom Clancy’s H.A.W.X. 2 screenshot

Tom Clancy’s H.A.W.X. 2 is Not a By-the-Numbers Sequel

The game features a story campaign which can be played solo or with co-operation of three other players. The player controls Major Alex Hunter, a pilot from ‘High Altitude Warfare – Experimental (HAWX)’ squadron, but gets to play a few missions as other pilots. Despite launching only a year after the first game in the series, the gameplay experience has significantly changed. This time around, the player assumes the role of a wingman as opposed to a flight leader. As such, it is no longer possible to issue orders to other wingmen.

Of the other most noticeable additions would be the real-time damage. While in flight, your plane will develop scuffs and scrapes. Both superficial and mechanical issues will be portrayed with instantly recognisable visual feedback, giving the player a much greater sense of urgency when under assault. The dog fighting is more intense as a whole. Tight controls and a generous auto-lock (along with named markers providing recognition of distant items of importance), and the new “precision weapons” marking your position in relation to the enemy.

Both take-offs and landings received a substantial overhaul, and the on-screen furniture is much more descriptive. As far as sequels go, Tom Clancy’s H.A.W.X. 2 nailed it. So where’s the third title?

Tom Clancy’s H.A.W.X. 2 screenshot

A Future that’s Up in the Air

While the series came shooting out of the gate with two releases in as many years, little has been heard since. Ubisoft has updated the game to make it backwards compatible with modern consoles, but there’s been no news of a third release.

Both titles were respectably well received by both critics and consumers. The only assumption that could be made is that, just as Tom Clancy’s H.A.W.X. 2 failed to set the world on fire, it also failed to reach it’s sales targets. Whether or not Ubisoft will ever take the plunge on a third title is anyone’s guess, but at least fans can still enjoy Tom Clancy’s H.A.W.X. 2 on most current-generation systems.

Categories: Games