We Just Played Tom Clancy's HAWX 2 (in Multiplayer)

We get cleared for takeoff (and our clocks cleaned) in co-op and competitive multiplayer for this upcoming flight combat game.

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Tom Clancy's HAWX 2 will once again let you take to the skies as a hotshot fighter pilot pitted against the enemies of freedom, but the sequel will have lot of new features. In addition to playing as an American fighter pilot with access to well-known fighter jets like the F-16 Fighting Falcon and the F-22 Raptor throughout the course of the campaign, you'll play from the perspectives of a Russian pilot and a British pilot, flying fighter jets appropriate to those nations. And along with competitive, team-based modes, HAWX 2 will have full drop-in/drop-out cooperative multiplayer for the game's entire single-player campaign for up to four players that will scale in difficulty depending on how many wingmen you have. We tried out both the co-op campaign and a few missions of head-to-head play and have much to report.

Take a ride into the danger zone this September with HAWX 2.
Take a ride into the danger zone this September with HAWX 2.

During the co-op campaign, you'll play using the fighter (or bomber, as the case may be) assigned to you. Our sessions included the F-16, the MiG-29 Fulcrum, and the F/A-18E Superhornet, though during the course of the game, you'll also be able to play with other toys, like UAV scouting drones and even AC-130s. We played through a few of the game's early missions, which required us to taxi around the runway into position before hitting the throttle. Yes, HAWX 2 will start your missions with takeoffs and end them with landings (later missions will require you to do so under less-than-ideal conditions, including under enemy fire), and it will even include midair refueling within certain missions. Takeoffs in peacetime are easy jobs that require you to first hit the throttle and follow the landing strip controller as he waves you onto the tarmac with his handheld beacons--it's just a matter of warming up the throttle to move your ship into position, then really hitting the acceleration and pulling up once you hit the appropriate speed. Midair fuelings take place by way of a minigame that requires you to line up the nose of your fighter with a series of transparent green rings that point you in the right direction before you actually dock with the fueling ship in midair.

While the campaign's early levels require you to perform simple tasks like scout out a handful of enemy emplacements or investigate a suspicious-looking convoy, later missions will require you to intercept and engage squadrons of enemy fighters in midair or bomb a small naval squadron to prevent a war criminal's escape. Some missions will require all players to hit all checkpoints and clear all objectives individually, but thankfully, not all of them will make every single one of your buddies touch every spot on the map.

In addition to co-op, HAWX 2 will include competitive team-based play that will go beyond head-to-head dogfighting, which some players found to be a bit too long on repetitive cat-and-mouse air jousting and short on pretty much anything else. HAWX 2 will include team-based multiplayer maps that will also be inhabited by computer-controlled land gunners and hostile installations, which you can bomb to gain experience points that will unlock better planes as the match continues. This way, instead of just strafing past an enemy fighter and then having to make the long turn around, you can constantly be acquiring new targets, scoring points, and making real progress. HAWX 2 is scheduled to launch next month.

[Editor's Note: The original story mistakenly referred to the AC-130 Gunship as a chopper. GameSpot regrets the error.]

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