Tom Clancy's HAWX 2 Exclusive Hands-On - UAV Recon and Air-to-Ground Battles

We take an exclusive flight deeper into HAWX 2's single-player campaign and try out UAV scouting and a little air-to-ground combat.

The high-flying sequel Tom Clancy's HAWX 2 will let you return to the skies as an ace fighter pilot, but the sequel will have plenty of new toys to play with, including a wide array of different aircraft to fly from modern American, British, and Russian forces. In addition, the game will have all-new military tech that won't necessarily involve flying, such as unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) drones, and it will also have a larger variety in its missions, including some that will challenge you to switch from midair dogfighting to bombing runs in a matter of minutes. We've tried out some of this new stuff and have new details to report. Please be advised that this story contains minor plot spoilers.

The first new mission we played, "Thieves in the Night," took place about a third of the way through the game…and it didn't even involve getting into a cockpit. We'll explain: The game's story involves quelling an uprising by angry insurgents who are being supplied by a mysterious arms dealer, and part of your job as a member of the HAWX team is to use a UAV to tag key locations on a satellite-image map. In this mission, our Russian contact, "Wolfhound," was on the ground and had identified the mysterious arms dealer who is apparently supplying the insurgents with anything from heavy-duty bombardment missiles to crates of assault rifles with the help of a mysterious and highly placed source in the Russian military. The UAV view is a zoomed-out map colored completely in green. The view vaguely resembles HAWX 2's zoomed-in bombing view (which lets you switch the view from your bomber cockpit to a zoomed-in image of the ground below, from which you can acquire bombing targets). In the case of the UAV, your job isn't to drop any bombs, but rather it's to paint key targets with infrared (IR) markers so that they can later be bombed by your allies.

In this mission, you must first paint a few key bombing targets by putting them in your sights and pressing the fire button to mark them. However, the arms dealer himself suddenly makes an appearance, being driven in his own car to meet with his local customers. At this point, we were required to focus our sights on the dealer's moving car (which appeared as a tiny white blip on the radar) to maintain a surveillance audio link that let us eavesdrop on his conversations so long as we kept him in sight. (Fortunately, HAWX 2 frequently autosaves checkpoints after each individual task within missions, so while the few times we let our quarry slip away meant that the mission was over, we were able to restart more or less exactly where we had left off.)

The eavesdropping clued us in on more intel--namely, the site of other weapon drops in the city and on nearby docked freighters, which we also painted for airstrikes. Eventually, the arms dealer made a transaction with his local partners, after which the cars of all involved parties scattered in different directions while we carefully followed our original target. However, it was just then that our Russian contact was spotted by a few of the arms dealer's henchmen--then quickly dispatched both men and dragged their bodies into the shadows. Since our contact's cover was blown, our last order of business in this mission was to help him escape by using IR tagging on enemy roadblocks so that he could be clued in on which side streets not to take on his way out of town.

Tagging with IR scans sets up priority targets so the bombers can knock 'em down.

We then skipped ahead to a different mission later in the game--about halfway through--called "Behind Enemy Lines." The mission takes place just after the Russian army has recovered a pair of stolen nuclear warheads from the enemy and is flying each one back to Mother Russia in transport planes. Our job, as a Russian pilot, was to jump into a Su-27 Flanker and escort the carriers through enemy territory on their way home. Unfortunately, the enemy was already on the alert and had a substantial force already airborne and headed our way, which meant that we had to do double duty both defending the transports and defending ourselves from enemy fighter planes.

After beating back a few waves of enemies, we finally approached an area dug in by allied Russian forces that had antiair guns stationed on the ground. These areas were marked on the map by obvious glowing green outlines, and we did our best to lure enemy fighters into the kill zones to get them off our backs.

We'd finally gotten rid of most of our enemies and had nearly reached friendly space, so the transports set a course to take the long away around the last stretch of hostile territory, which was equipped with antiair guns of its own. However, our high-ranking commanding officer in the Russian military made the puzzling demand that we cut straight through, since the route through enemy lines was much faster. (Why he gave that order is anyone's guess.) Unfortunately, one of the transports, piloted by none other than Wolfhound, was hit by enemy fire and had to make a crash landing right into enemy territory--a small encampment on the lee side of a dam.

Though Wolfhound was able to expertly land the damaged craft safely (without any of that unsightly nuclear holocaust), the frustrated agent immediately demanded an evac, which our commanding officer assured us was inbound. While Wolfhound established a perimeter, enemy vehicles and emplaced cannons on the ground had begun to open fire, and we were tasked with using our Flanker, an excellent dogfighting ship, to go toe-to-toe with earthbound tanks and gun emplacements in a narrow mountain valley. This is a lot tougher than it sounds, since the Flanker is a heavy-duty fighter jet that, while equipped with powerful armament, doesn't exactly turn on a dime.

Ever fly a dogfighting jet on a bombing run? You will in HAWX 2.

