A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X. 2 is a modern-day combat game that lets gamers play as a pilot of experimental aircraft. Players are tasked with taking out enemy targets on the ground (such as buildings and tanks), on the water (boats and other vessels) and primarily in the skies, in heated dogfights against other aircraft. There is violence seen and heard (via radio chatter, including screams) but there is no blood or gore. This is a less violent military game than first-person shooters, such as the Call of Duty franchise. Parents need to know that this game supports open unmoderated chat during online play so that they may want to turn off this option in the parental controls of the game console.
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What's it about?
TOM CLANCY'S H.A.W.K.2 is a sequel to the 18 month-old Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X. ( which has sold more than a million units worldwide) and once again challenges you to take to the unfriendly skies as an elite H.A.W.X. member ("High Altitude Warfare Experimental"), part of an aerial combat squadron tasked with defending freedom. You'll do so in top-secret aircraft denied by the very same governments funding these sophisticated prototypes. As with its predecessor, you're slipping into enemy territory to take down Middle Eastern militants and Russian ultranationalists – both from afar using high-tech weaponry and up close and personal in dizzying dogfights. Along with the more than 32 playable aircraft in the game, new features not found in the first arcade combat title include night-vision attacks, jamming pods to distract enemies, mid-air refuelling, allied support, and more.
Is it any good?
H.A.W.K. 2 is, for the most part, a good aerial combat game. Played from a first- and third-person perspective, H.A.W.X. 2 delivers much of the same heated aerial combat action as its predecessor, but with improved graphics, better multiplayer options, and additional aircraft to climb into. The ability to take off and land is a blast, too, especially on aircraft carriers, plus tracking and tagging enemy units from above (and then silently striking them) should prove to be a thrill for fans of the franchise.
But while the sequel gets a lot right, much of the enemy artificial intelligence is hardly intelligent, therefore seasoned gamers will want to play on harder difficulty to account for the somewhat easy and/or predictable enemy aircraft maneuvers. Plus, while the satellite imagery looks great from above, the graphics disappoint when closer to the ground. Overall, though, H.A.W.X. 2 is a solid B-grade title worth considering for those who love the aerial combat genre.
Note: All three versions of the game are the same. A Nintendo Wii version is slated to come out in November.
Online interaction: All three versions of the game support online play, including a 2-to 4-player jump-in-and-out cooperative ("co-op") campaign and head-to-head play (including team options) for up to 8 players. Players can chat while fighting with an optional headset microphone, therefore it's possible to interact with strangers and hear inappropriate language.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why most of Ubisoft's games based on Tom Clancy's fiction fare much better critically than other games based on an author's works. Is it because the developers handle these franchises with kid gloves? Is it because the author's fiction lends itself well to video games? Is it because they're not tied to a movie and therefore without the pressure to release the same day as the film? All of the above? What could other game makers learn from the successful Tom Clancy games?
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