Activision attempted to introduce another player in the genre of Flight Simulations with Tom Clancy’s HAWX. This however, is made primarily for the consoles and released to PCs later on.
The main premise of the game is about a squadron in the US Navy (which I believe is the case, since they’re flying F-18E Super Hornets) called H.A.W.X. who are about to be disbanded due to their end of service with the US Armed Forces. They are then approached by a PMC called Artemis to become combat pilots for the start-up company. From here we get to fly for the PMC on missions around the world using various aircraft in varying roles. At the game’s midpoint, the squadron’s decision would place them at odds with their employer, and reinstating themselves back to the US Armed Forces.
The game mechanics is not far from other “arcade style” (having simplified controls) Flight Simulators like Ace Combat from Namco-Bandai, each plane in the inventory have their own pros and cons, however, unlike the planes in Ace Combat that include several fictional fighters by Namco’s design, there’s only one fictional fighter featured in HAWX that comes from one of the Tom Clancy novels. Also, like other combat flight sim games, varying objectives from air combat, ground attack and escort missions are given. But one thing that lacks in HAWX are the take-off/landing/in flight refueling side missions.
BUT, HAWX has its own unique features which sets it apart from the other games. One, it has an in-flight mode called ERS (Enhanced Reality System), a computer simulation which guides us to either an enemy aircraft (if where’ having a tough time chasing one down) or a ground target (effectively giving us the best path to a target avoiding any and all ground fire). It’s quite a nice feature especially when dealing with an area loaded with SAM sites. Another function for ERS is to help us avoid incoming missiles if we’re skimping on the use of flares. HOWEVER, since it’s a software and uses a connection with the allied satellite network, it is prone to jamming and can be a double edged sword if we’re rely on it too much.
Second feature unique in HAWX is the OFF mode. This mode shuts down the onboard computer’s limiters effectively pushes the limits of the aircraft and making flying a fun experience. The view shifts to a far off camera perspective letting us see the battlefield far from the rear of the camera. It makes flying the aircraft very smooth and fast, easily dodging missiles (it lets us see where the missiles come from too), and helps in locking on targets quickly. However, this mode turns of the engine limiters which control the aircraft from stalling, so we need to constantly monitor our airspeed, else we would have to recover from stalls.
The graphics of the game is quite outstanding, with the aircraft having detailed panels, lines and decals, the smoke effects are nice to see, and the ground is detailed, thanks to a partnership with Geo Eye (the same folks who provide satellite scans to just about everyone who needs a satellite scan of the Earth :P). But up close, there are some maps having blurred detail, which makes it a bit bad. Some cities covered are: Juarez Mexico, Rio de Janeiro and Washington DC.
The game’s campaign mode is quite long though we’re only limited to replaying the campaign levels in Single Player mode (no create your own game) and Free Flight ala Flight Simulator X (which I’ve used for the photos here). The game has a leveling system in order to release the aircraft and their weapon packages through various challenges, like the one found in Rainbow Six Vegas. There’s a multiplayer game featured for playing with others (coop mode) and against others.
Electronic Arts recently announced their “De-authorization” move on some of their games released after May 2008.
http://activate.ea.com/deauthorize/ – The site deals with the instructions on the “how to de-authorize a game and free up an activation entry”. Surprisingly, it didn’t work on my PC (since I’ve long uninstalled the games before seeing this. And one of the games that’s covered here was sold, well, at least Mass Effect had 5 installations). It seems to me that one has to have the game installed to have it de-authorized (like that of the GTAIV for the PC).
Well one thing’s for sure, it’s not an April Fools Joke, well: http://search.live.com/results.aspx?q=EA+de+authorization&mkt=en-us&FORM=IE8SRC&src=IE-SearchBox