Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X. 2

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Tom Clancy sale assaults Xbox Live

Plus, Pac-Man going cheap.

Next week sees a host of Tom Clancy-related titles attempt to sneak up on Xbox Live users and pry open their wallets, armed only with a set of price discounts.

Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X. 2

Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X. 2

A wing and a prayer.

Air combat games are contradictory beasts. They offer the most freedom of movement of any game genre, and yet are constrained by the emptiness of their aerial arenas into gameplay that can quickly become monotonous if you're not passionately excited by military technology. Fly to waypoint, shoot down enemies, rinse, repeat.

H.A.W.X. 2 seems uncomfortably aware of its limitations and so goes out of its way to break up the aerial dogfighting. The trouble is that in doing so it risks alienating the niche audience that is perfectly happy with lots of aerial dogfighting, without offering enough to attract a more mainstream audience.

Following on from the first game, which had a rather bumpy landing back in March 2009, the game takes place in the near future setting shared with several other Tom Clancy titles. There are references to these overlapping events, though nothing that will confuse anyone unfamiliar with the tangled web of Clancy gaming, but the fidgety story still boils down to an unsatisfying hodgepodge of stolen nukes something something insurgency something Russia something Middle East.

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Multiplayer mode announced for HAWX 2

Multiplayer mode announced for HAWX 2

Never bring a cat to a dogfight.

Ubisoft has announced that air-combat sim HAWX 2 will have an adversarial, local and online multiplayer mode for up to eight players.

The mode, which we were lucky enough to play at the recent hands-on event where we also got to play the single-player and co-op campaign, will feature six different mission types and a choice of any of the game's 32 pilotable aircraft.

The level we experienced was a mountainous valley studded with AA emplacements, radar dishes and tanks. It was a straight-up team deathmatch where points were scored for eliminating the enemy team's land or air forces.

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Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X. 2

Bird of a feather?

Ubisoft tells us to meet at Hammersmith tube station, but once we do we're taken around the corner to a car park and a waiting Land Rover. There a slightly embarrassed man dressed as a 'Future Soldier' ™ stands shiftily, plastic rifle in hand.

H.A.W.X. 2 dated

Takes our breath away.

Flight combat sequel Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X. 2 will be out on 3rd September, Ubisoft has confirmed.