H.A.W.X 2 gameplay preview

Hans-on: Xbox World checks out Ubi's new arcade flyer...

Tom Clancy is not interested in average. His tales regale the heroic exploits of the best of the very best - the winners, the victors. HAWX was no exception; you were piloting exceptional craft alongside exceptional teammates. Erm, except it wasn't very good.

This latest foray involves the squadron thundering off in their F-22 Raptors and F-35 Lightning IIs to the Middle East, where they'll fly alongside Brit and Russian pilots (both factions are playable, too) to quell this new clichéd threat to the free world. It won't all be desert combat though, with South Africa's beguiling Cape Town confirmed as another key combat locale.


Guaranteed guffo plot aside, Ubi are keen to nail the main complaints aimed at their first aerial foray. Authenticity is key this time round, and precision strikes are in the offing via missiles that you'll actually be able to steer as they streak across the great big blue. The narrative direction has apparently been shaped by the devs' fascination with the nature of real-life conflict; hence "key moments that the public will recognise from real world military conflicts, such as precision bombing using smart ammunition."

Following the patented Clancy future tech vibe, 'Enhanced Reality Systems' and UAVs will play an important role on the battlefield. You'll use them to listen in on enemy conversations and gather vital intel, pummelling ground instillations after sneaking up with the armed variants. Piloting the formidable AC-130U Spooky gunship is also on the agenda, while the scale of the environments has also been ramped way up - you'll soar at Mach 2 across maps up to a hefty 1700km.

All told, this is shaping up to be the game HAWX should have been, and though there's fierce competition in the form of the still-great Ace Combat 6 and sumptuous IL-2 Sturmovik, those Ubi dollars should ensure this one is in mean dog fighting mood when it roars through the skies this autumn.