Dogfighting. What a beautiful game genre, but what an ugly attempt on the iPhone. With the exclusion of F.A.S.T., all of Tom Clancy’s H.A.W.X.’s predecessors have been poorly executed with little or no true inspiration. But that’s all about to fall apart with the release of Gameloft’s own version of dogfighting, complete with full voiceovers and missile command.
With so many disappointments such as Ace Combat Xi, it’s a good feeling to see one company finally step up. While there are still some minor problems with H.A.W.X., the overall game is a blast to play, and many will find the story mode quite enjoyable. Multiplayer seems to become secondary with a game of this level.
Graphics: The graphics are absolutely gorgeous, and it’s probably the best graphics you’ll ever see with an iPhone dogfighter. I must admit that they’re not as great as the PSP’s Ace Combat X, but they’re enough to have your jaw dropping at the realization that these graphics are running on a mobile device. Everything about this game was more than I expected, and the graphics were a factor that just blew me away.
Controls: Gameloft seems to step aside the problem of auto-calibration by forcing you to manually calibrate your device before the start of the game. Do you not want to feel like an idiot while playing the game in public? Just use the joystick controls; they’re almost as good as the accelerometer controls themselves. I preferred the accelerometer over the joystick, but both control methods were more than playable.
Content: With around 26 different licensed planes and 13 missions for your pleasure, content is not a problem. The game should last you a hefty 6 to 7 hours of actual gameplay, and it’s definitely an improvement from the $9.99, 10 planes and 5 missions Ace Combat Xi. This is definitely a much better contender compared to Ace Combat, and the content was just right for any hardcore and casual iPhone gamer.
Multiplayer: Creating some perfect, smooth online servers is extremely hard to do and requires test after test after test. Even with all that work, online multiplayer junkies such as myself will feel the game somewhat lacking without that online multiplayer fix. While I wouldn’t exactly trust Gameloft with delivering a smooth, online experience, there’s something that needs to be done for those looking for good multiplayer functions. For now, there is local WiFi and bluetooth multiplayer, which should be enough for those looking to compete with their friends.
Difficulty: I may be doing something wrong, or the game may actually be really difficult. Personally, it took me try after try to beat just the second mission. Difficulty is definitely present, and for those looking for a stress relieving game, I don’t think you’ll find it here. I almost found myself deleting the game out of frustration, but in the end, my logic overcame my frustrations.
Tom Clancy’s H.A.W.X. is one of the best dogfighting experiences on the iPhone, but it’s still not enough to be the best we’ve ever seen. It’s somewhat difficult and online multiplayer would be such an awesome feature. The storyline is very well done though, and the graphics were amazingly rendered. This is a solid dogfighting fix compared to the airplane wreck known as Ace Combat Xi, and H.A.W.X. should satisfy.