We did the best we could, carefully swooping down into the bowl of the valley and dumping as many missiles as possible onto our foes before pulling up like mad to avoid crashing right into the mountain. While we scored several kills, our grounded comrades were unable to hold out against the assault, and rather than risk having the nuke be recaptured, our high-ranking commanding officer ordered us to aim and fire at the dam, which would surely kill Wolfhound and the transport survivors but would also eliminate all opposition on the ground and at least let the Russian forces come back later to pick up the pieces. We had no choice but to blow the dam, dooming our comrades to a watery death while our high-ranking Russian commanding officer assured us of how shameful it was that such brave men should die for the cowardice of politicians.

HAWX 2's single-player campaign will offer plenty of variety and the ability to use some interesting new toys beyond just more fighter jets. The game will be released on September 7 on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

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59 comments
speedyuk
speedyuk

from where i can download the demo?:)))

simon1812
simon1812

tried the demo, it wasnt halfbad, but I think the next Ace Combat game will be better than this.

bogdn
bogdn

First was a good game in all aspects , the AI was the only problem unchallenging , even on hardest difficulty no missle hits you unless you want to be hit so the AI must be changed.

kosh1979
kosh1979

original HAWX was very good. Hope this one in on the same path too. A little more missions than the original game will be very good also... nice thought KOBE23IVAN to have rpg character hawx3....

Milhouse09
Milhouse09

I'm in love with all Tom Clancy games, except Splinter Cell. Stealth isn't really my thing. When the new R6 or EndWar are announced, I will pee my pants.

KOBE23IVAN
KOBE23IVAN

HAWX 2 to will be great and i hope longer then the 1st... ps: the should put something like upgrading your aircraft... so HAWX 3 rpg anyone?

runenakken
runenakken

HAWX was very good, but I missed Easy difficulty. Got the game a long time after its release and there are noone to play co-op with any longer. Maybe I should get the sequel now, with its niceties such as landing, take-off and mid-air refueling, and give my wings of steel a more thorough playthrough this timè?

Sirbobislost
Sirbobislost

@ nazhoyuriar Um MW2 got it's guns from R6? So your saying that they didn't take the guns designs from real life where they actually got them from? What about BF:BC did they do it as well? That's pretty silly I mean you could go YouTube and find this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p4ebtj1jR7c&feature=youtube_gdata_player (I know I didn't need to link it but if you've played MW2 and used this gun or watched the expendables watch this it's an awesome gun)

accretia27
accretia27

hope its better than the first one

gamer4ever2
gamer4ever2

commentin on Gamespot: modern American, British and Russian planes.....British? The EF2000 Typhoon is not a British plane but a European one (except France which jumped off from the Eurofighter project in favor for their domestic Dassault Rafale). Most recent Russian jets that have been flying around are the Su-34 Fullback bomber, Su-30M multipurpose Flanker. Su-35BM will enter service soon and the T-50 aka Pak-Fa is Russia's first real stealth fighter that has entered trial now. This game should actually also include the Swedish JAS-39C Gripen, Chinese J-10A, Indian LCA at least.

gamer4ever2
gamer4ever2

played the Demo yesterday, it was nice that you could use flares to avoid being hit by AAMs instead of only outmaneouvering the AAMs like in Ace Combat, however, I could not change the button setting manually which was not good. The graphics were good. Strangely the missile display on the HUD were always displaying the Sidewinder, although a MiG-29 has the R-73 as short range AAM. The feeling of speed is once again too slow like in HAWX 1 and Over G Fighters.

perocukalo
perocukalo

THIS GAME WITH BE RELEASE ON 3RD SEPTEMBER 2010.THIS INFORMATION WAS POST ON OFFICIAL UBISOFT SITE.

buft
buft

the new toys certainly sound awesome and the story sounds at least a little more interesting than the original, which i did enjoy for a while but i became bored with it before finishing

Yossi1007
Yossi1007

Flav333 YOU ARE CORRECT BUT I HOPE ITS BETTER I WANT AN ACE COMBAT KICKER HERE!!!!!!

Flav333
Flav333

I play the 1st game and it was amazing.... I just hope this one is as good as the last one

mike_baks
mike_baks

mikees1: "This game will kill Ace Combat off for good." Hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha...Sry, but how else can one react to such a stupid remark?

davejudge
davejudge

I just wish they could make a sim that actually sounded real..... ILS was crap. it was vanilla with the graphics and the aircraft sounded like weed wackers.... how hard is the audio to get right in this day in age?????

