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Monday, 19 Feb 2018

HAWX 2 For Nintendo Wii Review

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Hawx 2 for Nintendo Wii Don't let the name fool you -- HAWX 2 for Wii is not the same game as its Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 brethren. It's a different story, different missions, different characters, different... well, pretty much everything. This isn't necessarily a bad thing all the time. HAWX 2 for PS3 and 360 was a pretty so-so title with promise but poor execution, and the idea of a more accessible interpretation of its dog-fighting combat has merit. Unfortunately, HAWX 2 for Wii does not. It feels like a bizarre attempt to cash in on the HAWX brand (a brand whose success is questionable to begin with) with a game that bears little resemblance to the main series save that there are planes in it.

HAWX 2 Wii sets itself apart from the PS3 and 360 versions immediately with an on-rails shooting sequence through a bizarre landscape that seems more at home in a sugary platformer than a series about the world's most elite pilots. This is added to by cartoon pilot portraits that appear next to some pretty questionable dialogue which establishes that HAWX 2 for Wii is telling a strange personal story that has more to do with personal grudges and family antagonism than any believable modern conflict.

The terrible story sets the tone for the proceedings pretty solidly in the negative. It isn't just that it wallows in anime tropes with over-dramatized dialogue delivered with little conviction, it's that it doesn't seem like the developers actually cared about any of it. There's a point fairly early in the game where you'll fly a mission in the desert over tent cities with civilians, and your partner in the mercenary counterpart to HAWX calls them "refuge camps," rather than refugee camps. This is clearly a typo, and it's a typo no one cared to fix: the voice actors say "refuge camps" over and over again. Things like this don't just feel lazy, they feel insulting. Were we not supposed to notice "refuge camps?" Why didn't any of the actors correct the script when they were reading it? How does this happen? You can't even type "refuge camps" into Google without it correcting you.

This general lack of effort carries over into the gameplay itself. While the default mode of control has the player navigating with the nunchuk while aiming with the Wiimote as a pointer like some kind of weird first-person shooter, the game also has an on-rails mode where the game controls your jet for you. The issue here is that there's very little difference between the two, and few situations where having control of your plane confers any meaningful benefit over letting the game gently guide you where it wants for the five minutes most levels take to complete. There's some variation in the basic objectives from level to level, but they're all designed to be played on-rails or off, which effectively makes every level feel the same.

There are unlockable modes as well, but any fleeting hope these might inspire for something interesting to do should be quickly murdered by actually trying them. The top down shooter, for example, controls terribly, which would be a problem, save that planes really just come from the left or right of the screen and make their way to the center at the top or bottom. There's also multiplayer, but I question who you would play with -- it certainly wouldn't be with friends, assuming you'd want to keep them as such.

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