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

Common Sense Media says

Solid air combat game doesn't push the envelope.





What parents need to know

Positive messages

You work cooperatively to save the world, bit by bit.


While there is occasional blood, you'll mainly see explosions of vehicles and planes that you shoot or are being shot by others. Military planes use machine guns, missles, and bombs to inflict damage on enemy planes, tanks, and land structures.


There are some suggestive themes, but much less than you would see in a prime time TV show.


Mild expletives of the 'damn' variety, generally. Rarely, "sh-t" word is used.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

There are occasional references to having a beer after a mission and to smoking.

Parents Need to Know

Parents needs to know that while the language is generally mild, you may hear the 's' word and 'bastard' now and then. Targets like tanks and planes are shot constantly. But there is little blood, primarily firing of bombs and missiles and watching fire-filled explosions, usually from a distance. When you crash, team members call you 'down', not dead.

Parents say

Kids say

What's it about?

The Tom Clancy moniker is one of the most recognizable in video games today, so much so that UbiSoft has already created dozens of games based on Clancy's various works. Now comes TOM CLANCY'S H.A.W.X., a dramatic air combat offering set in the not-too-distant future in which you retire from the armed forces to join an elite squadron of mercenary pilots. Your goal is to save your clients' oil rigs and the like – until you find your employer might be the bad guy.

H.A.W.X. can be controlled with either the 360 controller, or (much better) a flight stick attachment. Your left stick controls altitude, your left and right button the yaw, the right trigger -- the speed, and the X button, your homing missiles. You can brake to about 1,000 mph with your left trigger and lock on targets using the Y button. Missions, which escalate in complexity, take between a half hour and an hour to play through. You can play online as well.

Is it any good?


Once you're in the air, flying over any city is wonderfully impressive because the developers used satellite imagery to create these worlds. As you choose carefully from 50 sleek aircraft (including the stealthy F-117 Nighthawk), you move through a generally compelling story, 19 levels worth. While the online play is somewhat exciting, it's not really a step forward as far as uniqueness is concerned. Still, you can cooperatively play all the single player missions over Xbox Live.


The primary challenge with H.A.W.X. is trying to pilot the plane with the 360's controller -- without crashing. You may find targeting challegning because your crosshairs are colored gray and can get lost in the colors of the sky above and terrain below. For newbies, there should have been a step-by-step tutorial that's more intensive than the tutorial given in the first level. While what's present is O.K. for core gamers (who'll wish the planes had more nuance), anyone who is trying to pilot for the first time may be daunted.


Families can talk about...

  • Parents can talk about whether or not you want to be a fighter pilot. In the future if you had the choice, would you leave the armed forces to fly rogue missions around the world? Or would you simply be happy to work for your country? Also, there are 50 planes in H.A.W.X. Which is your favorite? Why?

Game details

Platforms:Xbox 360
Available online?Not available online
Release date:March 5, 2009
ESRB rating:T for Alcohol and Tobacco Reference, Blood, Language, Suggestive Themes, Violence (Xbox 360)

This review of Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X. was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

Find out more


Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Kid, 0 years old February 6, 2010

perfect for tweens.

it is the funnest game ever.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Teen, 14 years old Written byJgames April 30, 2009


This game has absoloutly no blood, suggestive themes, smoking, or the word sh-t in it! It's very clean and educational, but I reccomend owning some other tom clany series' before this sutch as splinter cell or ghost recon. I would reccomend this game for ages 8 and up lots of fun and it makes a great gift!
Parent of a 5 and 11 year old Written bybowersjm August 8, 2009

Great game for 11+

Great game with outstanding graphics. The language could have been toned down without detracting from the game. It is fun to fly, but not as intensive as a flight simulator. Unlimited weapons etc.
What other families should know
Too much swearing


Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?


What are the different ways that you access Common Sense Media ratings and information? (Check all that apply)

Essential Apps Guide