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Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X.2 Review (PC)

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It's not very often that I'm tasked with writing about a game, and find myself writing a review, or anything related to that game without having actually finished the game. But this is one of those unfortunate times. The reason for me not being able to complete Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X. 2? It's not because the game itself is so terrible that I have no desire to play it whatsoever, nor is it the fact that the game is riddled with bugs, or glitches, or anything of the like. Sadly what's killing Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X. 2 is the stupid as shit Digital Rights Management measures that they've implemented into the PC version of the game. While the console versions of the game are completely unaffected by this, the effect that the DRM does have on the PC is so dramatic that it cripples the game.

Ubisoft's DRM already made a fuss last year when Assassin's Creed 2 for PC featured the system, which forces users to be connected to the internet at all times in order to play the game. The reason being? So you can maintain a constant connection with the all powerful Ubisoft anti-piracy servers that will power your gaming experience. So what happens if you lose your internet connection, or God forbid, their servers go down like a kite on fire? Well that's simple enough, you get kicked out of the game. No questions asked, just a nice swift boot.

If you're not a cynical person, and can't already see the innate problems with this sort of thing already, then allow me to elucidate for you. Ubisoft has apparently decided that the server farm they are going to use to accomplish this lofty goal is going to be comprised of computers that got thrown out of your 8th grade computer lab. Or at least I assume so, because in the short time that I attempted to play H.A.W.X. 2 without interruption, I was kicked out of my game at least 6 times. Not that this is completely and totally unacceptable, but this is completely and totally unacceptable, and while I have a tendency to be dramatic in general, this is next to communistic. This level of control over what is supposed to be your property is totalitarian and completely neurotic.

From what I was able to play, I think that H.A.W.X. 2, is a lot more of the same in terms of gameplay. If you liked the original, chances are you'll like this one. The controls are simple enough that anyone with a passing interest in playing a flight simulator will be able to pick it up, but they will probably make flight sim buffs feel off, or like they are over-controlling the planes. There's a couple of new things worth mentioning though... The new overhead camera bombing missions, and recon missions are very cool, as well as the new on rails sequences, and taking off and landing have become an integral part of the game setup now. However all of this comes with a camera shift that takes you from behind the plane to inside the cockpit, and while for any other flight game that would be the view of choice, oddly enough the first game worked a little better in terms of control because of it's camera choice. It's something I can only appreciate now, as I complained about the third person camera in the first game. The maps are also worth mentioning, as they use some pretty cool satellite imagery to put it all together, and it results in a pretty believable game world to fly over.

I don't know if Tom Clancy wrote this, but if he did, he's entering his “Dean Koontz” years of writing. And that can't be a good thing in general, not necessarily being limited to his video games.

So again for the first time ever, I did not complete a game. But shame on Ubisoft for putting something so obscenely self destructive into their own title. If you want my personal recommendation... I say you steal this game. There are plenty of Torrent files out there that have circumvented the poorly thought out, and more poorly implemented DRM that is at the heart of the issue here, and what's funny is that for once the piracy is completely justified. If Ubisoft won't let you own your own game if you pay for it, then why should you pay for it?

You shouldn't.

Tom Clancy's HAWX 2 is available now for all major platforms.
It was developed by Ubisoft Romania, and published by Ubisoft.

(Special Editor's Note)
If Ubisoft plans on maintaining this DRM for the future of their PC releases, then I can only say that you should steal every PC game they publish from now on until it stops. Sadly I think the only thing that motivates some of these companies anymore is money. If you take that away, you take away the very thing that has motivated them to make such a boneheaded decision in the first place, it forces them into a corner to rethink their strategy without being ignorant to common sense.

Steve Sawyer
Editor in Chief

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