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

Game review by
Harold Goldberg, Common Sense Media
Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X. Game Poster Image
Solid air combat game doesn't push the envelope.

Parents say

age 11+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 10+
Based on 6 reviews

Did this review miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive, diverse representations in books, TV shows, and movies. Want to help us help them? Suggest a diversity update

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

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.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

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

What 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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
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 fl... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byGamersnews32 February 7, 2020

Rating it 11+ for realistic battlefield violence

This is an amazing game, hard but it's awesome. The game really immerses you into a warzone with a variety of planes, and stuff like that. Violence is freq... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written bystan101 April 28, 2012

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.


Talk to your kids 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
  • Price: $59.99
  • Available online? Available online
  • Developer: UbiSoft
  • Release date: March 5, 2009
  • Genre: Arcade
  • ESRB rating: T for Alcohol and Tobacco Reference, Blood, Language, Suggestive Themes, Violence
  • Last updated: August 25, 2016

Our editors recommend

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality and learning potential.

Learn how we rate