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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
While the message is positive -- that is, taking on the world's most dangerous threats using secret, high-tech weaponry and aircraft -- at the end of the day it's still a combat game.
Positive Role Models
We don't really get to know the main characters we're playing as -- an American, a Brit, and a Russian, respectively -- but their intentions are admirable: to protect humankind from dangerous threats. However, you're fighting and killing to achieve your goals.
Ease of Play
The mandatory tutorial teaches how to control the aircraft, read the HUD (heads-up display) and use weapons, which shouldn't be too tough for seasoned gamers, but the aircraft, weapons, and scenarios change from mission to mission.
Violence & Scariness
Like all of Tom Clancy-based video games, there is some violence in this game, but it's from an aerial perspective as you blow up enemy aircraft, tanks, buildings and other targets. Players can use many high-tech weapons including machine guns, bombs, missiles and such. Human soldiers are rarely seen in the game and there is no blood or gore.
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The game contains some cussing during radio chatter between pilots, with words such as "s--t," "ass," "hell," and "bitch."
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Products & Purchases
It could be argued the game was designed to sell more Tom Clancy fiction, but there is no obvious branding in the game.
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.
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.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.