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Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X

Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X

Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X

Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X is a 2009 arcade flight video game developed by Ubisoft Romania and published by Ubisoft for Microsoft Windows, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, and by Gameloft for BlackBerry PlayBook, iOS, Palm Pre, Android and Symbian^3. It was released for Xbox and PlayStation in North America on March 3, 2009, for Windows on March 17, for iOS on December 9, for BlackBerry on January 8, 2010, for Palm Pre on April 2, for Android on September 13, and for Symbian on January 16, 2011. A Wii version was announced, but was ultimately canceled. In September 2010, a sequel titled Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X 2 was released for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. The Microsoft Windows and Wii versions were released in November 2010.

The story of the game takes place during the time of Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2. H.A.W.X is set in the near future where private military companies have essentially replaced government-run military in many countries. The player is placed in the shoes of David Crenshaw — an elite ex-United States Air Force pilot who was recruited by one of these corporations, fighting whomever and whenever he is told to. Crenshaw later returns to the Air Force together with his team, trying to prevent the PMC initiating a full scale terrorist attack on the United States.

H.A.W.X received mixed reviews from critics.

Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X Plot

The player assumes the role of David Crenshaw, a U.S. Air Force pilot and squadron leader of an elite unit called H.A.W.X ("High Altitude Warfare Xperimental squadron"). The game begins in 2014 with Crenshaw providing air support for the Ghost Recon team carrying out covert operations in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico. After the mission, the Air Force deactivates the H.A.W.X program and Crenshaw is recruited into Artemis Global Security, a private military company (PMC).

Over the next six years, Crenshaw and his squadron fly missions for Artemis and its clients, such as defending valuable facilities and attacking insurgent bases. In 2021, Artemis signs a lucrative defense contract with Brazil that makes it one of the most powerful PMCs in the world. As expected, Las Trinidad, an alliance of anti-U.S. South American states, launches an invasion on Rio de Janeiro. But with the help of Crenshaw and his squadron, Artemis and the Brazilian military are able to repel the invasion. In the wake of the conflict, the United States sends its forces to intervene, thereby subverting Artemis' role and causing its stock to drop. In response, Artemis takes up a profitable contract with Las Trinidad and launches a surprise attack on the United States Navy carrier strike group in the Strait of Magellan. Unwilling to turn on their own country, Crenshaw and his squadron destroy the Artemis naval and air forces in the area.

After the battle, the U.S. sends Crenshaw and an Air Force bomber squadron on a retaliatory mission to bomb the Artemis Operations Center in the Caribbean. The PMC however, knocks out the U.S. communications and intelligence satellites and launches a massive preemptive attack on U.S. soil, capturing numerous American cities and military facilities. H.A.W.X and the U.S forces defend Washington, D.C. and the President of the United States. Crenshaw and his squadron then assist the American counterattack against Artemis in Chicago and Naval Station Norfolk. As the U.S. begins gaining the upper hand with the help of Japan and NATO, Artemis, which has stolen some of America's nuclear weapons, issues an ultimatum: surrender in 24 hours or watch the U.S. be destroyed. H.A.W.X and the Ghost Recon team manage to restore the SLAMS anti-missile defense shield (see: Tom Clancy's EndWar) and help the U.S. capture the Artemis launch facility. However, in a last-ditch effort, Artemis smuggles one nuclear warhead into Los Angeles and prepares to detonate it. Only a minute before the explosion, H.A.W.X locates and destroys the nuke and concludes the war.

The three days of conflict between the U.S. and Artemis has caused over 40,000 casualties. In response, the United Nations forces all PMCs to disarm and either take on small scale support and logistical roles or be terminated. Several weeks later, Artemis is completely wiped out. Crenshaw then kills the founder of Artemis and destroys his hideout in a black operation.

Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X Gameplay

The basic gameplay mechanics of H.A.W.X are similar to those of other console-based flight simulators, such as Ace Combat. Players take on enemies with over fifty aircraft available to them. Each mission is set amidst real world locations in environments created with commercial satellite data. A cockpit, first-person, and third-person view are selectable, with third-person view giving the player an external view of both their plane and the target.

The game features an "Enhanced Reality System" (ERS). The ERS includes radars, incoming missile detection, an anti-crash system, damage control system, tactical map, information relay, aircraft interception trajectories and weapons trajectory control. The ERS also allows players to issue orders to their squadron and other units. When fully activated, the ERS provides a great deal of assistance to the player, but the system features can be turned off selectively to make the game more difficult and give the player more maneuverability.

The Ace Edge flight stick and throttle control, designed for the limited edition Ace Combat 6 package, is fully compatible with the game on both Microsoft Windows and Xbox 360.

H.A.W.X has received mixed to positive reviews. The satellite mapping has been largely praised due to its increased authenticity, although it has also been criticized as pixelation becomes very obvious during low-level flying.

Game Informer's Matt Miller praised the game for its "big thrills". Other reviewers criticized the game as "stale". IGN's Nate Ahearn wrote "The co-op is fun, but the lacking multiplayer is a bummer," and X-Play's Jake Gaskill stated "Versus multiplayer is confusingly shallow". Zero Punctuation, known for its harsh review style, gave it a rare positive review, with reviewer Ben Croshaw criticising the story but complimenting the gameplay.

A gameplay element new to flight games called "Assistance OFF" met with a mixed reception from the gaming community. While some gamers felt it made for thrilling gameplay, others were unhappy with the fact that Assistance OFF mode forces an external 'dogfight camera' view while active, but is the only way to access many of the game's more advanced flight maneuvers. This makes it impossible to execute those maneuvers from within the cockpit, and thus reduces the immersion factor for some gamers. In response to community concern shortly after the release of the game's demo, the development team issued a statement explaining the benefits of the external camera, and stating that "the dogfight camera is and will remain the only camera available when playing in "Assistance OFF" mode".

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