OFF mode claims to make you more maneuverable, but in reality it limits your ability to control your aircraft through all the available ranges of motion: pitch, roll, and yaw (side to side). In OFF mode, any attempt at a roll becomes a banking turn; if I’m so maneuverable in OFF, why can’t I roll my aircraft? I understand what the development team is going for here, but I think the attempt fails. Why not take a page from Ace Combat 6 and just make maneuverable, quality aircraft? In AC6, I can do whatever I want within the limits of physics, without dealing with a wacky camera system; I understand the need to innovate, but I think there’s a lot to be said for taking something that’s been done, and doing it better. AC6 has a nonsensical, overdramatic story, while HAWX has the realism of the Tom Clancy brand behind it, and as long as the gameplay is spot on, this game should be a no-brainer hit. Instead, OFF mode makes dogfights overly complicated, and frankly, after some experimentation, I just never used it.
ERS is on the complete opposite end of the scale. Half the fun for flight sim aficionados is maneuvering your plane in on your foe, dogfighting, really struggling for and earning each kill. ERS puts training wheels on your high-tech fighter, guiding you towards your target, putting you in position, and doing everything but manipulating the controls for you. For a true flight sim fan, we love nothing better than fiddling with throttles and aileron trim, but we can get behind a good arcade flight sim that is less about the details but still challenging for us as pilots; ERS just makes it too easy. Like OFF, it’s better to just not use it.
HAWX has one major thing going for it; for all its flaws, HAWX is a load of fun in multiplayer. Co-op allows for some real teamwork, and versus modes are fun breaks from your average Halo or Call of Duty match.
No doubt about it; HAWX is fun to play. But what hurts it as a game is that it’s only fun or challenging to play if you ignore “features” like OFF mode (which makes it not fun) and ERS (which makes it not challenging); as a gamer, I shouldn’t have to ignore portions of a game to make it fun. Among console flight sims, HAWX may not soar with the eagles, but it’s not a turkey either.
HAWX aims high, but is brought low by the weight of unnecessary “features and innovations.”
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