Oh boy. What a game.
First, let me say, THIS IS NOT A REALISTIC SIMULATION OF AIR TO AIR COMBAT. Also, online matchmaking is pretty much dead (as far as I know), if thats what you look for in a game. What you do get is one of the best arcade flight combat games ever made on the PC (Ace Combat: Assualt Horizon isnt any good). This game does the original Ace Combat games from 2, up until Zero a favor, by bringing the goodness of arcade combat flight games to the PC. And boy, does it do it a whole lotta favors.
Without going much into the story, incase you want to play this, I'll give you a simple summery. You are a pilot, you shoot things, you change sides due to money, more things happen, you shoot more things, and then you finish the game. All during the while, you have an incredable amount of joy, heartbreak, and what not. But maybe the question lies in your heart, "What if I want to play this with my mates?" Do not worry, as the game does allow online co-op, so you and your friends can use F-22 Raptors and breeze through the game like there were no problems.
On the topic of aircraft, this game has a variety of them. You get a F-4, MiG-21, all the starting aircraft that you expect. But as you go through the game, new planes become available to you, many you probably never heard of. Do you know what a
A-12 Avenger II is? What about a FB-22 Raptor, or the Lockheed YF-12? Do you really know all these without waltzing over to Wikipedia? Yes, this game specializes in prototype aircraft. The game also has all the normal aircraft you need, such as the F/A-18 Hornet, F-14 Tomcat, Su-27 Flanker, A-10 Thunderbolt II, etc.
The game takes you from AFHGENGESTAN (deserts ahoy), to the scenic Appalachian mountains. Each place you go has different things to accomplish, such as destroying a complex with an ECM field that'll fry your plane in an instant, or strafing ground targets endlessly. And you can do this, all with the Assistance Mode off. This mode is what sets apart HAWX from other games. With this, you can do many, many cool manuevers that'll give you the upper hand on enemies. You can perform many VERY, VERY tight turns and ever fly backwards in some planes. That in a flight game instantly makes me enjoy all the tricky things you can do. The only complaint is that the story is kinda short, but this is fixed with the inclusion of Free Flight.
All in all, the game is very fun, and very worth it the cost, IF you buy it on a sale. It is ok if you pay full price, you'll get your fix, but buy this on sale please, you be happy you did.
This game is a solid 10/10