E3 2008: Tom Clancy's HAWX Hands-On

Ubisoft shows us what dogfighting is like, team deathmatch style.

Tom Clancy has his name attached to many things. The latest is Tom Clancy's HAWX, an air combat game set in the near future with references to Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter and End War. At the Ubisoft booth during E3, we saw new maps and a few new planes and got a first look at the multiplayer team deathmatch, where players can shoot one another out of the sky.

The map we were shown was Cape Canaveral, the same location where US spacecraft are launched. In this particular campaign, it is up to you to protect the space shuttle (seen in EndWar). As tensions rise in South America where a private military company is involved, the US decides to step in and stop the conflict. At this point, the PMC strikes back at the US by jamming its satellite network to coordinate an attack on the US. We were told that in the US campaign there will also be three major cities involved, but there was no word on which ones they will be. The detail in the environment is extraordinary, and a quick look at the Middle East map showed the desert landscape, which was a sharp contrast to Cape Canaveral.

In team deathmatch, up to eight players, four-vs.four, can play against one another. A Ubisoft lead game designer explained that there is a good balance between two squadrons, and any more would be too chaotic. Even though it wasn't shown today, there is also a four-player cooperative campaign, where you can jump in and out of the game. Experience points are gained whether you play solo or multiplayer, in a campaign or in deathmatch, and points are collected to unlock planes and weapons. The planes we got to see were the F-22, which we saw at Ubidays; the S-47, which is a Russian prototype plane; the Eurofighter Typhoon; and the Rafale. We took a spin in the Rafale for this demo, but we were told that each aircraft will have its own characteristics when it comes to maneuvering and weapons. They will function differently from one another, but we were assured that they will still remain balanced.

Maneuvering the plane takes a bit of getting used to. The right trigger is to accelerate, which plays a key role in saving your plane when you happen to stall. If you get hit, leveling out your plane and slamming the accelerator will get you back in the action in no time. We also toggled in and out of an assistance mode. With the assistance on, you will see what the pilot sees and have your plane's safety activated. With the assistance off, you're outside the plane and have the ability to perform extreme maneuvers, which is the heart of the game. Double tapping the left trigger turns the mode on and off. Shooting a friend down earns you 50 points that go toward getting a reward. Once you reach 100 points you have access to a repair drone, which helps you and your teammates for a limited time. The number of points needed for the next bonus increases, but special abilities that come with it increase in quality as well. For example, you can get the EMP blast to stall all your enemies. You can request specific targets for your teammates so that they can go after someone who might be tailing you. This creates a strong sense of teamwork and can make the multiplayer experience incredibly enjoyable, especially if you can get eight players.

By the time HAWX is released early next year on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC, expect to have 50 planes available with 17 different environments that use high-quality satellite data for the maps. Check back soon to see what this exciting game has to offer.
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42 comments
lonewolf1196
lonewolf1196

i havent played a air combat game in years. Wonder if I should give this one a try

Gblazer01
Gblazer01

i really hope that HAWX is gunna be just as great as AC series.Since AC6 didnt come out for PS3 i gunna get HAWX and hope its gunna be just as good or even better

KING_KEV_321
KING_KEV_321

since ace combat 6 neva didnt daybew on the ps3 this is a gud contender

WizardAssassin7
WizardAssassin7

sounds intriguing.... hopefully it's along the same lines as Ace Combat 5. i really enjoyed that game

Reed48
Reed48

Im going to get this game, it looks pretty good. It go along with AC6 game.

Reed48
Reed48

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Jackyll87
Jackyll87

Will get a new joystick for my PC.

ErikB0869
ErikB0869

It looks good, and the "unassisted" third-person view is interesting, but seriously, there better be a cockpit view available. Come on, guys, don't tell me that there isn't one! Unreal.

scorch-62
scorch-62

I'll definitely get this. Always wanted to play something in the Ace Combat series and this looks noob-enough for me to get into it easily :P

shinian
shinian

Man this looks worse and a lot less fun then the AC04

adubbtrubb
adubbtrubb

can anyone tell me why Ubisoft did not stick with Taito to make this game. OVER-G Fighters is a great console fligt simulator for anyone who likes realistic flight sims. one of the best Ive ever play. all game journalists need to RE-review OVER-G B4 anyone else make anymore crappy air combat games. OVER-G Fighters please give us an update or something you owe it to us.

RLJSlick
RLJSlick

I agree with both of you plm3d and soulful, it would be great to see flight sims come back but this look more of arcade game then a real flight sim like IL2

plm3d_basic
plm3d_basic

I'm just glad it's coming on the pc. Haven't used my joystick for anything other than Freespace 2, Wing Commander Prophecy, and Blazing Angels 2.

soulfulDAGGER
soulfulDAGGER

Il-2 Sturmovik 1946 is a great combat flight sim for PC. It has WW2 era aircraft. It's been out awhile and it still pwns anything out there. In IL-2 1946 youcan control every aspect of the airplane. But this game looks interesting. Hope the flight sim genre comes back. There's a ton of ideas for games. Look at Mirror's Edge. Imagine if you had wings or it was set in the future? or past? Flight is the way to the future.

chechak7
chechak7

can't wait finally good combat airplane game on PC

Gamer4Iife
Gamer4Iife

From what I've heard, this is even more arcade-ish than Ace Combat, which is disappointing. I wanted a realistic fighter jet game. :(

Carton_of_milk
Carton_of_milk

I wouldnt expect any "simulator" feel from a game that is clearly extremely arcadish. If they're gonna do it this way i just wished they wouldnt do it with actual modern day fighter jets. I'd prefer some sort of futuristic Gundam thing (well except maybe without the robots). It's hard for me to suspend my disbelief about shooting down like a dozen of enemies when flying F-16's. Maybe its cause i was raised on flight sims but...

Z3R0B4NG
Z3R0B4NG

I just hope that the outside view (assistants off) doesnt take to much of the Simulator feeling away. Ace Combat was good but lacked to much of realism (or was to much Arcade) and the Videsequences... omg if i hear one more time "Dance with the Angels" i'm going to scream... and the game was way to short and the DLC is pure Rip Off (come on! you can spend more money on SKINS [TEXTURES!!!] then the game has cost on releasedate!) Anyway AC6 was XBox360 only, everyone else didn't get it and HAWX comes for everyone else and 360 too, so i'm just not sure if i get it for PC or 360... well i hope ther will be Demos for both so i can test it first ;)

grambyte
grambyte

Looks very appealing to me... Can't wait to see more from this game.

zeus_gb
zeus_gb

Looks and sounds very similar to Ace Combat.

Flipyap28
Flipyap28

it looks so much like a new ace combat due to the planes they are using but i suppose they have no choice

Pete5506
Pete5506

I want to see more, this game is going to rock

carstairs
carstairs

This is news to me, but I'm unsure about them doing aerial combat :?.

jakeboudville
jakeboudville

Looks promising from the stage demo but it's too early to tell yet

Cube_of_MooN
Cube_of_MooN

Woah, I'd never even hear of this one before. It is worth looking into.

gut_eater
gut_eater

why don't they just call it Ace Combat 7?

73X
73X

Can't wait!

Gifted_One
Gifted_One

I think this game will be a great simulator game. Awesome.

Sharvie
Sharvie

EndWar has my interest more, but after watching it at the stage show, this looks pretty great.

Zarfus
Zarfus

Finally, a good (maybe) plane game