JeWiShCoWbOy77
JeWiShCoWbOy77

anyone else think its a little strange how there is practically no game play other than the demo. I think there gonna rip us off but i really hope im wrong.

nazhoyuriar
nazhoyuriar

OH.. and btw.. this is not an EXCLUSIVE HANDS-ON... they just played the demo.. LOL... its on the xbox marketplace

nazhoyuriar
nazhoyuriar

some people dont realize that MW2 take it alot of ideas from R6V2... like ALL THE GUNS... and something like R6V3 or a new R6 would be great

GamerLegend10
GamerLegend10

@ green_dominator yeah R6 is awesome, i cant wait for them to bring out a new game.

remysola
remysola

I loved HAWX 1 (I played on PC).. anyways is the only Arcade Air Combat (with modern airplanes) game in the platform in 10 years. I'm expecting on HAWX 2 more fast paced action!

green_dominator
green_dominator

HAWX really isn't my thing, I'd much rather see another Rainbow Six game. I liked R6V but R6V2 was a big improvement.

mikees1
mikees1

This game will kill Ace Combat off for good. I really did not like Ace combats "invented country/planet" or its manga like story line. I like games set in the western world as all japanese games tend to be of the manga style (even noticed it with the voice acting on MGS4) and that really does not not satisfy me at all(you can probably tell im a big manga hater!lol).Tom Clancy just does that whole murky world twenty times better than the competion!

maybock3000
maybock3000

They took their time to make another HAWX and not a R6 game...... talk about shooting themselves in the foot....

Hammercon
Hammercon

it does what other sequels fail to do: getting better.

piyush18
piyush18

Not much impressive but still, will think to buy it some day...

Dragonsingh3000
Dragonsingh3000

this game has the same problem as the 1st, it just felt so slow flying. when your near low ground or flying by a mountain it just feels and looks slow, im waiting for the new Ace Combat i still play AC4 on the 360 cos gameplay and graphically that is still better than this. i will only be renting this game.

Cpt_Cipher
Cpt_Cipher

I liked the demo. Not perfect, but it at least have some physics, unlike previous HAWX game. Also, "Ever fly a dogfighting jet in a bombing run"? Su-30, pictured at the screen is multirole fighter, like the F\A-18E. It's capable of both.

JESSEAARON100
JESSEAARON100

I've played the demo and i must give it a 8/10 The cockpit view and the motion controlling system really blowed my mind!

jogunther
jogunther

Im waiting for Ace Combat. Zero had all this had and more. New missions and story is all I want

AceBalls
AceBalls

I didn't like the first one that much. It was sorta ok, bar the fact that you can arm your jet with over 100 missiles.. ;x It was the classic 80's "Afterburner" on steroids if anything. Ace Combat better be a bit more realistic..

WillyChong
WillyChong

If ace combat is a no go in PC then this will be in the bag! I have not much choice, since i am forbidden to own any console.

Extimor
Extimor

Played the first one, mildly impressed, guess this is going to be better. Thumbs up ubi for making a sequel!

capitalism25
capitalism25

This is one of the few modern air combat simulations in the PC.And for once other countries are in it.

CaptainAhab13
CaptainAhab13

Rainbow Six sequel, sweet --- OH WAIT! It's a sequel to HAWX. :/

issa3703
issa3703

what now i prefer ace combat than this hawx2 , why ubisoft u want to beat namaco for ace combat ,in ur dream ace combat will be the best what ever happen.

y512516
y512516

We want the new Rainbow Six dude or a new End War

tarugista
tarugista

Damn it...just give us the NEW RAINBOW SIX!!!

shiny5
shiny5

@Solidsnake13 2, I totally, 100% agree with you. Even the first HAWX last year had bad graphics and airplane handling, but the HAWX 2 to demo is WORSE (WHAT!?!). Anyways, Ace Combat 6 was a blast in my opinion, and the next one will be awesome.

maggu
maggu

cant wait for ace combat... its been so damn long... ubisoft should give up on making plane games and stick to learn how to improve ther other pathetic garbage they call games. the demo was a piece of s***, you cant even feel the planes speed even on elite the enemy still doesnt attack back, there is no hud ffs (thats extremely important, its like being stuck in the middle of a jungle without a compass), both planes feel the same which is really pathetic, the planes stall for no reason at all... i can go on forever. to think i actually thought they would learn from all their mistakes on the 1st game, but no they made the same piece of s*** they made b4

Solidsnake13_2
Solidsnake13_2

I'm sorry but all honesty, this game looks, plays and is all crap. The flying in the game is just horrible. It doesn't feel like you feel a MiG fighter (Demo). Like the graphics are horrible to look at. You would think that they got better, they really didn't. HAWX is really not all that great of game...it really isn't. I was actually shock to even know that there was even a sequal to HAWX in the first place. If you guys really pay close attention to the demo. You will see what I'm talking about. This game...I have no idea what else to say about it. The game is bad. It really isn't worth the $50 to pay...matter fact it's not even worth the pick up for it. Rent it if you really want to play it. Also the new Ace Combat Assault Horizon comes next year, I'd say wait for that one, that will be worth the wait.

maggu
maggu

agree with johnny_rotten07 this is gonna be another rent just like the 1st 1.... still no hud wtf is ubisoft thinking

OneShot45
OneShot45

HAWX 2 and the new Ace Combat are top in my list. (^_^)

dravin777
dravin777

After playing the first one on PC I know that this game is a must have for every fighter plane game freaks. I'll have to be patient for the release on the PC.